A called special session of the General Conference was held in St. Louis, February 23-26, 2019. The purpose of the special session was for the United Methodist Church to move forward on three major questions concerning human sexuality: incompatibility language in social principles outlined in the Book of Discipline; same-gender marriage; and, ordination of "self-avowed practicing" persons who are LGBTQ+.
Reports from General Conference and the vote in support of the Traditional Plan have made national and international news. Our pastors, staff, and congregation are spending time in prayer, reflection, and conversation.
On Sunday, March 3, at 4:00 pm, a debrief session about the General Conference was offered in the sanctuary. This was attended by 135 individuals. Pastor Chris McLain shared information from a presentation made by the Richmond District Superintendent Peter Moon to Richmond District clergy on Friday, March 1. She also answered questions of clarification about this information to the best of her ability.
Following the information session, those present were invited to offer their thoughts, for about two minutes each. A time of reflective silence followed each speaker's statements. The reactions of our members to the actions and decisions of General Conference are as varied as we are, ranging from quiet gratitude to hurt and anger. Pastor Beanie Kelly closed the session in prayer.
Let us be gentle with one another and understand that we are in this together. We have so much to learn from each other. We have a responsibility to Christ to make a safe space for each person as we journey through this season together. Even now, God draws us closer.
"Restore unto us the joy of your salvation, God, and renew a right spirit within us." Psalm 51: 12
Here are some resources that might be useful to you.
- February 27 Letter from SGUMC Pastors
- March 1 Letter from SGUMC Church Council
- Presentation from Richmond District March 1 meeting
- Recording of VAUMC's Bishop Sharma Lewis's State of the Church Address on March 4
- Virginia UM Conference General Conference Site
- UMC Communications feature from Joe Iovino
- UMC.org General Conference Site
In a time when our community could have gotten the message that our church is not in ministry with all people, the Church Council felt called to be clear that the people of Shady Grove United Methodist Church, from conservative to moderate to progressive, are called to joyfully serve together as Christ to our entire Short Pump community and beyond.