My denomination, the United Methodist Church, is becoming more inclusive of persons who are LGBTQ2S because many congregations in my denomination that are not accepting of persons who are LGBTQ2S are leaving to form their own denomination. After decades of attempting to force the whole United Methodist Church to exclude persons who are LGBTQ2S from ordained ministry and marriage, in the face of ever growing resistance they are giving up on that strategy and are now forming their own church where they will no longer have to deal with those of us who believe the circle should be drawn wide to fully include persons who are LGBTQ2S and where they can continue to cling to the view that persons who are LGBTQ2S are incompatible with Christian teachings.
Many of us in the United Methodist Church who are open and affirming once had hoped that a more inclusive church would be possible through a transformation of the whole denomination into a more inclusive and reconciling church, but that did not happen so now there will be a United Methodist Church and a Global Methodist Church. It will take some time to make things official through our United Methodist General Conference processes, but the day is hopefully coming and coming soon when the United Methodist Church will no longer exclude our LGBTQ2S siblings from ordained ministry and marriage and when we will remove all language of judgment about our LGBTQ2S siblings from our United Methodist Book of Discipline.
Given that so many in the new Global Methodist Church are encouraging members of the United Methodist Church to leave and join them to continue excluding persons who are LGBTQ2S from ordained ministry and marriage (my sense is that they will exclude them from other roles within the church as well given that they see their lives as being incompatible with Christian teachings), I want to return the invitation to those of you who may soon find yourself to be a member of the GMC either by choice or accident. If you are a person who is LGBTQ2S, please know that you are loved and accepted by God just as you are, and soon the United Methodist Church will be more fully living into that reality. I hope you join us and help us live into becoming a more beloved community.
And if you are anyone else who finds yourself in the Global Methodist Church and over time you begin to feel uncomfortable being a part of a denomination that does not fully accept our LGBTQ2S siblings and excludes them from ordained ministry and marriage and whatever other forms of exclusion are on the horizon for the GMC, and you begin to see that this exclusion and judgment have nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus; I extend an open invitation to you as well to come and be a part of the United Methodist Church as we live more fully into the Agape of Beloved Community in this world that God loves so much.
Peace be with you all, but may it be a peace that fully embraces justice for all persons and all creation.
Thank you Mark for this gracious invitation. It represents us well.