WE LAMENT the harm that the 2019 General Conference and the adoption of the Traditional Plan caused to members of the LGBTQ community, both within and beyond our churches. LGBTQ individuals and families have led, served, and given faithfully in so many of our congregations and communities. In denying marriage and ordination for LGBTQ persons, we are denying the work of God in and through these individuals and relationships.
WE LAMENT the pain to people across the church. In following the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the simple rule of John Wesley, we proclaim that it is time to stop doing harm. While we are grateful for those who tirelessly worked to preserve unity, and are saddened by the rejection of those efforts by the General Conference, we recognize that it is time to stop trying to remain united merely for unity’s sake.
WE LAMENT a United Methodist system that has caused such harm. We mourn an institution, a family we love, that is broken and dying. We feel the heaviness of grief and loss.
WE CONFESS that as pastors we have not helped our congregations to read and study the Bible in a Wesleyan Way, by using scripture, tradition, reason, and experience to draw conclusions about faithful Christian living. We have not helped them realize a diversity of faithful interpretations of the text.
WE CONFESS that we have not spent enough time building relationships with and advocating for all marginalized people. We acknowledge our role in the years of pain, struggle, negligence, and spiritual violence that has led us to this point. For too long, people have been excluded because of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, ability, citizenship, and others not named here, and we have been silent.
WE CONFESS being too complicit in our need for security and our fear of losing safety. We ask forgiveness for too often loving polity more than people.
Yet, WE RECOGNIZE the presence of the Holy Spirit. Like Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10, we recognize the Holy Spirit has already been at work in LGBTQ families, individuals and colleagues. Many serve Jesus faithfully, leading and living out spiritual gifts in ways that build up the Body of Christ. We believe the Spirit has also been at work to transform the structures and systems of our denomination, to create a new wineskin for new wine, for a new day.
Therefore, WE COMMIT ourselves to affirming and participating in what God is already doing. We choose not to be stumbling blocks, choosing instead to live in the joy of life and ministry that fully includes all people, especially our LGBTQ siblings.
WE COMMIT ourselves to discovering and creating a new expression of Methodism that is fully inclusive of our LGBTQ siblings in marriage, ministry and the full life of the church. We believe there may be many ways for this to happen that can be explored by many groups at various levels of our connection. We remain open to possibilities, committing ourselves not to a specific path or plan, but to a direction.
WE COMMIT ourselves to preserving the parts of our Wesleyan Methodist tradition that give life: our evangelical passion for reaching people with the healing love of Jesus Christ, the primacy of God’s grace, and our devotion to the Bible by reading/studying in a thoughtful and Wesleyan way. We commit to preserving our balance of personal piety and social justice, our inclusive diversity, and a passion for transforming the world through lives of intentional discipleship. Most of all, we commit to preserving hearts of love.
WE WILL MOVE FORWARD, not from a place of anger or resentment, but from hearts of grace and a passion for inviting others into the abundant life of Jesus Christ. We will live intentionally, with hearts of love and courage, into an expression of Methodism that is fully inclusive of all marginalized people: persons of color, ages, ability, gender identity, socio-economic status, citizenship and our LGBTQ siblings in Christ.
Therefore, WE ARE CALLING all who sign onto this letter to be a part of a clergy gathering called "A Cry for Hope: A Clergy Gathering to Lament and Lead" at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church (4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road, Orlando, FL. 32819), on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. It will be important for us to come together for prayer and worship, as well as planning how we will approach the 2019 Annual Conference and 2020 General Conference.
You can register for the May 7 Clergy Gathering at the following link:
(Note: Registration will be open starting Monday, April 1. Please register no later than Friday, May 3)
