St. Louis Reflections

The Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, speaks at the special General Conference in St. Louis. Photo by Paul Jeffrey, UMNS.

“I believe the coalition that leaders of the WCA put together has won a battle at General Conference and may well have lost the church. They have hurt, once more, our LGBTQ members, their families and friends. They have harmed United Methodism’s witness in America. They will have negatively impacted our mission work in the world. They have significantly impacted our ministry with young adults and the generations that follow. And they stand a good chance of seeing thousands of United Methodist Churches leaving the denomination.”

–The Rev. Adam Hamilton, Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, Kansas

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“If we’ve shown one thing, it’s that what bishops do — or don’t do — is almost irrelevant. The bishops labored for two years and came up with these three plans and backed the One Church Plan (which would allow local congregations to decide about LGBTQ ordination and marriage) and pushed that. But the General Conference seems united: We don’t trust bishops. I tried to advocate for the One Church Plan and found out that many progressives felt it didn’t go far enough in providing affirmation and protection for LGBTQ people. On the other hand, traditionalists said, ‘This is a power play by the bishops to throw this on us even though we’ve demonstrated through many votes we don’t want it.’”

–Retired Bishop William H. Willimon, Religion News Service

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“We are committed to sacred resistance, committed to full inclusion, committed to radical hospitality. God is moving. God is going to do something good.”

– The Rev. Ginger Gaines-Cirelli, Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, United Methodist News Service

“At this point, there’s a lot of feeling from centrists and from moderates, much less progressives, that the kind of far-right conservatives, the Russians, the Africans — they don’t want to be with us. They want to be rid of us. That grieves me, but I think it’s just a reality.”

–The Rev. James Howell, Myers Park United Methodist Church, Charlotte, North Carolina, Washington Post

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“In our hands was the opportunity and authority to amplify and deepen our communion with each other and our mission in the world by helping each other realize our hopes while uniting with each other. Instead, we used our opportunity and authority to further constrain, abuse, and cut each other off. We used our speeches as flaming arrows against one another, our voting ballots as bullets. We failed to reach a compromise as Christ’s followers and United Methodists.”

–Great Plains Conference Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.

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“When I became a member of the United Methodist Church and when I became a pastor in this church, I did it with my eyes wide open. I was asked to take vows that said I had studied and understood the teachings of the church, and that I would live my life and that I would exercise my office in accordance with those teachings and discipline. If I can’t do that with integrity, I either need to work within the system to change it or I need to step aside and pursue my ministry or pursue my faith elsewhere.”

–The Rev. Keith Boyette, President, Wesleyan Covenant Association, New York Magazine

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“This past General Conference, however, convinced me that continuing to quarrel over this issue hurts people on all sides, does not glorify God, does not demonstrate unconditional love for all people and does not help make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Therefore, with a heavy heart and deep regret, I personally believe it may be time for our leaders to find a way for United Methodist Christians to separate, so that we stop harming each other and each side can get on with the business of sharing God’s Good News with a hurting world in new and separate organizational structures.”

–Dr. Kent Millard, President, United Theological Seminary

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Bishop Minerva Carcaño speaks during the opening session of the Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church. Photo by Paul Jeffrey for United Methodist News Service.

“I would affirm again that the Church does not belong to us. It is Christ’s Church, and because it is Christ’s Church, no one is excluded. I believe that The United Methodist Church has lived in sin too long as it has excluded LGBTQIA persons. There are those who would argue that the Church does not exclude LGBTQIA persons; only those who are practicing homosexuals are excluded from the fullness of life and service in the Church, they would explain. Asking someone to not be who God has made them to be if they want to be a part of the Church is not inclusion – it is homophobia. It is excluding those whom Christ fully includes. It is the sin of setting Christ aside and controlling his Church in ways that violate the love of Christ for ALL of us.”

