ALL ARE WELCOME HERE
Dearest First United Methodist Church,
I write to you, my family in faith, in response to the outcomes of The United Methodist Church General Conference 2019, which I had the privilege to attend in person. During our service on March 3rd , I shared my personal experience at General Conference and reviewed the outcomes and discussed how we, at FUMC, will move forward in love and full inclusion of ALL people!
For now, I will share with you a summary of the outcomes. The General Conference of The United Methodist Church voted to approve the “Traditional Plan.” This plan retains the prohibitive and restrictive language against the LGBTQIA community (as it stands currently in The United Methodist Book of Discipline), strengthens punitive measures against clergy and conferences that violate these prohibitions, and forbids the ordination of LGBTQIA Clergy.
In the United States, 65% of United Methodists declared their support for the “One Church Plan” (which would have allowed each conference, church, and pastor the freedom to decide their stance) and stood against the “Traditional Plan” (no flexibility). However, the delegates from the global constituency, due to size, had larger voting power and were proponents of the “Traditional Plan.” The “Traditional Plan” passed by a thin margin of 53%.
The Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church advised The General Conference that many parts of the “Traditional Plan” were unconstitutional. (The Constitution is
Part I of The United Methodist Book of Discipline.) In result, The General Conference requested a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council. Which means, the “Traditional Plan” will go before the Council for review and we expect their ruling by the end of April? If ruled unconstitutional, which is likely, The United Methodist Church General Conference 2020 will be asked to take up this issue once again.
As General Conference 2019 came to a close, the Leadership Team and Delegation of the Western Jurisdiction, of which we are a part, addressed The General Conference and explained that our conferences have been practicing the “One Church Plan” for many years and will continue to reach out with full inclusion to all persons, as a demonstration of God’s boundless love.
(To watch the Western Jurisdictional formal response, please follow the link here).
In spite of the uncertainty, we need to move forward with our mission, vision, and discipleship strategy. Nothing has changed about that! We will continue forward in hope together, as we extend the love and grace of Jesus to all people.
Please continue to be in prayer!
In Christ’s limitless love,
Rev. Ani Missirian-Wilson