This week has been rough. I couldn’t round up enough courage to watch the General Conference live stream last week, but I was able to keep up through the #GC2019 hashtag on Twitter. I was moved by the people there all sharing a positive outlook on the impending doom. There were live updates of the proceedings, videos of protests and chants, and even satire accounts making light of the situation.
Most of us know the results from General Conference. We have seen the headlines from various media outlets painting this homophobic and gloomy picture of the UMC, but that’s not the reality. In the midst of this gloom, there is beauty and new life.
I know that over 60% of the US delegates to the conference voted in favor in recognizing and affirming the fullness of God’s love for all people. They voted in favor of allowing people like myself to live out the call of our life to be in ministry as queer people. They were willing to create space for us at the table and affirm the God-ordained equality of all God’s children.
Deaconess Debbie Byrd and I wearing our Reconciling Ministries Network stoles on the Sunday after General Conference 2019.
Though the global UMC may try to legislate us out, the local UMC is embracing and affirming us fully.
Nothing has changed for me on the local level. The pastor that affirmed and continues to encourage me in seeking ordination is still there for me. The church I work at is still loving and accepting. The church I grew up in is still supporting me in my faith journey.
The UMC I grew up in and know very well is still the same.
This is where I find hope. I know that in my individual interactions I do not have to worry about proving myself. I know that I am viewed as equal.
I know that this is leading to death. The global UMC as we know it is dying. Maybe slowly, but it surely is. However in this death, there is hope for resurrection. We cannot have the joy of Easter Sunday with out the gloom on Good Friday. We cannot have the joy of full LGBTQ+ inclusion in the UMC until we experience this death of an exclusive denomination.
In death there is hope for resurrection. In this death of the UMC, I have hope for a new and inclusive UMC-type denomination.
If you would like to support the cause of LGBTQ+ inclusion, please click here to go to the Reconciling Ministries Network page. Sign up as a reconciling member and look into the process of your small group, Sunday School class, or church becoming a reconciling group. I have found a lot of hope in blogs from Rev. Adam Hamilton. Click here to go to a blog from him about the future of the UMC.