The Special General Conference of The United Methodist Church met February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis. The One Church Plan, which failed to make it out of the legislative session on the first day was able to be brought back to the floor of the General Conference on the last day as a minority report, but was again voted down. The One Church Plan had been supported by the majority of Bishops and would have given discretion to individual Annual Conferences, Bishops, pastors and churches when it comes to ordaining LGBTQ persons as clergy or officiating or hosting same-gender marriages.
Eventually, the Traditional Plan did pass. The Traditional Plan affirms the Church’s current ban on ordaining LGBTQ clergy and officiating at or hosting same-gender marriages. The Plan that passed strengthens enforcement of these punitive and exclusionary practices.
The Traditional Plan that was adopted was then sent to the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church, for a declaratory decision. The Judicial Council, which is like the Supreme Court of our denomination, met in late April and declared parts of the Traditional Plan unconstitutional and many parts constitutional according to our denomination’s constitution. The parts that were determined to be constitutional will now go into church law. You may get more specifics from our Church C.H.A.T. notes from our May 11th church gathering.
In the midst of hurt, harm and grief, God is with us and from any death comes a resurrection. What I can tell you as your pastor is that we will continue to be an open, inclusive and reconciling church in our community and continue to offer God’s love and H.O.P.E. that we have named as Hospitality, Offering Christ, Purposeful living and Engaging our community. Our witness as the Sun Prairie United Methodist Church is more important than ever to show and share God’s love to hurting people.
May we live in these days holding to the knowledge that God’s love cannot be legislated or voted upon. Together, may we continue to be a faithful witness to what being the Body of Christ in a waiting and needy world means and looks like.
For more information about the Special General Conference and The United Methodist Church, go to www.umc.org