Greeting all in the name of Christ!
I’m sitting in a hotel room in St. Louis, MO after having observed 4 days of General Conference. For those of you who aren’t aware, the General Conference is the highest governing body in the UMC and typically meets every four years. On rare occasion, something so urgent comes up that it cannot wait the regularly scheduled 4 year time period to be dealt with. When that happens, a Special Called General Conference happens. That is what I’ve just observed.
The urgent issue we sought to deal with was human sexuality. More specifically, homosexuality in the church as it pertains to weddings and clergy. Most of you know by now that I am an advocate for full inclusion of all people in the church, and was hopeful that we’d emerge from this Conference with a different viewpoint towards our LGBTQ sisters and brothers. After a laborious and exhausting few days during which political intrigue and misdirection were on full display, it seems that nothing has changed. In fact, it is actually possible that our stance on homosexuality has tightened. A new church structure called, “The Traditional Plan” was passed by a margin of 54 votes. While this plan was passed, it will likely not pass muster as far as our church’s constitution is concerned.
Much happened this week, and I will be using my sermon time this week in worship to fill you in. I will not give you a play-by-play because you would fall asleep! However, I will give you the highlights of the each day’s events and my take on what it means not only for the UMC but for Grace.
Looking forward, Lent begins on March 6th with Ash Wednesday. We’ll have Ash Wednesday opportunities from 8:00 AM – 9:15 AM with a come and go style imposition of ashes, and that evening at 6:30 PM with an Ash Wednesday Worship Service. Our Lenten sermon series will echo our Advent sermon series during which we will examine a series of words. Especially, the 7 Last Words of Christ.
I’ll see you this week in the LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR place.
Yours in Christ,