The Morning After General Conference 2019
I write this with a heavy heart. I’ve only been able to manage a few hours of sleep each night while I’ve been in St. Louis for the Called General Conference.
We gathered to figure out how to be the Church of Jesus Christ in the world - the whole world - which has people of all ages, nations and races; including family members, neighbors, friends and coworkers who identify as members of the LGBTQI community.
We had gathered to have conversation about three potential ways of being the church, remembering that we are not of the same mind when it comes to the issue of human sexuality and, in particular, on the issues of gay marriage and the ordination of LGBTQI persons.
In the end, the delegates to General Conference - which is the only church body that speaks for the whole United Methodist Church - approved a plan based on a traditional view of marriage and human sexuality.
But, in the process of making that decision, there were lots of hurtful and ugly words spoken and often shouted at each other. There were accusations hurled at each other, questioning each other’s integrity and honesty simply because many people of good will don’t share the same beliefs about what the Bible says on the matter of human sexuality. Hearts were broken. Tears were shed. Relationships were shattered. Dreams were dashed.
Today is not a day to celebrate, as if this event was a game or a competition that had to be won. There is nothing to celebrate because no one won. In my heart, we all lost.
This is a day for prayer. Scripture reminds us: “If one member suffers, we all suffer with her or him...” (1 Corinthians 12:26a).
So, as your pastor, I ask you to please refrain from celebrating or attacking anyone with whom you disagree on this issue, especially in social media. Instead, pray without ceasing for God to forgive us all and to show us a “more excellent way.”
- Pastor Herzen