Pleasant Hills UMC Friends & Members:
I’m writing this message to you following the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference. The General Conference is our denomination’s top legislative body and met from February 23-26, 2019 to discuss a way forward surrounding our denominational position on human sexuality and inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) persons in the full life of the church.
First, let me share a message for our LGBTQI+ members: You are loved by God and I love you. There are no exceptions to that statement. I am sorry for the harm done in the name of the The United Methodist Church and as your pastor, I invite you to remember who and whose you are: You are a beloved child of God and you are welcome at Pleasant Hills United Methodist Church.
Dear friends, the message I shared above to our LGBTQI+ members and friends applies to us all. God loves you and I love you.
At the Special Session of the General Conference, the decision of the General Conference was to support the Traditional Plan with a vote of 438 to 384. The Traditional Plan maintains the United Methodist Church’s current stance on human sexuality and increases accountability by streamlining the processes to enforce penalties for violations of The Book of Discipline related to the marriage and ordination of LGBTQI+ persons. We do not yet know the full implications that the Traditional Plan will have for The United Methodist Church, its members, and its clergy. Decisions made at the 2019 Special Session of General Conference are not scheduled to go into effect until January 1, 2020 and all of them are subject to review for their constitutionality by the Judicial Council (like the United Methodist version of the Supreme Court) at their meeting in April.
While I know that we are not all of one mind regarding the inclusion of LGBTQI+ persons in full life of the church, I remind us that Jesus calls to us live together in love and to care for each other, remembering that each one of us is a beloved child of God and there are no exceptions. I invite you to join me in prayer for our church, for persons who were harmed by the decisions of the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference, for our Bishop Tracy Smith Malone, and for the mission and ministry at Pleasant Hills United Methodist Church. I also invite you to join me at Strongsville United Methodist Church on Sunday, March 10 at 4:00pm to hear the results and next steps directly from Bishop Malone.
Please be aware that there are many news stories in the mainstream media that do not fully or accurately understand United Methodist polity. Therefore, I encourage you to look for further information about the Special Session of the General Conference from our Bishop, (http://bit.ly/BishopMaloneGeneralConference
), the United Methodist Church (http://www.umc.org/topics/general-conference-2019-special-session
), from The United Methodist News Service (https://www.umnews.org
), or to contact me directly.
With love and prayers,
Rev. Lorrin Radzik