Río Texas Conference Clergy Pledge of Unity
We, the undersigned deacons, elders, associate members, and licensed local pastors of the Río Texas Annual Conference affirm this pledge of unity in response to General Conference 2019:
We see diversity as essential to our identity as the body of Christ, and long for a church that is drawn together even in our differences. The rivers of God’s love flow in our conference from the hill country to the valley, from our wide spaces in the west to our urban city centers. We serve congregations and among colleagues with whom we do not always agree regarding the interpretation of Scripture or other theological matters. Yet, we feel deeply called to be in ministry with all people and in all contexts.
We are increasingly aware that our polity does not provide for unity of witness with diversity of practice. As such, we are restricted from answering God’s call in our varied contexts -- whether ministering with LGBTQIA persons and their families, caring for immigrants among us, living in community with the poor, or confronting racism in our systems and in our hearts.
We lament that our legislative actions rejected the prayerful discernment of the Council of Bishops and The Commission on a Way Forward. This broke familial relationships in our churches and among our colleagues. We deeply yearn to continue living into John Wesley’s words:
"Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences. These remaining as they are, they may forward one another in love and in good works."
Therefore, we urge our bishop, our district superintendents, and the board of ordained ministry of the Río Texas Annual Conference to lead us forward in the spirit of the One Church Plan.
This honors the intrinsic connectional nature of The United Methodist Church and our life together in Christ’s body. This respects all parts of the body. It provides space for those who hold more traditional beliefs to continue to offer ministry as they have in the past; space for those with more progressive beliefs to provide a more complete ministry with LGBTQIA persons; and space for all United Methodists to engage in vital ministry across our connection.
As clergy in the Río Texas Annual Conference we covenant to be in ministry together as follows:
• We will allow for contextual ministry within our Conference
• We support our clergy colleagues and churches who, for reasons of conscience or context, provide pastoral ministry, including sacraments, weddings, funerals, and counseling, to all persons.
• We trust that decisions from conscience or context are the result of deep and prayerful engagement with scripture.
• We will be loyal to our deepest understanding of God’s calling upon our lives and gracefully practice our shared mission and Wesley’s General Rules.
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