As many of you know, next month The United Methodist Church will have a special called session of the General Conference to take up the issue of human sexuality. In the last three years a great deal of study has been conducted and at least three recommendations have been made to the General Conference for consideration.
A number of you have asked questions while others of you have made suggestions you thought might be helpful for our Church. The Senior Staff has been listening very carefully and we have put together some plans.
The General Conference will meet from February 23-26, so during the month of February we will be asking every member of this Church to set alarms on their watches or phones to stop and pray for the General Conference from 2:23pm – 2:26pm. To help with this process, the clergy will be sending out daily suggestions for prayer to be used during this time.
Some of you have expressed confusion and asked for some factual information regarding the General Conference. In the next couple of weeks, we will provide a FAQ sheet that should answer most of the questions you may have. As always, the clergy are available for phone calls and meetings to try to help offer any additional information you might like. I personally am available to meet with any Sunday School class or group within the Church.
A couple of you have asked about having someone from the Wesley Covenant Association (WCA) or The Uniting Methodists organization come to meet with Sunday School classes or groups in the Church. I want to strongly discourage this as both of these groups, which are on opposite sides of the issue, have specific agendas they are trying to accomplish. They are full of wonderful people, but at this point we do not know what the General Conference is going to decide and to invite representatives of either of these groups to speak at this time will likely only enflame the issue.
I want to encourage all of us to be patient and wait for the General Conference to make their decision. No matter what decision is reached, there will be time afterwards for the Church to gather and respond accordingly to the decisions reached. In the meantime, we need to stay focused on our commitment to Jesus Christ and the mission of the Church… to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
I personally will be attending the General Conference. While I will not have voting privileges, I thought it was important to be present, so I can come back to the congregation with a firsthand account of what takes place. I plan to share with you not only the decisions reached but the implications it will have for our Church on the Sunday afternoon following General Conference, March 3, beginning at 3pm.
Until that time, I would remind you there is a world that is waiting to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. There is a world that is waiting for you to love them, care for them, show them how Christians deal with difficult issues, and how we love one another. Or, as Paul put it, “(to) shine like stars in the world.” (Philippians 2:15).
See you Sunday, if not before.