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General Conference 2019

A Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church takes place February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. The purpose will be to receive and act on a report from the Commission on a Way Forward, authorized to examine paragraphs in The Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and to explore options to strengthen church unity.

Post-Conference Reflections, News, Etc.

What Did and Did Not Happen at GC2019

Post-Conference Pastoral Letter from Bishop Bard

Beginning to Look Ahead after GC2019

Young Adults Reflect on the Traditional Plan

Pastor Mark's Reflections on GC2019

Where Was the Bible?

Pain All Around

Gobsmacked!

The Awkward and Rarified Middle

The Michigan Statement and Further Alienation

Angry but Not Giving Up

Split Down the Middle

UMC's General Conference 2019 page

For detailed information about GC2019 each day, look over the Daily Christian Advocate posted daily.

General Conference Documents

The following links connect you to documents that describe the various plans under consideration at GC 2019

Comparison of the plans of resolution

One Church Plan Summary

Traditional Plan Summary

Connectional Plan Summary


Tecumseh UMC's Position--in brief:

We welcome all who come among us and include all who are among us in the life and ministry of our church without regard to any consideration other than whether or not one is simply human.

We remain engaged with a denomination (The United Methodist Church) with worldwide reach, in which we can participate in ministry and mission globally.

Pastor Mark, whether he agrees with church law or not, will nonetheless be obedient to it. This means that he will not perform same-gender weddings as the UMC continues to ban this activity. However, he will, with vigor, minister with and advocate for those in our society who are marginallized, disenfranchised, and forgotten, as well a continue to preach and teach from the truths of the Bible informed by the traditions of the Church.

We will have to live with the tension of our (Tecumseh UMC's) embrace of all persons, LGBTQIA as well, while being a part of a UMC whose church law has declared that some things now accepted within our culture are not permissible in the church. For those hurt by this, we are sorry.

Pastor Mark's Personal Statement:

As a former Atheist, my perspective on the process and decisions made at GC2019 is perhaps a bit different than that of my colleagues who have grown up in the church. While I will obey its church law as long as I choose to be a member of the UMC, I believe those on both sides of the human sexuality debate failed to remember the mission statement of the UMC: to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. If they had, they might have considered that the disciples we hope to make do not yet have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, nor are they generally knowledgable about the Bible and historic church doctrine. From this position outside of the faith, neither those who advocated for full inclusion of LGBTQUIA persons into the life of the UMC nor those who wanted to retain the current prohibitions against ordination of "practicing homosexuals" and same-gender marriage had made their respective cases. Neither side explained why they believed their position to be the right one in a compelling way by working through the issues involved. Instead, both sides stated their positions and restated their positions and restated their positions.

Those who sought the full inclusion of LGBTQUIA persons focused on the hurt exclusion had and continues to cause. But they needed to explain how full inclusion might be supported by the Bible, our primary authority in all matters of our faith. Those who pressed for retaining current church law, arguing that practicing homosexuality violates Christian teaching, did nothing more than say "the Bible says homosexuality is a sin" and "the church has never countenanced things like gay marriage". They did not offer an interpretation of the Bible that made their case nor did they explain why the church must not change its position. The latter is interesting given that the church throughout history has changed its position on a number of issues. We no longer burn witches and heretics, force scientists to recant their positions should their theories fail to match biblical narratives, consider mental illness to be the work of evil spirits, ban women from leadership in the church, or ban or stigmatize divorce. Had both sides done to work to explain the "why" of their positions, people like me might be able to explain the UMC's differing views in a way that would help seekers and believers alike better understand those positions.

I hope to at least catalyze discussion among my colleagues about why the various factions within the UMC hold the views that they do with the hope that better understanding of each other may help the UMC both find healing and renewed focus on it stated mission.