The Special Session of General Conference in St. Louis has come and gone. The “Traditional Plan” was approved, which means that The United Methodist Church retains the stance that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching and continues the prohibition against “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” for ordination, as well as the prohibition against United Methodist clergy performing same gender weddings.
This decision will not take effect until January 1, 2020. Before that date, the Judicial Council will review all actions to determine whether they are consistent with the United Methodist Constitution and can overturn actions deemed unconstitutional. Additionally, this was a special session. The regularly scheduled General Conference will occur in late spring in 2020, and there will no doubt be more conversation at that time.
Regardless of where one lands on the issues, this decision is felt very personally by many people: those who identify as gay, those who have a gay child, those who have close friends that are gay, and those that believe in and work for full inclusion of LGBTQ persons. Whether one is happy or disappointed in the outcome, it is important to be compassionate toward one another. This is especially true for those of us who “seek to be a joyful community that strives to live and love like Jesus.”
We will have a “Town Hall” meeting at Stonebridge UMC on March 19 at 6:30 p.m. to learn more about the General Conference action. North Texas delegates Rev. Owen Ross and Kelly Carpenter will be present to provide first-hand information about the conference and
how the decisions will affect the denomination and the local church.
I am very grateful for your commitment to Christ and your spirit of love and care. While we cannot control the decisions of others, we can take full responsibility for our own attitudes and actions today. May we be guided by Philippians 2:1-4:
“Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort in love, any sharing in the Spirit, any sympathy, complete my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, being united, and agreeing with each other. Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.” (Common English Bible)