With Love from Pat
May 20, 2016
Well…the 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church didn’t change anything that would remove from The Book of Discipline the discriminatory and hateful language that declares that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, that self-avowed practicing homosexuals cannot be ordained, that United Methodist pastors cannot officiate at same sex marriages or even bless holy unions, and that such services cannot be held in our church buildings.
Instead by a vote of 428-405 our General Conference approved a recommendation of our Council of Bishops to defer all of this quadrenium’s votes on human sexuality and to refer ongoing consideration to a special commission to be named by the Council of Bishops.
The core of the Bishops’ recommendation is this:
We recommend that the General Conference defer all votes on human sexuality and refer this entire subject to a special Commission, named by the Council of Bishops, to develop a complete examination and possible revision of every paragraph in our Book of Discipline regarding human sexuality. We continue to hear from many people on the debate over sexuality that our current Discipline contains language which is contradictory, unnecessarily hurtful, and inadequate for the variety of local, regional and global contexts. We will name such a Commission to include persons from every region of our UMC, and will include representation from differing perspectives on the debate. We commit to maintain an on-going dialogue with this Commission as they do their work, including clear objectives and outcomes. Should they complete their work in time for a called General Conference, then we will call a two-to-three-day gathering before the 2020 General Conference.
You can read the entire the entire recommendation by clicking HERE
Right now I really don’t know what to say. The conversation will continue, and hopefully one day the voices of judgment, exclusion, fear, and hate will be drowned out by the language of God’s love.
What I do know is this: the witness of our beloved First United Methodist Church of Boulder – and our life together as a faith-community – is now more important than ever before.
First United Methodist Church of Boulder became a Reconciling Congregation of the United Methodist Church on March 4, 1997. On that day our church family decided to live out our faith fully and to intentionally reach out to our sisters and brothers who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and allies (LGBTQA), and to fully welcome LGBTQA persons into the life of our church family. Nineteen years ago we said God loves us all. Today we continue in that important witness to the reality of creation: we love God best when we love one another.
I look forward to our ministry together in the years ahead as we act with courage and compassion to embrace all persons as beloved children of God and of sacred worth. I look forward to our mission together, and to our ongoing and bold pursuit of love, justice and peacemaking. Together we can bring God’s presence to the world in lots of ways. Thanks for your commitment to doing that.
Rev. Pat Bruns is the Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church of Boulder. Email him at patrickrbruns at gmail dot com.