1. Brett Opalinski2. Magrey deVega3. Susan Gray4. Scott Smith5. Jennifer Stiles-Williams6. Matthew M. Williams7. Melissa Cooper8. Andy Oliver9. Jad Denmark10. Mary Downey11. Corey Jones12. Shelly Denmark13. Beth Farabee14. Esther Rodriguez15. Becky Rokitowski16. Emily Sterling17. Josh Bell18. Tracy Hunter19. Sarah B. Miller20. Emily Hotho21. Jim Harnish22. Tom Nelson 23. Kandace Brooks24. Steve Harper 25. Peter Cottrell 26. David Dodge27. Rob Parsons28. Vance Rains29. Jack Ladd30. William Barnes 31. Melissa Pisco32. Marta Burke33. Wayne Curry34. Michelle Shrader35. Robin Hager36. Emily Knight37. J. E. McWhinnie38. Jill Lindsey Auman 39. Carolyn Hall Williamson40. Jennifer Potter Buff41. Monique McBride42. Caitlin Allyn White43. Melissa Stump44. Todd Bardin45. Roy M. Terry IV46. Sarah Campbell 47. Betsy Ouellette-Zierden 48. Clare Watson Chance49. Beth Gardner50. Kristyne Young51. Vicki Walker52. Stacey Spence53. John Denmark54. Patti Aupperlee55. Laura Berg56. Mark Charles57. Nathan P. Adams58. Christine Allen Holden59. Bob Brown60. Daryl Allen61. Sean Peters62. Anne Burkholder63. Jason Knott64. Annette Stiles Pendergrass65. Augustus Allen II66. Daphne Johnson67. Clarke Campbell-Evans 68. Sally Campbell-Evans69. Allee Wilcox70. Latricia Edwards Scriven71. Andrea Byer-Thomas72. Emily Edwards 73. Jack Stephenson74. Bernard Lieving Jr.75. Joshua Beaty76. Debbie Keller Allen 77. Carrie Yoder78. Melynne Rust79. Gary A. Marcelin80. Emily Denmark McGee81. David Stephens82. Chris Jones 83. Madeline Luzinski 84. Ivan Gonzalez Jr.85. Amy Greene86. Stephanie Campbell87. June Edwards88. Gary Spencer89. Jeff Stiggins90. Beth Bostrom91. Dan Johnson 92. John E. Griswold93. Esther Robinson 94. Terri Hill95. Justin LaRosa96. Ivan Corbin97. Conner C.J. Hill98. Catherine Fluck-Price99. John Hill100. Matthew Kern101. Erick Ashley 102. Steve Price103. Mark M. Stiles104. Kevin Johnson105. Barbara M. Stiles 106. Ben M. Richards 107. Bob Bushong 108. Sara McKinley109. Ben Collins110. John Wallis111. Tracie Ashley112. Roy A. Carter113. Martha Rutland 114. Wayne Cook115. Val Hattery116. Beth Fogle-Miller 117. Bridget Thornton118. Jana Hall-Perkins119. Ryan DeLaune 120. Bill Fisackerly IV121. Lee Hall-Perkins122. Pam McMillan 123. Nancy E. Stiles 124. Mike Shirley125. LeeAnn Inman 126. Priscilla A. Scherrah 127. Heather Harding 128. Mark E. Reynolds129. Dawn S. Liphart130. Beth Demme131. Bethany Douty132. Nelson Cowan133. Samantha Cowan134. Nicole Logan135. Christopher Haden136. Sidney Tompkins137. Sarah McIntosh138. Elyse Milligan139. Audrey Warren 140. Michael Pestel141. Katie Pestel 142. James Lake 143. Jim Folge-Miller144. Raymond L. Gass145. Hugh Lake146. Cynthia Weems 147. Lisa Lefkow148. Lenora Rousseau 149. Dan Jackson150. Katie Lineburger151. Robert Pearcy152. Virginia Pearcy153. Charissa Jaeger-Sanders 154. Aaron Rousseau155. Diane Gutierrez156. Jim Divine157. Kim DuBreuil158. Marguerite Matthews159. Garrett Rocha160. Ron McCreary161. Dora Thomas162. Larry Rankin163. Anna D. Scharbo 164. Joel Pancoast 165. David A. Williamson166. Danny Bennett167. Harold Henderson168. Tom McCloskey169. Walter Dale Edwards170. Chris Sanders171. Gene Zimmerman172. Zachary Hutchinson173. Jan Richardson174. Missy Hart 175. Dan Wunderlich 176. Shannon Harris177. Tony Chance178. Sharon Davis179. Bruce Jones180. Brian Hurley181. Waite Willis182. Frank Fitzsimmons 183. Merrill Frailey 184. Andy Whitaker Smith185. John Powers186. Shane McIntosh187. David Miller188. Bob Martin189. Lynn Batista190. Pam Dubov191. David Averill192. Wilma I. Reyes193. Timothy McNeil194. Debbie Casanzio195. David Fuquay196. Anne Fuquay 197. Alyce Parmer 198. James M. Morgan199. Paul Butler200. Eric McCrea201. T. Glenn Bosley-Mitchell 202. Ann Hutchens203. Jim Mitchell 204. David McEntire205, Nancy Griswold 206. Peytyn Tobin 207. Patricia M. Daniels208. David Carefoot209. Barbara Hynes210. Eugenia Joyce Alexander211. Nancy Mayeux212. Don Pratt213. Jim Berlau 214. Rachel Hughes215. Rafe Vigil 216. Rachel DeLaune217. Kelly Greenawald 218. Scott Baker 219. Mike Moxley220. Will Wold221. Meghan Killingsworth222. David Killingsworth223. Linda Tice224. Morrell Robinson225. Janet Horman226. Frank Adams227. Kathi Sheehan 228. Paul Massingill229. Amy Scroggin 230. Sue Corley231. Kathy Nolasco232. Scott Harris 233. Timothy May234. Steve Painter 235. Haley Eccles236. Pam Cahoon237. Meredith McMillan238. Betty Batey239. Drew Parsons240. William Yeager241. Anne Godbold242. Juanita Goode243. John Willis244. Pam Feeser245. Marsha Wiggins246. E. Keith Ewing247. Will Clark 248. Tim Wright 249. Pat Turner-Sharpton250. David Lindsay251. Michele Van Son Neill252. Archie Buie253. Doug Hallman 254. Wayne Wiatt255. Jim Martin256. Bill Sherman257. Bob Gibbs258. Dean Brown259. Carol Green260. Mont Duncan261. Matt Wallis262. D. Douglas Clewis263. Donald Dial264. Thom Shafer265. Sharon Patch266. Tom Marston267. Bud Carroll268. Jim Rosenburg269. Bob Titus270. Saraianne Maiselle 271. Alex Carmichel272. Paul E. Van Dine273. Donna Heck274. Marilyn Beecher 275. Joe Moxley