To the people of New Covenant,
Earlier this week the United Methodist Church gathered in St. Louis to address the issue of human sexuality in our Book of Discipline. This process has been an ongoing conversation since the language was initially adopted in 1972. After three days of intensely difficult, sometimes hurtful and divisive debate, the Modified Traditional Plan was passed, 53% to 47%. The details of this plan and the other legislation passed, and what it means for us, are still evolving as we await the final Judicial Council’s ruling on the constitutionality of several parts of the plan in late April.
The hurt and division within our denomination are as deep as they have ever been. A way forward as a united denomination feels less possible.
Yet, here is what we know. New Covenant is the same today as it was last week and what it has been for the 41 years we have been a church. We will continue to be committed to our mission to help people become fully devoted followers of Christ. We will continue in our commitment to being salt and light in the world around us. We will continue to give our all to be a place of radical welcome and hospitality to all people. We are still who we have always been.
This should not be a time of celebration for anyone. It is a reminder that we are all fractured people in need of God’s deep grace. One of the primary aspects of our call is to love God with all of our being and to love our neighbors, including our LGBTQi neighbors, as ourselves.
If you are hurting for yourself, a family member, a friend, or co-worker because of what happened this past weekend, may the grace of God and the love of your New Covenant family bring you comfort.
If you are afraid of what is next or you’re asking yourself if you belong at New Covenant, a United Methodist Church, or whether you belong in a church at all, may God’s love remind you of both his and our love for you.
If you find an inclination in yourself toward homophobia or hate of any kind, may the kindness of God lead you to confession and repentance.
We understand and celebrate that not all of us are on the same page in regard to what was decided at General Conference. We celebrate the diversity of thought that is present here at New Covenant. What unites us is our heart for the mission of God through the people of God.
The founder of our United Methodist tradition, John Wesley, captured it beautifully in his sermon On a Catholic Spirit saying, “If your heart is like my heart, then give me your hand.”
May God bless you and keep you during this transition into the next season of whatever God has laid out before us. Amen.
We will be moving forward with some conversations to walk through the details of what took place at General Conference and what our future looks like. We will keep you informed of what that looks like as we solidify our plans.