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6-7-22 FUMC Updates

Thanks to everyone who attended the Q & A meeting that we had after church yesterday about the human sexuality issues facing the United Methodist Church – your questions were great and I’m so thankful we can talk so openly about what little we really know about what changes our denomination is facing.  Thanks to Ted Haynes who is serving in numerous District and Conference roles to keep us updated on all the information as it changes but let me reiterate … we will not know HOW our book of polity, the BOOK OF DISCIPLINE will change until May 2024 when the General Conference meets again.

Here are the notes from former emails I have sent that I reviewed today.

As you may know, the General Conference normally meets every four years to amend, if necessary, the law, doctrine, administration, organizational work, and procedures as outlined in UMC The Book of Discipline. Since the General Conference was postponed in 2020, then again in 2021 and 2022 and now until 2024 due to the pandemic, we still operate out of our 2016 Book of Discipline. 

For many years there have been conversations in our denomination about the language in our Book of Discipline regarding Human Sexuality that says: “We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God.” The paragraph goes on to say, “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.” ¶161.G This is the language that guides us now and will guide us through 2024 when the General Conference meets again … this not change until then.

However, because this language has been hurtful to some who believe it is incompatible with what Jesus taught, there has been a movement to amend that language to be more inclusive.  Again, though, since no change will be made until 2024, we have no idea what changes may come or what language might change.  But, anticipating that change may come two years from now, some United Methodist churches have chosen to leave our denomination and be part of a new denomination called the Global Methodist Church which launched in May. The Global Methodist Church has already been established as a brand NEW denomination and they have already said that will not ordain LGBT people or allow gay weddings.

On April 23rd our Bishop, Mike McKee invited us all to have a conversation about this topic and I attached those notes again. The Bishop’s opinion about this is clear – he hopes that NO churches will leave – and as of this past week, there are only 12 churches out of our 270 in the  Conference who are CONSIDERING leaving but none that have said they ARE leaving.

Churches that express interest in leaving the United Methodist Church before the decisions are made at the 2024 General Conference will begin a 9-12 month discernment process with a disaffiliation team of 3-4 clergy and laity from the East District.  TED HAYNES WILL BE ONE OF THOSE LAY MEMBERS.

At the Bishop’s meeting, he reminded us that the United Methodist Church has had “lovers’ quarrels” in the past over allowing women in the pulpit, or allowing African Americans to worship in our sanctuaries, but our formidable love for Jesus Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit helped us work through those differences.  His hope is that we can work together, and stay together, out of that very love for Jesus but also, our love for each other in spite of things we don’t always agree on.

Our Church Council believes waiting to see what the 2024 changes will be is more prudent, but we wanted to share this information again, in a Q and A forum as we did today, to see what members of the congregation think.

Here are some updates shared today …

WHAT WILL HAPPEN AT THE NORTH TEXAS CONFERENCE ANNUAL MEETING THIS WEEK? 

No legislation can be passed about the human sexuality issue in the Book of Discipline until 2024 however, the North Texas Board of Trustees will share details about the disaffiliation process.

WILL THE NORTH TEXAS CONFERENCE ENFORCE THE BOOK OF DISCIPLINE?

Yes. There are a handful of pastors or churches who have violated the BOD and the Bishop and Cabinet are upholding the BOD. Violations are brought to their attention are treated as PERSONNEL issues and certain privacy issues apply. 

Let’s be in prayers together as this transition period in the denomination continues. Ted and I are willing to come to talk with your Sunday school group, answer your questions, and/or find answers if we don’t know them.  If we learn more information after Conference, we’ll let you know.
 
I included the link for the news agency of the United Methodist Church in the attachment of my email yesterday, but here it is again … https://www.umnews.org/  UMNews.org of not the PR firm for the church but the NEWS arm of the church – you can sign up for daily news updates or Friday news updates on all sorts of topics, OR you can get the app on your phone:
 
Download from:
 
Ted Haynes and I have enjoyed the beautiful worship services with 3 different Bishops at Annual Conference this week. We’ve also heard about the wonderful work our shared apportionments through the Conference supports … check these out:
 
KIDS INTERESTED IN SUMMER CAMP?  Bridgeport is fully open again and scholarships are available so check it out HERE.
Providence Place (formerly Methodist Children’s Home), San Antonio

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Let’s also be in prayer about supporting our new children’s ministries!  

Contact Heather if you can do something – anything – to help! (See her attached email here.)
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FLC REGULAR WEDNESDAY NIGHT MEALS WILL RESUME JULY 6th ... there will be no meals the rest of June with the exception of those coming to the PART 2 VISION meeting this Wednesday night, June 8th, at 6 PM in Wesley Hall.  We’ll order pizza and get to work brainstorming our vision statement.

Thursday, June 9th, 6 pm, JR/HIGH SCHOOL KIDS … meet Pastor Debbie at the Barrell House for dinner & let’s catch up!

Friday, June 10th, 6 pm, “OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL” KIDS … meet Pastor Debbie at the Barrell House for dinner, and let’s catch up

Saturday, June 11th …10 am, United Methodist Women Quiet Day at Pat St. Miklossy’s home.  Contact Pat for details. 903-850-5131

Sunday, June 12th … 10:30 Kids Connection KICK-OFF in Wesley Hall,  EVERYONE is invited to join us for donut holes and juice boxes as we consecrate our new children’s ministry and pray over the kids BY name!

Wednesday, June 22, 6-8:30, MIDDLE SCHOOL KIDS, pizza, and a movie to inaugurate the kids’ rooms upstairs in the FLC.

We’ll be ending our Living the Spirit Life series next Sunday with an exciting “chariots of fire” look at what it means to be HOMEWARD BOUND!

Pastor Debbie