Middlesex United Methodist Church
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Making Disciples - Transforming the World

Message from Pastor Rachel

MUMC family,

 

I am still on maternity leave for one more week, but feel the need to share with you today my reflections on the past week. As many of you know, a special session of General Conference took place in St. Louis February 23-26. General Conference is the highest legislative body of The United Methodist Church and the only group that can legislate church law. This session met to vote on plans proposed by a 32 member commission on a Way Forward pertaining to ordination of LGBTQ persons and same sex marriage in the midst of dividing beliefs in our global church.

 

Out of 850 delegates from around the world, The Traditional Plan passed by only 54 votes. 438 were in favor of the plan, and 384 were against. Many who voted for this plan were delegates from Africa and Asia, while 66% of the US delegates voted against this plan. The Traditional plan keeps the current language around homosexuality but increases the accountability with a stronger process for enforcing penalties for violations of performing same sex weddings and ordaining LGBTQ persons. Some parts of the traditional plan were already ruled unconstitutional by our Judicial Council (the Supreme Court of our denomination) before General Conference began and the whole plan now goes back to Judicial Council for final review to determine which parts are constitutional and which parts are not. They will meet in April and the parts that are constitutional will take effect January 1, 2020.

 

This is a tumultuous time in the life of The United Methodist Church. There were no winners of this conference, only a revelation of how deeply wounded and broken we are as a denomination. No matter what you believe, we all feel pain and heartache that is deep and real and we all want to be faithful to the church and to what we believe God wants for God’s people.

 

I join in this pain and hurt. I am deeply hurt and concerned for my LGBTQ friends who are feeling betrayed by a church that has baptized and confirmed them in the faith. I want all the people of MUMC who are part of the LGBTQ community to know: We are all children of God. You are loved by God and are of sacred worth. I believe the church still needs you and nothing decided this week changes that.

 

Here are some things that have not changed:

-    I am still your pastor and will still do all in my power to lead MUMC faithfully into God’s preferred future.

-    MUMC is still the same. We will remain focused on our vision To Be Alive in Christ in the Community so the Community can be Alive in Christ. We are stronger together, and together we will continue to make disciples.

-    We will also continue to be a church that welcomes all people and offers compassion and care for all.

 

I love you all and care deeply for each one of you. We, like our denomination, are not of one mind, but God is able to still use each of us as we focus on the things that unite us. Please join me in prayer for the future of our denomination. It is a trying time for all of us, but I have great hopes for the future of MUMC. If any of you have any questions or concerns, I am happy to meet with you when I return. Richard and I look forward to being back in worship with all of you next week and introducing all of you to Ronen. We look forward to our son growing in his faith among this loving church family for as long as we are here.

 

With love, hope, and peace,

 

Pastor Rachel