Pastor Ryan’s response to GC2019

Some of you may or may not know that a representative body from the global United Methodist Church have been meeting since Saturday, concluding their work yesterday at 6:30pm.  Their task was to vote on and perfect a plan that would address the United Methodist stance on ordination and marriage for persons who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Some wanted more clearly defined repercussions for going against the official stance of the Methodist Church that is stated in our Book of Discipline; “since the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be excepted as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in the United Methodist Church.” “Ceremonies that celebrate sexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.” They supported a plan called “The Traditionalist Plan.” The plan passed with a majority of 53%. The official vote was 438 – 384. Several did not vote and chose to obtain. The total number of voting persons was 833. The plan, the way it is written, creates a system in which to enforce the statements in our Book of Discipline. This voting group of 438 people voted on a plan that consists of sections and portions that has been declared unconstitutional.  We do not know how this plan will take into effect because of this.

Some wanted this entire paragraph removed because they believe, as I do, it deflated the worth and rights of people who are children of God.

I cannot accept that what was voted on during these few days is a representation of The United Methodist church of the future.

No matter how much is put into effect and declared constitutional this plan does not change the fact that that the United Methodist Church is open to any person and sexual orientation. All are still welcome! What it does is create is a way to bar LGBTQ+ persons from being married or ordained in the UMC.

Sometime during the conference a google form was created so that the voices could be heard despite what was happening. Over 15,000 young persons under the age of 35 have stated things must change.  I was one of those young persons who signed.  I do not agree with this plan and want to see a Methodist church that stands beside, behind and with the LGBTQ+ community and then seek to bring forth leaders to lead the charge.

To any person who was left hurt, angry, or disappointed I am here to talk and most importantly, listen.  To my friends in the LGBTQ+ community, know that you loved, valued and a blessing to our community. You will always be welcome as a part of our community. Your faith, gifts and passions are needed and valued! We will continue to proudly wear our Wesley t-shirts and show our stance; Wesley Loves All! We need you as leaders! From all the responses I have seen, I have hope for the future. I hope you too will remain hopeful.

No matter where you land on this issue, I want a direction that hears all points of view. I want a place where we can all sit at the table together and pursue God’s commandment of transforming the world with the love of God despite theological differences. I know this plan was voted in not from a place of hatred but from a desire to be true to theological convictions. While I may not agree with those convictions I do believe there should be a welcoming place to have them.

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