The Called Special General Conference concluded yesterday. As I explained, there were three plans that the delegates would discuss and vote on as a way forward for our United Methodist Church.
The plan the Council of Bishops recommended, the One Church Plan, was defeated. The Traditional Plan was passed by a 53% to 47% margin.
What does that mean for the United Methodist Church?
It means that, in the words of our Bishop, “By now you have probably all heard that the General Conference Special Called Session is now over, and the Traditional Plan prevailed (53% – 438 votes to 47% – 384 votes). Although it does have repressive ramifications to our LGBTQI community, the Judicial Council has ruled much of it unconstitutional. At the same time, this decision is also symbolic in its implications because it signals a turn of the United Methodist Church to a more judgmental and political entity that is against inclusion and for exclusion.
Put simply, the delegates voted against inclusion and for exclusion of certain people based solely on their sexual orientation.
In a way, we are violating the decision by putting up a sign that says, “All Are Welcome.”
What does this mean for us?
Our Bishop has also made it clear that, “We must lead our people within the geographical context we find ourselves in the West. We have been open and inclusive for decades, and I don’t see why we should change that about us. We live and let live and it is totally consistent with the theology of John Wesley.
In the coming months and even years there will be more information available, and decisions made about how we define ourselves as Methodists. One thing for certain: We are not united. Having said that I am reminded by one of our own that we just need to keep on doing what we’ve been doing, and that is to be loving, compassionate, life-giving followers of Jesus Christ as we work daily to make our community and world a better place, a place where people will know God’s love and grace.
In Christ’s Love, Pastor Ron