Pray for the United Methodist Church

— from Pastor Steve
I just read a fascinating article by Diana Butler Bass, who specializes in American religion and culture. She reminds us that the Methodist Church split in the years prior to the civil war over slavery, abolition, and biblical interpretation. A national denomination split into regional bodies, north and south.
 
Diana Butler Bass goes on to say that, “As the churches divided over slavery then, so they are dividing over sexuality and gender now.” She says that many of the biblical arguments that were used to support slavery back then are used now to reject the humanity, gifts, and dignity of women and LGBTQ persons.
 
February 23 – 26 will be a special General Conference of the United Methodist Church in St. Louis, MO to decide the way forward for the Church on issues of sexuality. Many of us are hoping that the United Methodist Church will stay together by adopting the One Church Plan. This will avoid a split by removing the anti-homosexual language from our Book of Discipline and allow Annual Conferences and Bishops to decide who they will ordain and not ordain and local clergy to decide who they will marry and not marry. 
 
Another plan is called the Traditionalist Plan. If it were to pass, the current anti-gay language would stay in the Book of Discipline and become more punitive. This would force a split. While trying to avoid this, Butler Bass argues that there could be worse things. She says that if the United Methodist Church splits “for the sake of loving our neighbors and practicing grace, hospitality, and mercy in ways that speak with power to those who have been betrayed, shamed, and marginalized, then they will be on a path into a life-giving future.”
 
In reality not much will change for us as a local church. We will go on doing what we do everyday, accepting all God’s children into the life and ministry of the church. But I would ask you to pray for the United Methodist Church during this time. If you would like to read more about this, go to our conference website at cnumc.org and you will find plenty of information..
 
Blessings,
 
Steve   

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