The United Methodist Church had a big meeting for the last 4 days (Special Session of the General Conference) and on the final day, the Traditional Plan (TP) prevailed over 3 others.
The other plans were all preferable to me. The Connectional Plan (CP) was a region-by-region approach. The One Church Plan (OCP) was my favorite and it allowed us to ‘agree to disagree’ but remain in unity. The Simple Plan (SP) was simply to remove language about homosexuality and simply free us to do as God leads.
If this topic seems raw – please forgive us – it was a difficult 4 days.
Here is my take as someone who transferred into the UMC 8 years ago from an evangelical denomination (C&MA) after being raised Free Methodist.
Here are my 4 thoughts – with explanations below:
- 11 years ago I believed in the Traditional Plan (TP) that passed today. So there is lots of room for conversation and lots of room for growth with us ALL.
- For all intents and purposes, the traditional plan that passed today is basically the Book of Discipline (BoD) that we have been under for the past decades.
- We have really good people thinking about this. So I am sure that they are going to find a way forward.
- The One Church Plan (OCP) was announced at the end of today’s session as the plan for the Western Jurisdiction. Aka: nothing changes for us
1) 11 years ago I believed in the Traditional Plan (TP) that passed today. So there is lots of room for conversation and lots of room for growth with us ALL.
I have been working to find ways to unClobber the Bible [Unclobber_One_Page_Cheat_Sheets.] I even wrote an map for my evangelical friends [An Evangelical Support for Same Sex Marriage]
2) For all intents and purposes, the traditional plan that passed today is basically the Book of Discipline (BoD) that we have been under for the past decades.
As difficult as today was … and it was difficult … we knew that some folks think that Christianity is conservative. It is not.
3) We have really good people thinking about this. So I am sure that they are going to find a way forward.
This might be the most important this I ever say: I left my former denomination over the Ordination of Women. I was working on an internal and Biblical conviction, but it turns out that I was right! The Ordination of Women opens up life and faith for both women and men. My experience and ministry were both incomplete without my sisters in ministry.
I don’t know the way forward. But I know who I will follow forward:
My Bishop Rev. Elaine Stanovsky
My Dist. Superintendent Rev. Erin Martin
My Commission Leader Rev. Donna Pritchard
Rev. Beth Estock
Rev. Julia Nielsen
Rev. Karen Shimer
Rev. Eilidh Lowery
Rev. Becca Farrester
Rev. Karen Ward
Rev. Christy Dirren
Rev. Linda Tucker
Rev. Courtney McHill
Rev. Taylor Gould
Rev. Heather Riggs
Rev. Michelle McKinnon-Young
This is my tribe. These are my people. They will show the way that we should go.
4) The One Church Plan (OCP) was announced at the end of today’s session as the plan for the Western Jurisdiction. Aka: nothing changes for us
At the 2019 Special Called Session of the General Conference, Rev. Donna Pritchard, chair of the Western Jurisdiction Leadership Team made this statement on behalf of Western Jurisdiction Leadership:
“We have long appreciated the richness of the global diversity of our United Methodist Church and have embraced opportunities to join with you all in the work of making disciples for the transformation of the world.
“We also understand the purpose of the Church to be in mission and ministry. Consequently, we in the West have been functioning for years as One Church committed to full inclusion, seeking to be a home for all God’s people.
“Today we acknowledge the fracture of this body, yet we worship a God who tells us that the body of Christ has many parts, all equally valued. Rooted in Wesleyan tradition, grounded in Scripture and committed to mission and ministry, the Western Jurisdiction intends to continue to be one church, fully inclusive and open to all God’s children, across the theological and social spectrum.
We know from experience we are stronger when we live together as progressives, traditionalists and centrists in our Church. Many times during this Conference we have sung or prayed or blessed each other with the reminder that we need each other.”
May the spirit of the living God guide us as we walk forward in faith.