Dear Centenary friends,
The General Conference of the United Methodist Church met in St. Louis February 23 – February 26. What came out of the conference was stunning. It was an earthquake for everyone involved. Whatever your theological position, there was only grief and shock leaving the conference. The Traditionalist plan prevailed… barely… with 65% of American delegates voting against what prevailed. The church is in disarray at this point. Much of what passed has been declared unconstitutional, according to our church constitution and organization. Right now, Methodists do not have a method to follow. Even the Bishops are deeply divided and confused.
What passed the General Conference is incompatible with Centenary’s mission, our welcome to all, and the Gospel. Our mission at Centenary is shared by tens of thousands of other Methodist congregations across the nation. What is undeniable is the extreme pain that has been and continues to be inflicted on the LGBTQI persons and all of us who believe that “All are welcome at the table”, and “All means all”. Those are non-negotiable Jesus-stances.
Centenary will have decisions to make in the future. In the midst of all of these unresolved questions, your Administrative Council which is made up of lay leadership and staff will begin a process of evaluating, praying, contemplating and keeping you informed.
When tragedies occur, families come together. We need you to continue to stand with Centenary. Our best and most vital work lies ahead. Frankly, our greatest witness is in front of us. Support your church home as we offer a witness of full inclusivity to our village, our city, and our world. The best way for Centenary to come out of our denominational struggle is for all of us to support our congregation with prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.
When tragic events occur, families come together. So, I hope you will be in worship this Sunday as I share a sermon about being on the mountain top and then coming back down into the valley. We will share Holy Communion. I am so very blessed to be the pastor of Centenary. I am grateful for you.
All shall be well.