By Anna Golladay
Sr. Director of Communications
Beloveds, I’ve returned from the Special Session of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church having experienced a fairly even split of harm and hope. I know that many of you watched, prayed and stood alongside us from afar. Please know how much we appreciate your solidarity.
With the passing of the Traditionalist Plan, the United Methodist Church has instigated what will likely be a quick decline and demise of the denomination. Pastors and churches will engage in an even higher number of disobedient actions, many of who have already publicly stated their dissent via social media. Bishops will refuse to comply with the increased punitive requirements making upcoming trials excessive and costly. In walking away from the One Church Plan (although not perfect, and nowhere near as necessary as the Simple Plan), the church has said to current, and more importantly future, generations that they are not welcomed and they will not be honored. This post-General-Conference reimagined version of the United Methodist Church is on life support.
And yet, amidst all the hate speech and police presence, there emerged a scent of hope. The visual representation of persons in rainbow stoles in the observation area was 10 to 1 without. From this point forward, it is impossible for the United Methodist Church to ignore our existence. We know we have already lost a large number of persons who can no longer allow their hearts to stay in this work. There’s been another blow to their already-tender spirit that isn’t salvageable. Every time a friend reaches out to me with the words “I can’t do this anymore” I weep. And yet I also completely understand.
The possibility of new creation was palpable. There is a reimagining beginning. A new movement is possible, now more than ever before. The Holy Spirit is poised to give us a NEW way forward that looks even more beautiful and faithful than anything the UMC could have reimagined for us. There is a new opportunity for inclusion, equality and engagement on the horizon.
HOW YOU CAN ENGAGE
Should you desire to support the prayers and energy around this work in the United Methodist Church, I encourage you to engage with the following organizations. You may support them financially, by sharing their social media posts, or by showing up when public action is planned. Please consider supporting the work of our queer, black and brown siblings first. It will be their voices that make this new vision the most inclusive and best representation of Jesus’ gospel.
CPR has options of engagement as well.
Apply for the Convergence Leadership Project. The community being formed among leaders in this work will form the church of the future.
God’s table is big enough. God decides who is invited to dinner. God will make a way for every, single one of us. Personally, that gives this homeless pastor all the hope I need.