Churchwide Vote ResultsDear Church,
Well, you’ve done it. In the face of a General Conference vote that denied the full measure of God’s love for all people, you have boldly responded by declaring God’s love for all! By passing the marriage equality resolution, you have made a big statement, unequivocally affirming and celebrating the lives and loves of our LGBTQ+ siblings. You have taken an unjust law off the table and declared your desire to stop practicing discrimination against these beloved ones in our community. This is “Constructive Disruption” at its best; this is the Spirit of God at work among us.
To be sure, we still have much to do. We continue to see marginalization all around us; even within our church, we unintentionally put up road blocks that push away those we long to include. We are learning and growing, and we need to listen even more carefully to the voices among us who know firsthand the pain of discrimination, and who can help us take additional steps to welcome all and join in God’s healing. With this in mind, I look forward to upcoming listening sessions for hearing and healing among the LGBTQ+ members and friends in our congregation.
But for today, we rejoice! We have chosen to respond to General Conference 2019 in ways that accomplish three purposes:
- To stop participating in discrimination against LGBTQ+ people
- To minister to those inside and outside the church who have been harmed
- To create change in the UMC
The 98% vote in favor of the Marriage Equality Resolution is a step toward all three of these purposes. Churches around the country are hearing the news and finding their courage strengthened for their own next steps. Christians around the world are saying that our decision gives them hope for the church and hope for their own lives. God is at work through you, First Church.
Thank you to those who have been patient along this journey, and who continue to be gracious as we take steps slowly and intentionally. Many in the church have been willing teachers and encouragers, helping to bring more and more of us along to a greater commitment to inclusion. Thank you to former Pastors who have led courageously and laid the groundwork to get us here, especially Reverends John Wright and Barbara Ruth, who led FUMC to take the monumental step of becoming a Reconciling Church in 2013.
You may be wondering, “What now?” The answer is…well, ministry! We expect to resume our wedding ministry in its new, expanded approach right away, and we will do that in the same way we’ve always done wedding ministry—with a focus on the couples preparing to wed, and on the God who is at work in and through their lives and relationships! Meanwhile, we have so enjoyed the opportunity to bless couples in Sunday worship following their weddings that we plan to continue that practice with an updated liturgy; that way, the whole church can celebrate with those in our congregation who choose to wed.
Our “Moving Forward” Task Force will continue to meet as there are developments in the areas of apportionments and listening sessions with LGBTQ+ members of our church family. Expect to hear from that group again over the next few months. Meanwhile, we continue to work with others throughout the country toward a new expression of Methodism. As we move closer to General Conference 2020, we will pass along important updates.
For now, the work of our mission continues as we build a community where all people are invited to know God’s love and sent to join God in transforming the world. VBS starts next week, and we are preparing a full lineup of fall classes, opportunities to engage in ministry with immigrants, new Tables for 8, a new fall worship series, new staff members…whew! God is really showing off as ministry flourishes all around us. I have never been prouder to be your pastor, and I am so excited for the coming season of our ministry together. Thank you for your commitment to FUMC and the work of God among us.
See you Sunday!
With great love,
Members Adopt Marriage Equality Resolution
On Sunday, July 14, during a churchwide vote in the Sanctuary, a new marriage resolution was passed by 98% of the 299 members present. The resolution affirms God’s blessing of both same-sex and opposite-sex marriages by allowing the use of church facilities for all weddings. With this vote, the congregation supports our clergy to officiate any marriage.