I’m writing to keep you up to date on what is happening with the United Methodist denomination. Last week Paterson Meahyen and I attended the Church of the Resurrection Leadership Institute. Church of the Resurrection is the largest United Methodist congregation in the United States, with approximately 30,000 members. Their lead pastor is Rev. Adam Hamilton. Each September they sponsor a Leadership Institute to strengthen other congregations in their ministries. This year the Leadership Institute focused solely on the crisis created by the legislation passed at General Conference 2019.
Much of the focus was on the work of the UMCNext movement, which is about creating an inclusive church for all groups of people in our culture who have been marginalized. Although the controversy of full inclusion of the LGBTQIA community has been the driving force, there is recognition that there is much more work to do around racism, sexism, classism, and ableism. Creating an inclusive expression of Methodism means addressing all of the "-isms."
We also learned about some of the legislation that will be presented at General Conference 2020 in May. There are four legislative plans that will be presented and be up for vote at General Conference. You can find them online with the following links:
The Indianapolis Plan
The New Expressions Worldwide (N.E.W.) Plan
A New Form of Unity Plan
The UMCNext Proposal
Many things presented at this conference have implications for our visioning/strategic planning session that will happen on October 20 after church (noon – 2:00 p.m.). But there are also some nitty-gritty denominational and political details that are best handled with another meeting. I invite you to a discussion on Wednesday evening, October 16 at 6:45 p.m. to learn more about these plans and the implications for UMC congregations if they pass. It will be held in the sanctuary. Come at 5:45 p.m. for supper if you can.
Please keep the denomination, all of our congregations, and especially Living Spirit in your prayers as we navigate through this.