A WORD FROM YOUR SENIOR PASTOR
I write to you to share that The Judicial Council has ruled on the constitutionality of the Traditional Plan and an Exit Plan that was approved at General Conference 2019. The ruling declares seven petitions null and void while upholding eight of the approved petitions. For details of what that means for our denomination, please go to umc.org and follow Resources/UM News Service or Structure/Judicial Council Decision. These rulings do not alter the essence of The Traditional Plan that was passed at the General Conference of 2019.
The Church Council of Washington Street has an approved response to the decisions of the General Conference of 2019. The Church Council Response remains unchanged at this time. The Church Council has appointed an AdHoc Committee to coordinate the congregation’s response to the decisions of the General Conference 2019. Inez Tenenbaum has agreed to chair this team and the following persons are a part of this group: Joe Epting, Lay Leader, Emily Brown, Ann Jessup, Sam Waldrep, David Anderson, Jim Lane and two youth, Sam Schatz and Addie Lee. I, along, with the Associate Ministers, will be involved in the work of the team as appropriate.
As your Pastor, I am committed to leading this congregation in fulfilling her mission in light of her core values and identity statement. I am convinced that Washington Street is making a bold and courageous witness to The Gospel of Jesus Christ in her life together. Here, we welcome all people. We embrace people with diverse economic, racial, ethnic and national backgrounds. We welcome people who are gay and people who are straight. We welcome conservatives and progressives; people who think “like me” and people who do not. And all together, we serve and praise God, reach out to our community, nurture our children and youth, and extend God’s love to others. As a leader, I am committed to listening to all opinions and facilitating open dialogue because I believe that “all means all” and that the teachings of Jesus and John Wesley are as pertinent to our discussions about human sexuality as to theology (please see the bulletin board in the Great Hall). And, as always, I am committed to being a pastor for all of the members of this congregation.
While many United Methodists are not discussing the issues before us, denominational leaders are aware of the deep divisions among us. I, along with nine others from SC, have been invited to participate in a UMC-Next gathering May 20-22 at The Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City, Kansas. We will be meeting to contemplate how the denomination that we love can continue “…defined by Wesleyan theology, a missional focus, evangelism and social justice, and being a church that fully welcomes LGBTQ persons and their families and friends in the life of the church”.
Please know that I am open and willing to discuss these Judicial Council Decisions and pertinent matters with any member(s) of the congregation. I am asking The Good Shepherd to lead us all to a future that is filled with hope for all people.