May 18, 2016
I cried for the first time in a long time today… hard. My seat at “Table 10” just right of the center aisle in the General Conference plenary hall has literally provided a front-row view of our collective dysfunction in the United Methodist Church.
My normal stoic exterior broke after a vote that actually went the way I thought it should. We had narrowly defeated a motion by Adam Hamilton to defer and refer to the council of bishops our human sexuality petitions. After the vote, a progressive lay delegate took the floor to attack the Tennessee bishop who had presided over the decision. To call the words and tone poisonous would be an understatement. She demanded the bishop remove himself. The bishop humbly called a brief recess to consult with others… and I lost it.
It had already been an incredibly tense day. I took the hands of the people around me and we wept together, praying over our corporate brokenness. It mattered not at that moment that we occupied radically different places on the ideological spectrum of our church. What we share is the mess in which we find ourselves. I will try to describe it for you.
Though General Conference 2016 convened in the shadow of the Obergefell decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, our divisions over human sexuality stretch across my lifetime. Rooted in differing approaches to scripture, the practical struggle, chronicled here, has been a forty-four-year-long legislative game of cat and mouse. Our rules have repeatedly been tightened in response to efforts at circumventing them. The result is something like a statutory sump pump… an ugly and worrisome thing that we have but wish we didn’t need.
The most recent trend has been selective enforcement of our rules by our bishops particularly in liberal conferences. Our episcopal leaders are endowed with considerable authority by the general church but elected and held accountable regionally. This has allowed the development of enclaves where the vow to uphold our Discipline has become nuanced to say the least. Divisions within the Council of Bishops run deep.
Progressive hopes were high as we approached General Conference. A second same sex wedding was officiated by a defiant retired bishop the weeks before Portland and an Ohio pastor married his male partner of 28 years in a public church wedding (before announcing his own aspirational candidacy for bishop). Over a hundred pastors and ministry candidates “came out of the closet” in a public statement. It was hoped this big splash would create a tidal wave of change. The Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC) has pulled out all the stops with a myriad of carefully orchestrated demonstrations.
By Day Six of General Conference it was obvious that the democratically elected delegates had radically different thoughts about the future of the church. For all their volume, the most progressive segments of our church are shrinking numerically. Explosive growth is happening in the Global South, particularly Africa. A coalition of American evangelicals and international delegates ran the tables in the legislative committees and swept elections to our highest court. It was only delay tactics by progressives that kept more legislative items aimed at enforcement from being recommended.
Enter a third team on the field: U.S. Moderates. Think: nice people, doing nice things, under high steeples, with above average educations. These centrist United Methodists are incrementally changing their minds on homosexuality. Pastor of our largest church and a prolific author, Adam Hamilton is in the final stages of his metamorphesis on the issue. Shepherds and not prophets, he and leaders like him appreciate, I think, the cover our rules provide. Conducting same sex weddings would still be divisive in their congregations. But they would like to see the denomination move the needle a skosh on this issue as pressure from the left mounts. Hamilton told a group of seminary students this week that he would like the first same sex weddings in his Kansas City-area megachurch to be conducted by associate pastors so he can be available to pastorally soothe those who will be unhappy about it.
On this day when tightened clergy rules regarding human sexuality were to be considered, we evangelicals realized we had brought checkers to a chess tournament. The day prior, another moderate pastor took the floor following a night of troubling rumors regarding a church split. He forcefully asked that the Council of Bishops meet, show-some-leadership-for-goodness-sake, and bring forth a plan for fixing things. This was sweet music in the ears of delegates who have witnessed the council unable to police its own members, much less lead the church. We delegates enjoyed the opportunity to tell our bishop what to do. Our beleaguered general superintendents dutifully recessed to their conclave.
