Greetings UUMC Family & Friends,
It has now been two days since the Special General Conference concluded their work in St. Louis. After some time in prayer and reflection to process my feelings on the outcome, I bring you more information on what transpired.
The Traditional Plan was adopted by a slight majority (53.3% for and 46.7% against). A Judicial Council Review (prior to the vote) deemed 10 of the 18 petitions to be unconstitutional, so exactly what will be implemented is still unclear. The Judicial Council will be meeting to review the plan with greater detail in April, and they have the option to either throw the whole plan out or throw out only the petitions found unconstitutional and implement the rest. Implementation would not be in effect until 2020.
As the Western Jurisdictional Update (included in the initial e-mail) states, we wholeheartedly believe that the church is called to be united in Christ’s love, and we will continue to love and serve God together as the United Methodist Church, despite the Special General Conference outcome. Many groups (the Wesleyan Covenant Association, the Reconciling Ministries Team, the Western Jurisdiction, etc.) will be meeting to explore how we move forward as the Church in the coming months and years. There is still much that is unknown.
My heart breaks at this decision, as I am deeply rooted in Methodist Tradition that says we can “think and let think” (See Wesley’s sermon “On Christian Perfection” (https://www.umcmission.org/Find-Resources/John-Wesley-Sermons/Sermon-40-Christian-Perfection).
I know many of you also grieve this decision, while some are satisfied with the outcome. This is what it is like to be Church together, to be Church Family together. We do not all agree. While it is not an easy journey, it is the important journey. I challenge each one of us to continue to pray for the Church and one another. I challenge each one of us to continue to talk about this with one another, respectfully, so we can embrace our diversity of thought while serving God together.
I also know there are some who simply cannot be a part of a church that excludes anyone. I know many of you have loved ones who identify in the LGBTQ+ community. So do I. My commitment to you is to love all and to see the Christ in ALL; to treasure every single individual I encounter, in thought and with my senses. My prayer is that we all, as a congregation, will commit to doing this.
The journey is not easy, and I thank each and every one of you for your part in helping University UMC Irvine be the hands and feet in the world. We will schedule a town hall meeting in a few weeks to discuss what has been decided as various groups meet and make decisions.
May the peace of Christ be with you!