Mars Hill United Methodist Church
Part of the reconciling Ministries Network
Pastor Lisa’s Response to General Conference
Feb. 27, 2019
Dear Mars Hill UMC Family,
The events of the General Conference that concluded yesterday are disheartening. The conference voted to reject the bishop proposed "One Church Plan" which would have allowed clergy, churches, and annual conferences to make their own spirit-led decisions about the marriage and ordination of our LGBTIA siblings in Christ. Instead they passed the traditional plan which provides larger punitive measures to attempt to assure Untied Methodist cannot be ordain or marry self avowed, practicing homosexuals. While I mourn for my beloved church, of which I have been a life long member. I can find hope in a few things.
The General Conference is not the church. This vote in no way diminishes the love and full acceptance that our congregation liveson a daily basis.
The vote was close: 438 to 384. Furthermore, looking solely at the votes of the US delegates the One Church Plan would have one. I don't say this to condemn our African siblings in Christ, but rather to point out that it was people from a culture vastly different from our own which caused this vote.
It is possible that the Traditional Plan might be ruled unconstitutional by the Judicial Council (the UMC supreme court). If that happens we wouldn't be ahead, but at least won't have fallen farther behind.
The chaplain at Mars Hill let me know that the very fact that our church welcomes brings hope and affirmation to LGBTQIA students who never come in our door!
Our larger community is rallying around the pain of this vote. Tonight at 6 pm at Trinity UMC in Asheville we will have a vigil to lament and profess our solidarity with the whole of the people of God. Please attend if you are able.
This Saturday at Green Street UMC in Winston-Salem there will be a worship service at 10:30 am followed by lunch and a strategizing session of the Western NC Reconciling ministries. If you are interested in attending and want to know more information or sign up for lunch please let me know.
Lastly, even in the face of the hypocrisy of choosing one perceived "sin" over all others, there is always hope. After all, we worship a Lord who rose from the dead! New life always springs forth, even when something beloved dies.
In love peace, and hope,