From the Pastor's Desk
Greetings in the name of Jesus! You may have recently read or heard news reports indicating that the United Methodist Church has split or is in the process of splitting into two or more denominations. These headlines are reporting the release of a proposal called the “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation,” which is the result of a mediated agreement involving 16 people representing various groups in our denomination.
I wanted to take an opportunity to further explain what is happening. The only body that can speak on behalf of the United Methodist Church is the General Conference, which will be meeting in May. The “Protocol” is basically one proposal among several they will have consider. In other words, the separation is not a done deal. It is just a possibility.
You might be wondering why there is talk of a split in our denomination. We have wrestled with matters related to human sexuality for the several decades. Our denomination’s official position is that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Clergy are forbidden to perform same gender ceremonies. LBGTQ persons are withheld the rites of ordination and clergy membership. There are many, who disagree with our church’s position and have sought to change it. Others want to maintain the current stance. These differences of opinion have led to a church divided.
You may recall that a specially called meeting of the General Conference was held last year. It was hoped that a solution to the division could be found. They strengthened the church’s traditional stance on human sexuality. Instead of solving the conflict, this decision worsened the divide. It helped many realize that a split between progressive United Methodists and traditional ones is inevitable. That is why there are plans for separating into two or more denominations being proposed for action at this year’s General Conference.
There has been no official action taken regarding the future of our denomination. That will happen in May. In other words, there are presently no decisions for our church to make. What should we be doing?
First, we can pray for those, who will be representing us at General Conference including our own Pastor Alyce Weaver Dunn. Second, we can deepen our relationship with God in Jesus Christ, through prayer, worship and bible study. Third, we can reach out in love to one another, our
community and the world around us in the name of Jesus. While we wait, we can continue being the church and doing what we do best at Bakerstown!