General Conference 2019
The Conference is calling for a 30-day period of prayerful discernment following the conclusion of General Conference 2019. No matter what actions are or are not taken by GC19, a 30-day period of calm, prayer discernment and Holy Conversations should be observed before any actions are taken or public responses are made by the local churches and members of the CTC. Click here to hear from Bishop Lowry.
What Happened at General Conference?
The short answer is...a whole lot and nothing at the same time. It was a very challenging several days and I shed more than a few tears.
Here are some of the facts:
1. The One Church Plan that advocated for greater inclusiveness of LGBTQ persons, and included protections for those who disagreed, failed.
2. The Traditional Plan--that maintains our current stance that "the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching," enforces the ban on same-sex marriages and ordination of LGBTQ persons, and enhances the penalties for those clergy and conferences who do not act in accordance--passed with about 53% of the vote.
3. The Traditional Plan's enhanced enforcement provisions had already been found unconstitutional by our Judicial Council, and it has now been sent to the Council for review at it's next meeting near the end of April. Pending their decision, no changes go into effect.
4. There were some provisions passed that will allow congregations to exit the denomination should they desire to do so.
5. The Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA), the group behind the Traditional Plan, is currently meeting to decide their next move which could include a convening conference to start their own breakaway denomination.
In summary, no one "won" and many, many people are hurting. I am sad that some within our denomination feel this difference is worth splitting our Church and that The UMC, my lifetime home, only makes the news when we're at our worst. This damages our witness.
How does this affect us, Davis Memorial UMC? For the moment, no decision is required of us. We will continue to love God, love people, and share God's love with others. As your pastor, I ask that you continue to pray for God to work in and through us for the betterment of our community and for healing both within and outside of our Church. I ask that you continue your part in "building a community where ALL are welcome, Jesus is Lord, and disciples are formed."
To our LGBTQ+ members, friends and allies, I am sorry. I love you and believe with all my heart that Jesus loves you no matter what. You will continue to be welcome and valued here. Please let me know how I can support you during this painful time.
Peace in Christ,
Rev. Kaiya Kershaw