Today, our bishops came back with a plan representing the majority view of the council. They thanked the church for the invitation and expressed they would be willing to see the conversation on sexuality deferred, appoint a commission, and consider a specially-called General Conference in two or three years to entertain its recommendations. Hamilton was at the ready to turn this plan into a motion. The conference found itself in the embarrassing place of having asked our bishops to lead. Now they had… sort of. And the plan happened to coincide neatly with the wishes of moderates looking to buy time. Progressives breathed a sigh of relief that the legislative train steaming their way had been derailed.
While I had wept following the nastiness that ensued after the first vote, my African brothers and sisters broke into praises. They came to Portland with a strong mandate to restore integrity to our church and enforce our rules. Their focus is on evangelism, unity, hope-giving ministry, and meeting basic needs. Our deliberations in Portland must seem very strange indeed.
After another plenary recess, someone tried a motion to adopt the bishop’s statement directly. (Hamilton’s failed motion was merely based on the bishop’s plan we were told). After a few more emotional speeches, the episcopal plan prevailed as legislation and by the narrowest of margins. The sigh of relief by the bishops blew our hair back there on the front row.
The maneuverings I witnessed today were impressive in their own right. But they come at the expense of trust on a credit card that is already maxed out. We came to this $10 million gathering only to decline to decisively learn the final will of General Conference on our most pressing issue. This is unconscionable. The commission would have had much more information with which to do their work had we completed ours. If our legislative committees had recommended loosening our rules, this would have been hailed as a breakthrough and efforts to stymie them as evil repression of the will of the body. Why did we come all this way, do all this work, only to stop short of the finish line? This may become the second failed General Conference in a row for the UMC. Three strikes and we are out.
What happens now? I don’t look for a specially called General Conference. I look for the Council of Bishops to read the approval of their proposal as a mandate to reorganize the global church, segregating out the African vote from U.S. matters. Their proposals will come to General Conference 2020 with the weight of endorsement by their blue ribbon commission. I might be wrong about this. I sometimes have the fault of a suspicious nature.
The cost of General Conference 2016 was $1388.89 per minute, not counting the time and expenses of the individuals involved. Most the these minutes were spent debating how we were going to use them. That is the mark of a dysfunctional church if ever there was one. Even Adam Hamilton went on the record this week suggesting we divide the church into liberal, moderate, and conservative denominations or branches. This is the eleventh hour.
There are many problematic statements in the bishop’s document now accepted as a petition. It is so loose that it has been described by my friend Roger Ross as a “blank check.” What does “…including ways to avoid further complaints, trials and harm while we uphold the Discipline” mean? Our bishops do not have the power to prevent people from filing complaint when our rules have been violated. Hopefully they will encourage clergy adherence to our covenant.
What should concerned United Methodists do?
- Light up the inbox of your bishop and that of Bishop Ough, the new President of the Council of Bishops. They need to be encouraged to form a commission that is representative of the church. Encourage transparency. They also need to feel the urgency to address divisions in the U.S. church and not go the direction of viewing the growing presence of Africans as the source of our problems. We don’t want to see the issues raised at GC2016 simply be folded into the existing global restructure effort.
- Encourage our bishops to consider the Jurisdictional Solution and/or the Love Alike Plan as partial basis for their work. (The Love Alike Plan was slated to be entered into our discussions today and was printed in the ADA. Time ran out. If the moratorium on legislation related to homosexuality holds, it will not be discussed.)
- Get involved with the episcopal elections in your jurisdiction. Elections happen in July and most all candidates have made themselves known. Find out the names of your conference’s jurisdictional delegation and the candidates. Encourage the election of strong advocates for unity based on the foundational truths of our faith.
- Say yes when you are invited to represent your church in our denominational structures on the district, conference, and other levels.
- Prepare petitions for your upcoming annual conference that encourages the Council of Bishops to faithfully administer the opportunity they have been given by the church.
We are a seriously broken church, but there are many things that give me hope:
- If there was any doubt about the trajectory of the main body of United Methodism, General Conference 2016 should put that to rest. In the grand scheme of things, we are going from liberal to global at a rate that is quite astonishing. This is healthy as it re-establishes Methodism as a missionary movement of holiness reformation.
