A Response to General Conference
Click here for the official response from the pastoral team at Christ United Methodist Church. Below is a letter from Pastor Brent to friends of The Local Church.
Dear beloved of God,
As you may know by now, The Traditional Plan has passed, not only reaffirming the United Methodist stance that "homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching," but adding teeth to the penalties for clergy who perform same-sex weddings and LGBTQ+ clergy. We will find out in April what parts of this plan are deemed constitutional and which are thrown out as unconstitutional.
There's a lot I don't know about what happens next, but here's what I do know:
There are leaders gathering around the country in the coming days, weeks, and months to determine what's next for us as a people called Methodist, in particular those who seek unity and inclusion. I talked to many of them yesterday — colleagues, peers, friends... giving them all virtual neck hugs, reminding them they're not alone. Hearing the same from them. We're not alone.
I also know that our LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers are loved by God, a blessing and not a burden to the communities they're a part of, evidence of God's wonderful creativity, and will continue to find belonging at The Local Church. Everyone means everyone. Period. I am all in on that — now more than ever.
Today, for me, has an “Upper Room” feel to it (see John 20:19). You know. The disciples are disoriented and heartbroken. Jesus is dead, and all seems lost. And yet, in the wake of grief and confusion, the disciples still gathered. They did what was familiar. They spent time together... In fear, yes. But also because in one another, they remembered the One who brought them together. That's what we'll continue to do. Tonight at the Speakeasy. Tomorrow and Sunday at Local Tables. And on and on and on.
I lament the immense harm done yesterday in St. Louis, but I find hope on this side of Resurrection. We know how the story ends. We know that joy comes in the morning. We know that all is not lost. We know that Jesus is alive and God's grace is at work in ways that we cannot yet fully comprehend. We know that nothing can separate us from God’s love.
Many of you know that I keep my Bible in one hand and the U2 discography in the other. Today I’m remembering Bono's words from an interview a few years ago: "Joy is an act of defiance."
In these days ahead, I am committed to seeking justice with joy. And at The Local Church, we are committed to creating a bold, inclusive space with and for one another, our community, and the world.
Thanks be to God for you, friends. If you have any particular questions or concerns about what this means or what happens next, I welcome them. I don't have all the answers, but I'll do my best to offer what I can. You can email me here.
God is with you and for you. I am, too. Always.