–California-Nevada Conference Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño

Comments

  1. The liberals are theologically blind to biblical and global Christian history. They have abandoned the faith once delivered to all for a insipid myopic modern “spirituality” that has little connection to the Bible and the universal church. Thank the good Lord that the traditional plan passed. God bless the WCA and all traditional UM Christians serving the Lord above faithfully. Amen

  2. Larry Wiggins says

    If the Traditional Plan is constitutional, at least the parts pertaining to the ban on the ordination of avowed or practicing homosexuals, when will those in disobedience be brought to trial and dismissed from the Church? For one I am withholding my contributions to the the United Methodist Church. Why should those of us who are Traditionalist continue to support with our funds a hierarchy that fails to honor our (the majority) wishes and established Church law? I for one am giving to the WCA.

    • Mrs STANLEY HUBBARD says

      Mr. Wiggins, I totally agree and am doing likewise. I cannot worship God when I’m angry, and when my pastor says we have to ordain and marry practicing homosexuals, I become angry at the misuse of Scripture. Therefore, I’m finding another place to worship on Sunday morning, tho’ I still love and attend my SS Class.

      • Gene Harris says

        The Bible speaks of women, and of men, and of children. If you look for the clearest path to Salvation, you can find it in the Bible which speaks of a – way that seemeth right, and many there goeth, but the end, is not good. I am not and will not be drawn to a religion of the flesh, nor a church that is so concerned with the distortion of the reproductive system, and one drifting from the image of god ……

    • An Arkansas Traditionalist says

      Further, why would we support the thirteen theological seminaries with our apportionment money if they reject the traditional plan, while allowing Hiawassee to close it’s doors due to financial problems?

      • Question: Is the theological training that our pastors receive at UMC seminaries the root of the problem? The US representation at GC2019 versus the recent poll of theological leanings of people in UMC pews makes me wonder.

  3. Using Bishop Carcano’s definition, I am a homophobe, even though I, myself, am on the LGBTQ+ spectrum (NOT ex-gay). Bishop Carcano needs to wake up and realize that there are many gay Christians living a life consistent with traditional sexual ethics.

    • Thank you for speaking out. The culture leaders don’t want to hear your voice, but it needs to be heard.

  4. “It is excluding those whom Christ fully includes.” Strong words, and bold, speaking on behalf of Christ. And how do we know Christ “fully includes” these persons (without getting into what exactly is meant by “includes” in this context)? From Scripture? From direct personal revelation of the Holy Spirit? Or is this Hamiltonian “we just know” what Scripture says on these issues is not God’s will? Telling traditionalists they are “setting Christ aside” (!) radically escalates the stakes in this disagreement. Oh wait the One Church Plan was about unity with diversity… except… now I’m confused.

  5. Brian Scott says

    The calling of Christians is to present the Gospel and the hearer either chooses to follow it or not.

    It is is not our calling to redact the Gospel until it is palitable to the hearers.

    The latter does not produce disciples. Rather it produces members to whom we are beholden to continue to explain away or change all Scripture they find offensive thus becoming a hollow shell of a church rather than a beacon on a hill in a dark and dying world

  6. I find no where in the Traditional stance where LGBTQIA persons are excluded from attending a United Methodist Church

    • ron sandritter says

      I may be wrong but I don’t even see where the LGBTQIA community is even excluded from taking communion as is the case in the Roman Catholic Church and many Protestant Churches

  7. Houston Parks says

    Rank-and-file United Methodists are tired of these issues, issues our leaders have failed to resolve amicably. Churches aren’t particularly good at the unity Paul advocated. It is becoming clearer that the day may well have arrived for a split in Methodism – call it between traditionalists and progressives, if you wish to. Perhaps smart heads can yet figure out how to keep both connected under one worldwide Wesleyan umbrella organization.

  8. William Harrison says

    At least the General Conference passed the only plan that was biblical. And for all the bishops and pastors that don’t follow that plan should be fired. It’s sad but the church today is more focused on number of embers and money more than it is on Jesus.

  9. Lance Thomas says

    God answered prayers in St Louis. His will be done. Not my will, not Adam’s will, but God’s will be done with His church. God’s word is clear. No vote will change it. God’s people will follow God’s Word not Adam’s word.

  10. Forbes Matonga says

    It’s interesting that Africa with 5.6 million United Methodists is ignored in all these discussions. That US CENTRISM has led the UMC to this Theological mess.

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