February 27, 2019
The Wednesday after the Seventh Sunday after The Epiphany
An Update, an AFFIRMATION, a Commitment, & a Call to Action
On Sunday, February 17 we called a Town Hall meeting so that you could learn about a United Methodist Church denomination-wide Conference that was set for February 23-26 in St. Louis. Global delegates gathered to consider changing two policies for the entire denomination: ordination & marriage of LGBTQIA+ persons. We brought you the most up-to-date information about the proposals that were to be considered at the Conference. We also discussed what implications this might have for us in light of our commitment to being an affirming community of faith.
In our Town Hall meeting I shared this with you:
“I do not know which plan, if any, will pass. What I can tell you is that no matter which plan passes, I will remain committed to leading Holy Family to be a community that extends the Church’s rites to all of our members. Holy Family has been a leader at the local level of demonstrating that the future God has for us is one where all of our members are given the same access to the Church’s rites, and this commitment will remain. We are still “planting” this church. We need to keep growing in faith and number. After the St. Louis meeting we will discern how we will respond to their decision.”
I write to tell you that I now know what plan was passed. The General Conference of the UMC voted to approve the “Traditional Plan”. The vote was 438-384. This plan enhances accountability procedures and penalties for clergy who extend marriage and ordination rites to LGBTQIA+ persons. At this moment we are still waiting to learn which parts of this approved plan will pass a Judicial Council review - which means we do not know much about the implementation of this plan. But, as I made clear in our Town Hall meeting, this is not the result that I wanted.
To the queer people of Holy Family: God sees you. God loves you. God is with you. Same goes for me and the rest of Holy Family. We see you, love you, and are with you.
To the queer people of Holy Family: You are not a burden. You are a blessing.
To the queer people of Holy Family: You are evidence of God’s creativity.
To the queer people of Holy Family: You are in Christ.
To the queer people of Holy Family: You belong at Holy Family and we will do the work we need to do to make our commitment to you clear.
My commitment has not changed. I am committed to leading Holy Family to be a community that extends the Church’s rites to all of our members. This means that we will enter into a time of discernment about how we will respond to this decision from our denominational affiliates so that we can move forward. (It is not lost on me that we are about to enter Lent.) The Senior Pastor at Chapelwood wanted me to make sure you know that we are loved by them too.
If you haven’t listened yet, here’s the Holy Family podcast episode where I give theological reasons for our church affirming and celebrating LGBTQIA+ persons. You can listen here: https://holyfamilypodcast.simplecast.fm/3cba1a90
4: CALL TO ACTION
Show up this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. to worship the Living God.
I want us all there. Rain or shine.
This is the time that we show up.
This is the time that we worship the Living God.
This is the time that we prove to our LGBTQIA+ sisters, brothers, and siblings that we mean it when we say, “We are with you. This is your local community of faith.”
This is the time that we look at the beauty of our local community of faith and we will recommit ourselves to growing this community of faith so we can keep being a church for people without a church.
Patiently & Prayerfully Discern.
Sam Wells says that God has given us all the time that we need. We serve a God of abundance and not scarcity. So we will patiently discern how our local worship community-Holy Family-will respond to the actions of the institutional conference in light of our commitment to being an affirming community of faith.
I will ask the small group of leaders (core team/vestry) who helped start this church to join me in a time of discernment. I certainly welcome your input to this discernment process.
I know you believe in a Living God. I know you believe in this local community of faith. Let’s come together-let’s lean in and not lean away-right now-so that we can craft a real way forward for each other.
I’ll see you Sunday.
It’s my honor to be your Pastor.
The Rev. Jacob Breeze
Holy Family HTX