- The denominational stances that we came in with are those we also will leave with. Those concerned about a “liberal takeover” need not worry. Those who wanted to change our rules seem at this point to have failed in a dramatic way. The story of GC2016 may be about moderate obstruction but not about progressive victory.
- Whatever is ultimately proposed by the commission will have to face the scrutiny of General Conference. Delays do not change our demographic realities.
- Theological expressions are actually growing more centered when compared to decades past. We seem to be trying to come together around the person of Jesus, which is the only place we can come together.
- There are some awesome pastors and churches in the UMC that are doing amazing work. I have met many of them over the previous days and look forward to continuing to be inspired by their work.
- There are new movements springing up to fill in the gaps left by our denominational and conference agencies.
- There is much to be celebrated in our work together. Well established initiatives like Africa University, UMCOR, and Imagine No Malaria are being joined by some exciting new work I look forward to communicating more about.
- Our tribe has some young, energetic scholars that are demonstrating great leadership. There is a whole generation of young, orthodox voices replacing those that are ready to retire.
- The United Methodist Church is a extensive organization that is impressive in so many ways. This, my first trip to General Conference, has provided a wonderful vista. I thank those who elected to give me this opportunity.
It takes a lot of ocean to turn a big ship like the UMC. Nothing that happened today changes my desire to stay on board and work to make sure the whole church is treated fairly as we work out our points of divergence.
A note to friends: As for me, I am fine. I feel your prayers. Though my heart went through the wringer today (along with the hearts of many), I have a sense of calm and peace. God is still on the throne. Jesus still saves and is the Lord of the church. I will give the next two days all I have and look forward to being home and doing the ministry God has called us to.
I love my home church, First United Methodist Church of Geneseo. I’m not sure I have the same feelings towards The Methodist Church right now. This was disappointing, embarrassing and sad. Nothing seemed to have been acheived, and there doesn’t seem to be a good solution that will unify the church: someone is going to be mad and leave. All we can do is keep praying and, like you said, just keep believing God is on the throne. Safe travels, Pastor, we look forward to having you home.
Love you, Chris! Keep the faith!
Chris, thank you for sharing your experience of Wednesday’s events. I shared your divided church post (with the image of the two spires) with my congregation last Sunday and called for folks to join me daily at noon for prayer and fasting. I was watching the live stream as you all were in session and as the attacks on the Bishop transpired I too broke out sobbing. I hurt for him. I hurt for all of you in the room. I hurt even more deeply for folks on the other side of various issues from myself. I found myself in a time of repentance–while my demeanor is very different than the delegate who challenged the Bishop, I suddenly had a fresh look at where my heart has potentially been toward brothers & sisters-in-Christ.
I appreciate your thoughtful words. I continue to hold you, the IGRC delegation, and the world wide body in my prayers. I would truly appreciate the opportunity to connect with you during Annual Conference or at some point throughout the year. If I am able to be of help, I am ready to stand up and be counted.
I am currently leading a study on the Book of Romans with a men’s group. During our study we discussed Paul’s understanding of righteous being connected to covenant faithfulness. God is righteous as God seeks to establish and re-establish covenant. I shared with my wife that you are truly one of the most righteous men I have ever known. Thank you so much for all the work, effort, prayer, and energy you have poured into seeking ways to establish and re-establish covenant among the People called Methodist!
Thank you for your concise summary. It encouraged me and gave me reason to believe in our organization again. I hope I am wrong about what I think will happen, but I am optimistic. I maintain faith that all will be used for the glory of God.
Chris, I came to the UMC by “marrying into it” in 2009 (my wife is an ordained elder – we were married late in our lives). I’m now a provisional, hopefully standing for ordination in 2017.
