UM Next : News Update (No. 3)

22 May 2019

My dearest siblings in Jesus Christ,

I am writing to you from the Portland airport, as I await my flight home late tonight. I must tell you, these past three days are not what I expected, and not what I thought I had hoped for, but I leave filled with more hope for our future than I could have anticipated. Our God is good that way, exceeding our expectations, and showing us how small our dreams are compared to the Kingdom work of the Holy Spirit.

We concluded our meetings today at the Church of the Resurrection at noon with four commitments:

  1. We long to be passionate followers of Jesus Christ, committed to a Wesleyan vision of Christianity, anchored in scripture and informed by tradition, experience and reason as we live a life of personal piety and social holiness.

  2. We commit to resist evil, injustice and oppression in all forms and toward all people and build a church which affirms the full participation of all ages, nations, races, classes, cultures, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities.

  3. We reject the Traditional Plan approved at General Conference 2019 as inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ and will resist its implementation.

  4. We will work to eliminate discriminatory language and the restrictions and penalties in the Discipline regarding LGBTQ persons.  We affirm the sacred worth of LGBTQ persons, celebrate their gifts, and commit to being in ministry together.

A truly inclusive church is one that embraces conservatives and progressives and centrists. A truly inclusive church is one that embraces people of all colors, languages, and cultures. A truly inclusive church is one that embraces people of all abilities, orientations, and identities.

St John... You are already that church.

And so we will continue to be who we are, without fear of punishment or repercussion, as we begin this long work of creating a new expression of Wesleyan Methodism that is not punitive, but filled with redeeming, healing, and transforming grace.

I have made myself available in multiple capacities to further the work of dissolution and disaffiliation at the national level as we seek to create a new denomination that will draw the circle of Christ's love, forgiveness, and redemption ever wider, and I invite those of you who are interested in this endeavor to join us in this work.

I am so looking forward to being home with you all again. I cannot thank you enough for the prayers and financial support you all have provided to help make this trip possible. God bless you St John, and may we always seek to be a blessing - to God, and to God's beloved people.

Your fellow disciple,

Pastor Andy