2019 General Conference
From your pastor…
The 2019 General Conference, called to address the prohibitions against the ordination of self-avowed practicing homosexuals and gay marriage, met in St. Louis this past week and concluded their work Tuesday evening. The over 800 delegates voted 53% in favor of maintaining the current language regarding human sexuality in the Book of Discipline with the approval of an amended version of the Traditional Plan. I listened to a couple of the final hours of the proceedings while working in my office. Despite having a strong start on Saturday and Sunday, by Tuesday the deliberations had become contentious and disruptive. It was not one of our better days as a denomination. A good friend of mine who was in St. Louis, witnessing what unfolded, text me, “I think it is apparent that this process doesn’t work and does not bring life.”
I’ve lived too long and walked too far with Jesus to give in to anger, fear or resignation. I’ve experienced too many church splits and survived too many church fights to want anything but peace in the family of God. I’ll keep on inviting anyone who will come to the Table of the Lord and leave judgment in the hands of God. We are all sinners saved by grace. I continue to pray, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on The United Methodist Church.”
General Conference changes nothing at Georgetown First. We will continue to open our arms wide to all who come. We will continue to invite the LGBTQ community to participate with us in the journey with Jesus. We will continue to share in ministry with all who want to join us in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world—starting with Georgetown, Kentucky.
Our Bishop issued a good statement Tuesday after conference concluded. You can read it at www.kyumc.org. There are other good reports posted there with summaries of each day’s proceedings.
I am still inviting persons to join me in a “holy conversation” group about issues related to human sexuality and the church. In 2017, I participated in a yearlong group (like the one I’m proposing) with Bishop Fairley and twelve other clergy from the Kentucky Annual Conference. It was excellent. If you would like to be included, which will meet monthly starting after Easter, please contact me. We’ll meet every 4-6 weeks for at least six months. Five persons have already said YES to my invitation. I am limiting the group size to ten persons.
Finally, in times like these I often pray Thomas Merton’s prayer…
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the decision to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will you lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone (“Thoughts in Solitude,” © Abbey of Gethsemani).
God is with us. God is for us.