When the “news” of the bishops’ so-called proposal to split the church broke, I found myself choking up as I told the news to my wife the next morning.
Chris, I think the “Love Alike” plan is untenable and unhelpful, though I really liked your Jurisdictional Solution. The JS allows like-minded churches to get after mission and ministry with a common witness, leaving others to do as they feel the should; LA binds us too closely together for my comfort. Yet, after what happened to Bishop McAllilly, I find myself furious, rebellious, mournful – and somehow hoping we stay together.
I have friends I love on the other side of the aisle. I don’t like having my ministry’s witness tarnished by the disobedience of others (I’m in Ohio, down the street from the recent fiasco). I have spent far too much valuable time this week having lengthy, tiring and wholly unnecessary conversations with parishioners who cannot understand what the devil is going on.
Yet, for some incredible reason, I want us to be together, and I don’t know why. I am tired of having my witness dampened, yet I want to be together.
God help us all.
Thanks for your words Chris, appreciate your openness.
Thanks for your words. I felt the same way you did in regards to the presiding Bishop, who happens to be my Bishop and a man of deep integrity and Christ Centered leadership. Via social media I called for Ihlo to apologize. Her conference tells her story here: http://bwcumc.org/here-i-stand/?platform=hootsuite
Thank you for your work and sharing your thoughts Dr. Ritter!
I am so grateful for your witness.
Now I am going to vent a little, because I do not know where else to do it…
It was puzzling to watch the whole thing from home. I cannot figure out how a motion that effectively changed the calendar by taking off discussion of other legislation, did not need a 2/3rds vote.
I also think “blank check” under describes how vague the bishop’s proposal. If you read the proposal the new commission is only tasked with rewriting the Book of Discipline with regard to Human Sexuality.
It is the Bishops themselves, according to the plan that will ” lead the church toward new behaviors, a new way of being and new forms and structures which allow a unity of our mission.” So it doesn’t seem like the commission has any role in rearranging conferences, etc. Just the discipline.
They also approved a process for which they have “not finalized plans” So, if such vague language passes constitutional muster it sounds like the general conference just gave the bishops permission to engage in whatever process they want…
The Conference also sets up a commission that shall have “clear objectives and outcomes.” But they did not specify what those objectives are.”
In sum, it strikes me as so vague as to mean whatever anyone wants it to mean. The part that seem to have the most practical effect – delaying votes, strikes me as out of order. But even this is quite vague since it says to “defer all votes on human sexuality.” Since you don’t actually vote “on human sexuality” They must mean something else. They must mean all motions that have anything to do with human sexuality. How wide of net does that cast?
Well, I feel better now.
Thank you for your comments, Chris. Although we aren’t completely in theological agreement, my heart is heavy also. Thank you for your “front row” perspective.
I appreciate you and how you are keeping us informed. My prayers are for you and for our church. Although I do not want us to split it may be unavoidable. I know God will bless the faithful witness of Scripture.
Our congregation left ELCA and formed NALC (North American Lutheran Church) a few years back, although it should have left sooner due to the abortion issue. You won’t win this. Start working to regroup now. People need the Gospel and this just detracts. I’d saved articles about this regular battle from 1988. When Paul wrote about horrible things going on in the 1st century church of a sexual nature that only pagans would do, it certainly shows this is nothing new.
Well said, Norma. I think you’re exactly right.
As we in the UMC live/struggle through this division of views, I can’t help but wonder. Do we know what if the Apostle Paul & Barnabas’ division/split over Mark’s desertion (Acts 15:36-40) was viewed to the degree that our current division over sexuality? How do we as a body recognize/know which words of Holy Scriptures are contextualized (like women not speaking) and which are timeless (like greedy and drunkards are wrong [1 Corn 6:10]) ?
The Bible tells us this is what to expect from mankind, Sad when so-called Christian leaders don’t understand God’s word! It is clear visualization of how we let sin into our live and Church’s 1st we war against it then we except it , then we enjoy and become apart of it!
