A Message from Pastor Maria Campbell on the 2019 Special General Conference
Beloved Church Family,
I write this to you after much prayer and consideration. While recuperating from knee replacement surgery, I watched the livestream of the 2019 Special General Conference. After three days of at times disheartening discourse, the conference voted to uphold the current Book of Discipline, our denomination's book of law and polity, regarding the prohibition of same-gender weddings and ordination of LGBTQ persons. For some people this decision was a victory, while for others it was a defeat.
There are many members of the UM church and their families who have been greatly hurt by the proceedings and final outcome of the conference. I grieve that as a denomination we have done harm. It breaks my heart as a pastor to think that anyone is being hurt by the words that were spoken --- and I know that many were. I want every person to know that they are a beloved and cherished child of God. When Paul says there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, Paul means nothing.
I know that as members of a faith community we may hold diverse understandings, but I believe what we hold in common is what is most important...what binds us: our unwavering belief in the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus. When Jesus told us to love as he loves, he meant it. Susanna Wesley UMC is committed to following Jesus by seeking, sharing and serving in God's love. Our vision is to become a diverse community where God's love can be seen in action. We will continue to teach, preach and live God's love for all people. We will teach young and old children of God that God calls us to love God with our whole being and to love one another as God loves us.
All people are welcome to worship, take part in the sacraments and serve in leadership roles. None of this has changed as a result of General Conference. There is much that is yet to be decided about the constitutionality of the Traditional Plan that passed at GC 2019 (only by 53%). Until this is resolved, I ask that we pray for the wisdom of those who serve on the Judicial Council. We as a faith community will continue to be the church that God calls us to be; a church that seeks to know God in deeper, more authentic ways. A church that strives to share the love of God with our neighbors-near and far. A church that serves God who created, redeems and sustains us by partnering with God in the care of creation.
We, the people of Susanna Wesley United Methodist Church, have bold and courageous work to do. And we know we cannot do it on our own. It will take each one of us working together and guided by the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish what God desires to have done through this church, this body of Christ. We will not lose sight of the dream that God has placed on our hearts and minds. It's a dream that includes all people who desire to know the saving love of Jesus Christ and those who may not yet know that's what they need but know they need something more in their lives.
God has called us and equipped us for a time such as this to be strong together. God has blessed us and God is preparing us to build new relationships with the whole people of God.
May the peace of God fill you+