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An Apology & Love Letter to LGBTQ+ siblings
Dear LGBTQ+ Siblings,

You are created and loved by God. You are blessed, and you are a blessing. We believe in this truth because of the love and grace of God that Jesus Christ has offered all God’s children. For every time that someone in the church has hurt you because of who you are or who you love, we are deeply sorry; we hurt with you, and we are committed to pursuing God’s love and justice with you.

We are lay and clergy members of the North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC). This year we tried and failed to move our annual conference to apologize publicly for the harm that the 2019 General Conference of the UMC caused our church, our world, and particularly you, LGBTQ+ children of God. We are grieved that our conference failed to do the right thing and apologize for the harm we have inflicted. We also wish to do more than apologize. We hope to deeply and loudly affirm your sacred worth, and we commit to seeking out your voices and leadership as we aim for a more grace-filled and grace-led denomination.

You are created and loved by God. You are blessed, and you are a blessing. No one has to give you permission to be God’s child, to love, or to answer your call to ministry. These are gifts of God’s grace. Blessed are those who recognize the image of God in you. Blessed is the church that affirms and learns from your love. Blessed is the church that fully welcomes you into the ministry of Jesus Christ.

You are created and loved by God. You are blessed, and you are a blessing. As God’s family, our joys and our pains impact us all. We hurt when you hurt. We will celebrate when your worth and love are celebrated. We grieve our denomination’s failure to uphold our own Methodist standards of doing no harm and honoring the sacred, God-given worth of every individual, without qualification. It is not enough to blame the stubbornness of our denomination and slowness of our movement for change on the complexity of being a global body. The church has always been a global body, and throughout its history the Holy Spirit has fallen in new ways on new communities, growing the family of God’s grace and pressing all toward a more faithful walk with Christ. We should have done more to follow the movement of God’s Spirit, and we are sorry for our failure. We are sorry for the harm of General Conference 2019, but we are convinced it is not the last word for the people called Methodist. We believe the God of resurrection hope is still speaking.

You are created and loved by God. You are blessed, and you are a blessing. We recommit ourselves to do ministry and be the church driven by the core truth of Jesus’ love for you and for all. We commit to spread this good news and seek loving justice for all of God’s children until not only the church, but the whole world, recognize your full sacred worth and your love as gifts of God’s grace.

We have heard and will proclaim this good news: God created all. God loves all. The church is incomplete until it welcomes all.

                    In the Spirit of God’s all-inclusive grace,

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