I appreciate your insight, Dr. Ritter, and especially your painstakingly sharing your GC experience in a way that allows us to know that indeed, there IS hope in our denomination with evangelicals like you who are advocating for adhering to The Word of God and calling for us all to believe and follow Jesus Christ by believing wholly in the inerrancy of Scripture. Jesus, in essence, “drew lines in the sand” many times; and He will come again and draw them again. I feel rather certain that He won’t ask if we advocated for social justice. Loving others doesn’t mean that we have to accept their chosen lifestyle. Jesus certainly didn’t. He said to the woman in sexual sin, “Go and sin no more.” So, either we’re following Him and His teachings, or we are not. He won’t ask if we were politically correct during our lifetime; He will separate the sheep from the goats based on our accepting Him as our savior and following His will and His purpose for us–and not what society says we should during our lifetime. There’s no gray area in His Word–no room for man’s futile attempts at interpretation, which includes–as you’ve witnessed firsthand this week–watering down, politicizing, secularizing and humanizing what He was clear about in His Word. I for one want to see a split in our denomination since this issue very obviously cannot be resolved any other way; that has been proven already. Allow those who want to follow Jesus and His teachings in the BIBLE to go their separate ways. Those denominations that have “hosted” same-sex marriage ceremonies and ordained LGBT pastors have seen sizeable drops in membership, and taking scripture out of context to make their case for that is abhorrent. On the other hand, the churches and denominations (mainly non-denominational churches) with pastors who are preaching the Gospel are growing by leaps and bounds. I agree with Norma–buying time and declaring a moratorium is not going to change anything; in fact, it will continue to water down our witness as a denomination. it simply turns a blind eye to what is already wrong and we will continue to lose members because we aren’t taking a stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As a 45+-year Methodist, I choose Jesus over my denomination! It’s what we should ALL be doing; so that when Jesus comes back and draws the line, we will join him in Eternity.
Thank you for making sure to point out that #2016GC’s decision to kick the can down the road is not a solution to the division that is upon our UMC. As a 58+-year Methodist, I call for a definitive plan to separate based on the percentages of grass-root UMC’ers who either believe that God defines marriage or humans do. Yes, it could be that simple.
Amen. Well said.
I choose Jesus! He first chose me!
what an excellent reply which sums up pretty much my feelings. i will ad that i personally (pushing 72 years of age) have had it with Methodism & i must turn it over to the floundering leadership to work out at some time in the what appears to be the distant future. i personally have many other issues with the book of discipline & believe that it should be thrown out & started over with a new book which should be limited to no more 30 pages.
i absolutely hate to leave my church because of all the wonderful true Christians that comprise it but i can not, with good conscience, support anything tied to Methodism which surely has been infiltrated by Satan. i just want to have a place to go where i can worship God & support him & his teachings. it seems to me that the bible was to a great extent written by common people for common people & with few exceptions is very easy to understand.
i can’t understand why the people that support homosexuality just don’t go to another denomination that supports this abominable & immoral practice , of which there are many , & worship with them. why do they have to divide & destroy the Methodist church. i can only assume that this is Satan’s work.
i will continue to pray for God’s will to be done in the Methodist church.
Thanks for your insight & perspective, Chris, on your first UMCGC. I can only wonder what might happen if we elect some younger Bishops in our AC’s, especially those, like you, who are doing the work of ministry at the local church level faithfully & fruitfully? All five of my children are thirty-somethings and much of the items we fuss about are just accepted ways of life among their friends. It seems to me if we highlighted everything just in the New Testament we should avoid or no do or seek forgiveness under that Biblical word, sin, we would never get around to the basic and first & second commandments of Jesus to 1)Love God and 2)Love neighbor, much less that “new” commandment Jesus dictated to Love One Another! What about being theologically- correct on Gossip, Malice, Slander, holding Grudges, accepting Slum Lord monies from supposedly, Christian members, etc.? Some of the gifted and unique people I know are just the opposite of who I am. Remember that song: Jesus loves the little children of the world–red, yellow, black, & white–they are precious in His sight? Well, do we love them?
