An update from the Pastors and Leadership Board of Christ UMC:
February 26, 2019 the United Methodist General Conference announced a challenging decision: that the global UMC had chosen what is called the “Traditional Plan” over the “One Church Plan.” The “tradition” referred to here affirms the continuation of language that has been debated and divisive in the United Methodist Book of Discipline around LGBTQ+ persons for over forty years. The hopes for many, including those who identify as Reconciling Congregations (including Christ UMC), was that the “One Church” plan would pass, to make the denomination more inclusive and affirming of all persons and make us a more flexibly connected denomination despite our diversity of opinions. Read Pastor Elizabeth’s initial statement to Christ UMC post-conference HERE
On March 3, we hosted an open conversation in our Sanctuary in between worship services with nearly 150 people in attendance. The Leadership Board members facilitated, hosted and compiled notes from small group conversations to help understand the hopes, questions and intentions of this congregation in response to the legislation. We looked through the church members’ reflections carefully and are naming our next steps of action here:
1. We, as the clergy and Leadership Board, in conjunction with what we heard at the “What’s next?” conversation as well as with our vision as a Reconciling Church, are signing this “Minnesota Methodists” statement as a church body. We are also donating $1,000 as a church to further this group’s movement. You are also welcome to sign it as an individual. https://www.minnesotamethodists.org/
2. We are putting an ad in the Post Bulletin and regularly posting on Facebook statements about our “reconciling” status and how Christ UMC will continue to work for reconciliation and full inclusion.
3. We have received a $1,000 grant through the Minnesota Annual Conference that will help us take the lead in Southeastern Minnesota through media outlets to reclaim our identity as welcoming United Methodists.
4. We are including links for continued conversation and exploration around what happened at General conference and what this means for us. If your question cannot be answered here, know that the Leadership Board and your clergy and staff are here for you! https://www.adamhamilton.com/blog/ • http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/what-happened-and-what-didnt-at-general-conference-2019 • http://www.mnrcumc.org/ • https://www.minnesotamethodists.org/ • http://mnumc-email.brtapp.com/files/love+boldly-messaging+examples.pdf
You are thoughtful, passionate and wise as a congregation. Thank you for your willingness to share and be powerful representations of who we truly seek to be as United Methodist Christians: followers of Jesus who love all and seek justice and mercy in all places for all people. We are, indeed, “Grace in the city.”