The called session of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church to deal with issues around same sex marriage and ordination is concluding. The body passed an amended version of the plan called “The Traditional Plan,” which continues the current United Methodist position that same sex weddings cannot be officiated by our clergy or in our churches, and self-avowed practicing LGBT men and women may not be ordained. It also adds increased accountability for bishops and boards of ministry in enforcing this covenant. However, many of the components to increase that accountability already have been ruled in violation of the United Methodist constitution, so may not be enforceable going forward.

As always, there was a great deal of diversity of opinion and understanding of Scripture around this issue among members of the United Methodist delegations from around the world, and a great deal of passion for each position. Most of the votes were 45% to 55%.  In the words of John Wesley, “Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may.” Everyone was committed to the United Methodist mission of making disciples for the transformation of the world.

At St. Luke’s, there will be no change in anything we do. We will continue to study the Bible and take it very seriously, and to work together side by side “to equip families and individuals to live and love like Jesus,” working together toward our vision of “a city transformed by the love of Jesus”. We will love whomever comes in the door, and go find them elsewhere so we can show and tell them about Jesus’ love wherever they are.

I write in Jesus’ love to the local church I love,

Tom Pace