I would have expectes a fairer description of Adam Hamilton from you. Seems rather slanted
Adam is a hugely accomplished pastor for whom I have the upmost respect. I hope nothing I said indicates otherwise. We are at a different places on some issues, but I would carry his briefcase anytime.
My Pastor, Tim Reaves, sent me the link to your statement. Thank you for your faithfulness and your honest views of what is going on at GC! I have been closely watching, through the live stream, and texting back and forth with Tim, everything that has been occurring. My heart breaks over the division I’m seeing but your statement gives me hope for the future of the UMC. I am a District Lay Leader and delegate to Jurisdictional Conference. I am quite concerned that we will be Holy Spirit led as we fill our five spots for Bishop. I came to the UMC as a newly wed nearly 50 years ago and have a deep love and respect for the UMC! Thank you for giving me hope as we walk into the future hand in hand with the Holy Spirit guiding us.
I had the privilege of working with Tim in committee. He is an awesome man of God. Hang in there and be a great positive voice in our church.
Chris: I humbly ask is there a right and a wrong way to “read scripture?” If so, could it be that those who read it so that humans are able now to define marriage when God is the one who established it may be “reading scripture” in a wrong way?
I am sure you know that the idea that our finite, limited, human minds are able to discern, dissect, and decide what is best for us as a human race without the help of God reached its zenith as a result of the philosophers of the “Enlightenment” of the 18th century. The folly of this idea that humans are the measure of themselves and thereby are able to determine what is wrong with us and how to make everything right with us is clearly revealed by the fact that we as a race of humans have engaged in two world wars and continue to engage in a long string of genocide (e.g., Armenian, Jewish, Russian, Chinese, Cambodian, and most recently, ISIS-inspired) of proportions never before experienced in human history.
To the point: If the right way to “read scripture” is humbly with Isaiah 55:8-9 as our guide and “God is God, and we are not” as our mantra, then, those who hold to marriage being solely between one woman and one man are in that camp of “right-way readers.” This would necessitate that the “wrong-way readers” find another place (i.e., denomination) in which to do their scriptural application.
Lest you think I’m being a bit too dichotomous (“either/or” as opposed to “both/and”) in all of this, please bear in mind that Jesus said there are two ways (not three, not four, not more) open to us in terms of our eternal destiny (Mt.7.13-14) and there will be two groups (not three, not four, not more) when history comes to a screeching halt (Mt.25.31-33).
And lest you think I’m among the under-educated local pastors who faithfully serve our church, I have earned graduate degrees in counseling (M.S.Ed.) from the University of Pennsylvania and in the social/philosophical foundations of education (Ed.S.) from Rutgers University. I would greatly appreciate your thoughtful reply to my original question.
Excellent question and rationale, Frank.
A view from the UMC pew: From the perspective of I have devoted much time listening to ALL the voices from within the UMC re the same gender/sexuality question and some from outside the church, I have many concerns about this blank check that has been handed to the Bishops. One thing that has not entered into the discussion is the ever-evolving discussion about sexuality; we are no longer just talking homosexuality, we are talking LGBTQI which identifies a host of other sexual expressions. When I first started reading up on this the letter “I” stood for “inquiring” ; very, very recently, the letter “I” has begun to evolve into “Intersex”. What is that? I think Timothy Tennent, the president of Asbury Seminary sounds a solid warning in his post titled “The Deeper Issue Facing The United Methodist General Conference” at timothytennent.com:
“What is clear is that as North America moves more rapidly into a post-Christian phase, we are experiencing the beginnings of a radical reassessment of the body which renders the body morally neutral. The church has been profoundly short-sighted in thinking that if we just accept homosexuality, then we will finally be “at the end of something” and we will finally return to a church which can focus on its mission to “make disciples for the transformation of the world.” Beloved brothers and sisters, we are not at the end of anything. We are only seeing the first-fruits of changes which we cannot, as yet, even imagine.”
