Greetings all in the name of Christ!
As I mentioned last week in worship, I’ll be leaving on Friday to attend General Conference. Nathan Gossett will fill the pulpit as he completes our “Major Questions of the Bible” sermon series. You’ll also be able to welcome our District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Jesse Brannen, as he presides over a baptism. It’s shaping up to be a great Sunday.
Since I’ll be attending General Conference, I want to share with you on a very broad basis what is going on in the Church. Every four years, the UMC has a General Conference somewhere in the world. Representatives from literally all over the world come together and meet for 10 days to provide direction for which way the general Church will go in the coming years. This is also the place where our official doctrine is hammered out. Sometimes, you can truly feel the Holy Spirit at work, and sometimes it is tedious and laborious. Every once and a while, a General Conference is called during the intervening years to help deal with an especially important issue. That is what is happening in St Louis next week. This is not the regularly scheduled General Conference; rather this is a called General Conference to essentially deal with our divergent thought on LGBTQ persons in the church. To quote our own Bishop, “Because our church has both progressive and evangelical members and clergy, these beliefs [about gay clergy and gay weddings] have been both questioned and challenged over the last decade, ultimately creating much strife within our denomination.” We’ll meet next week to hopefully navigate a way forward.
Bishop Jones wrote an opinion piece for the Houston Chronicle that you can read here. To learn more about the General Conference, click here. To learn more about the potential church plans that will be proposed and debated, click here. If you are interested in watching a live stream of the proceedings, click here.
I hope you’re present this week in the MANY OPINIONS place.