As many of you have been keeping up with the Special Session of the General Conference this past weekend, questions arise as to how the decisions made affect our church moving forward. I want to assure you that the ministries of La Mesa First United Methodist Church will continue with what we have always been doing which is to spread God’s love to all people, affirm the lives of everyone, and continue to be a conduit for hope and healing in the world. The ministries at the local church level do not change.
As for the results from the General Conference, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First of all, although the Traditional Plan was adopted, which enforces the language of “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching,” it did so with a very narrow margin, 53% for vs. 46% against. Majority of the votes that supported the Traditional Plan came from foreign delegates (41%), primarily in Africa where homosexuality is illegal. What that means is that a clear majority of the United Methodist churches and delegates from the United States affirm inclusivity over condemnation. Secondly, in the coming months, the Judicial Council will be reviewing constitutionality of various aspects of the Traditional Plan, which has already proven invalid. How much of that plan will be left after close review is still uncertain.
Nevertheless, the events of this General Conference have brought much hurt and grief to not only our LGBTQ community, but to the whole church as well as we all grieve together. It is in times such as this that we need to bond closer together and continue the work of overcoming prejudice and discrimination. Many have expressed disappointment in the United Methodist Church and feelings of betrayal from the churches they have grown up in. I want to remind you that the General Conference is just a legislative body of delegates. It is not the church. The local church is the community of faith that gathers together for worship, fellowship, caregiving, and mission. Although the General Conference may adopt rules and procedures, the local church decides how to carry out the ministries. We, as the La Mesa First United Methodist Church, will continue to be a church of open hearts, open minds, and open doors. All are welcome to be a part of this church. We believe in the love and grace of Jesus Christ for all persons regardless of age, race, gender, or sexual orientation.
I invite you to contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding the events from the General Conference. I am here to listen to your thoughts and feelings on these matters. May we continue to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ spreading the Good News of his love to all.
Pastor Elbert Kim