He is not the first person I have tripped across who has stated that the acceptance of homosexuality is only the beginning!
Thank you for bring Dr. Tennent’s perspective forward in this conversation. His is a voice for faithfulness in following Christ, a voice we need to hear in these tumultuous times.
Wow!! Thank you so much! It is a deeper issue — truth is being twisted to make it appear the Church has a problem with “people” rather than with “sin”.
The greatest issue facing the United Methodist Church is not one of sexual immorality (a substantial issue, yes), but the UMC anti-Israel stance through Resolution 6111 and the UMC retirement fund kicking out 5 Israeli banks in January of this year. Genesis 12: 3 shows God will not bless those who curse the “apple of His eye,” Israel. Get Resolution 6111, etc. overturned and God will again bless the Methodist Church. I think salvations will still occur in some UMC congregations and out reaches in the U.S. because such is the heart of God to have people come into His kingdom.
Thank you, Henry, for bringing this into the conversation. Most of us, I feel sure, are not aware that the UMC has turned its back on Israel in this way. This is yet another solid reason to split!
By the time they choose to lead, they will find they no longer have anyone who will follow. We saw this begin in 2012 in Tampa and yet here we are at the commencement of a study that will take another two or three years? And these are the Open doors, minds and hearts of a “UNITED” Methodist Church?
Thank you for your insight and perspective on this issue. While you and I stand in opposition over the issue of full inclusion, I am better for having read your thoughts. I think the real issue at the heart of all this conflict is two competing viewpoints on the nature of the authority of scriptures. Our institution is binding together a dichotomy that cannot be reconciled. And, as I think you witness and realize, our institution is incapable of resolving this contradiction. It’s time to let go. Denomination and institution are conveniences and conceits, they are not the Kingdom. And that is where our loyalty and allegiance should be centered. Let us all part in peace and follow our call in faithfulness. But we should not force ourselves into a connection that in fact disconnects. We are unified through Christ even if we are not unified in form. And that’s OK. Nothing lasts forever.
You say, “I look for the Council of Bishops to read the approval of their proposal as a mandate to reorganize the global church, segregating out the African vote from U.S. matters.” So you want the African vote to not count against the US matters? I thought this is the United Methodist church global that is meeting? Why just the African vote? It’s because they are against your view and are hindering it. So you want the African church to be segregated so the homosexual movement can move forward. Isn’t that the issue with the homosexual movement that they feel isolated and segregated and without vote and voice? So you want to do the same to the African church? Sounds hypocritical to me.
TJ, let me clarify. I suspect there will be folks who read our problem as the conservative influence of the Africans. I do not share this view. I thank God every day for our African brothers and sisters and for their orthodox witness.
I came to gc2016 as a prayer warrior…. and pray we did …..it was some if the mist intense spiritual warfare that I have ever encountered. May JESUS BE LIFTED UP….MAY LOVE TRUTH AND RIGHTEOUSNESS RAIN DOWN. AND MAY HOLY SPIRIT CAUSE A GLORY ENCOUNTER …LIKE ISAIAH 6. WHERE WE SAY WOE IS ME FOR I AM COMPLETLEY UNDONE!
I came to the United Methodist Church in 1980, from the Catholic Church. I have always praised my church(s) for being so accepting , however, issues of the world were different than they are now! This issue has touched my family in recent years, and suddenly I find myself on the fence, a bit. I know what the Bible says, and what my heart says, but sometimes I still “look the other way”, which is kinda cowardly!! But as I am getting older, my belief system gets stronger, and my ability to see the blessings and movement of God in my everyday life. So, ya know, it’s more about a RELATIONSHIP than a RELIGION!!!