My heart is broken. On Sunday - two days ago - I lifted up our sisters and brothers in the United Methodist Church who were facing a hard decision, a decision that would probably split the denomination no matter which way it went. Even knowing that, I really thought that the delegates voting would, as John Pavolitz says, err on the side of love. But instead the vote went the other way. The denomination voted to reject those members who are anything other than heterosexual cis-gendered persons. No same sex marriages will be permitted. No one may serve as clergy who identifies anywhere along the LGBTQI spectrum. The church whose motto is “Open hearts, open minds, open doors” has chosen to reject some of God’s children. Instead they have chosen to affirm that “The practice of Homosexuality is not compatible with Christian teaching.”
I know that my own denomination is not, and perhaps never will be, fully open and affirming. But we are congregational. Each Disciples congregation makes decisions about membership and leadership for itself. We have no rulings coming down from on high telling us who we may or may not accept, who we may or may not marry, who we may or may not call as ministers.
Our brothers and sisters in the United Methodist Church still have hard decisions ahead of them. Will they accept this ruling or not? Will they stay in the denomination or will they go? Will a new Open Church branch of the Methodist Church evolve out of this General Conference’s decision? While they are grappling with these decisions, let us pray.
And may it be known that our doors are open to any seeking a new home in Christ. In our house, all are welcome, and all means ALL.