General Conference Wrap-up

Dear Friends (updated from the one that was sent at the close of General Conference):

Throughout the week at General Conference, there have been moments of great joy and incredible sadness and despair. The joy came in meeting with and being with such a diversity of people who have a great love of God and a growing understanding that God truly loves all people and wants us to include all people in our churches. I also was hopeful at the number of people who have grown in their welcome of the LGBTQIA community. I experienced great despair at the intractable nature of some people who insist on prejudicial behavior that is damaging for all and a deep rejection of our LGBTQIA sisters and brothers.

I attempted to keep Asbury updated on our Facebook page throughout the week. In the closing minutes of the General Conference the Traditional Plan did pass by a narrow margin. However much of it had already been ruled as unconstitutional by the Judicial Council. Upon it’s passing, a motion was made to refer the entire plan to the Judicial Council to rule on its constitutionality and viability—with so many of the provisions already ruled as unconstitutional, it may not be viable. The Judicial Council meets April 23-26, 2019 in Evanston, Il. They report their decisions quickly so we will alert the church when their decisions are announced.

Meanwhile, the Western Jurisdiction (the Annual Conferences that cover the states of California, Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana) is united and witnessed on the floor of General Conference that our churches in the Western Jurisdiction will welcome all–that progressive, centrists and conservatives will work side by side. A link to this statement is here: http://westernjurisdictionumc.org/ahomeforall/   Our Western Bishops also have released a video to us following the close of conference and I encourage you to view it: https://vimeo.com/320623549

Our Bishop has scheduled post-General Conference Episcopal to discuss the actions of the General Conference, what they mean with an opportunity for questions and prayer.  Laity and Clergy are invited to attend any session.  Pastor Chelsea and I are attending the April 16 one in San Leandro and you are welcome to carpool with us. Just let us know!

The visits will take place in 11 locations around the conference in the next two months, according to the following schedule:

  • March 3:  2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Los Altos UMC
  • March 5:  6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. First UMC, Sacramento
  • March 25:  6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Central UMC, Stockton
  • March 31:  2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. South Reno UMC
  • April 7:  2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Epworth UMC, Berkeley
  • April 9:  6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. First UMC, Yuba City
  • April 16:  6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. First UMC, San Leandro
  • April 24:  6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Tulare UMC
  • April 28:  2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Korean UMC of Santa Clara Valley
  • April 29:  6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Eureka UMC
  • April 30:  6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. First UMC, Santa Rosa

In the coming weeks, the leadership of our Jurisdiction including our Bishops, will meet and design a process for dreaming and discerning what is it that God is calling us to live out. Some of the things we know we need to include is how to provide safe harbor for pastors and laity for churches from parts of our denomination who are not safe and welcoming. One of the overseas Central Conferences in Europe offered to make us an oversea district. Although we lost the vote, it is clear that growth of the church is toward full inclusion. I will keep you apprised as this future begins to unfold. We also need to hold space for people to grieve—to share their hurt, anger, betrayal, hopelessness. Pastor Chelsea and I are available to talk with anyone who needs to share.

Many of you asked about the referral to the Ethics Committee. An allegation has been made that some supporters of the Traditional Plan paid delegates from the Philippines and the continent of Africa to cast their votes for the Traditional Plan. This is a very serious allegation and will be explored fully by the ethics committee.

I want assure you that Asbury continues to be the Methodist/Wesleyan presence in Livermore and we are still called to partner with Open Heart Kitchen, provide a shower ministry, train Stephen Ministers, participate in small groups, visit those are ill, engage in worship and fellowship, and witness to God’s love in the world.

As we learn more, we will inform the congregation. Pastor Chelsea and I will be available on Sunday at 11:30 in the Fellowship Hall for a Q & A. Pastor Chelsea and I are available should you like to explore this more deeply. I ask that you hold our Judicial Council in prayer as it deliberates and the leaders of the Western Jurisdiction they discern God’s call on our lives. There are so many responses around the globe about what has happened and what the future holds. The name of our movement is #onechurch4all so if you search for that on social media or on google you will find all kinds of statements and stories.

So although I was discouraged at the actions of the General Conference, I have great hope for our future in the Western Jurisdiction–#onechurch4all

Blessings,

Pastor Kathy

Comments

  1. http://Cory%20Coll says

    Kathy,

    In your article you say “although we lost the vote, it is clear that growth of the church is toward full inclusion.” Membership in the US church has been declining for more than 40 years. Growth in membership is occurring in Africa and the Philippines, in particular. As I understand the special General Conference results, the growing areas would favor the traditional plan, which is not characterized by full inclusion.

    Perhaps, I have misunderstood what you meant.

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