As the church continues to move forward, the Western Jurisdiction leadership has met and issued a statement of faith in response to the decisions made at the Special General Session last February. Here is what they said.
A Statement by the Western Jurisdiction Leadership Team
Trusting in the Author of Life
who understands the blessings of diversity we fail to comprehend,
Inspired by the nonconforming Christ
who teaches us to defy oppression in all its forms, and,
Guided by the Holy Spirit
who continually leads us by grace into abundant life,
We, laity and clergy, of the Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church,
as one body, deeply saddened and greatly harmed
by the rending actions of the 2019 General Conference,
Reaffirm our commitment to a radically hospitable church in two converging ways.
As United Methodists, we must resist injustice and insist that the Church repent of the exclusionary principles of the Traditional Plan.
We remain committed to the connectional ministry of The United Methodist Church and to working for an open and inclusive Church for all God’s people. We understand that the unity God intends for us binds us not by uniformity, but by love, for God is love. Ever obedient to Christ’s commandment to such radical love and extravagant hospitality, we cannot comply with the actions of the 2019 General Conference.
Instead, we will celebrate the fullness of God’s creation in all its differences. In this moment we especially celebrate the lay and clergy leadership of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual children of God. And we will maintain the rights for our clergy and local churches to serve all people, which includes honoring the covenant of marriage for couples of all identities and orientations.
Grounded in our Wesleyan heritage, we will foster a new movement to gather the energy of inclusive United Methodists throughout our global connection.
God calls us to recognize that a “new thing” is being born—a new expression of what it means for the Church to be truly inclusive. As we continue to search for ways to serve with integrity within The United Methodist Church, we offer our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service and our witness to the emerging movement, seeking to join others in realizing the full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ persons today.
As we begin to develop this new thing, we divest from institutional patterns that perpetuate racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, and other structural sins. We remember that injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere, and seek to deepen our understanding of the intersections of suffering and hope. We strive to center voices from the margins in this new thing that God is doing. We will carefully follow more leaders who are people of color, young people, and our LGBTQIA+ siblings as we pursue God’s “way in the wilderness” (Isaiah 43:19).
I’m also including the ad that appeared in the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Tribune yesterday that represents the position our Bishop Hagiya and the Cabinet adopted.
At the heart of our own statement of belief, which is symbolized by our being a Reconciling Congregation, is that all people are welcomed into our church. We strive to practice openness—openness of our hearts, minds and doors—to all people. And we live that out by affirming the dignity and worth of each and every person. Every one of you matters.
Scripture is clear: You matter to God.
Worship reminder, we are going to make a change in our worship time beginning in April. Worship will begin at 9 a.m. beginning April 7th.
The reasons for this are twofold. First, it’s getting warmer and an earlier worship time lets us stay a little cooler. Secondly, the Vineyard congregation will begin using our sanctuary in April and their worship time is 11:15 so the change accommodates both congregations when it comes to parking, etc.
Another change we are making is office hours. The church office will be open from 9-noon Monday through Thursday. That allows Cristy to take a lunch break before she continues work in the afternoon.
For Healing: For Caroline Stinson. For Pastor Ron. For Bertha Morris. For Gil Perez who fell and broke two ribs and fractured his skull.
Travel mercies for Mary Ann Kline’s grandson.
Celebrating the 100th Birthday of Jean Brock.
For those in need: The poor and the hungry. Victims of violence. Migrants seeking asylum.
For First Responders, for Teachers, for Public Servants.
For our church family.
We praise your name, O Lord.
See you Sunday!
Grace and Peace, Ron
Rev. Dr. Ron P. Griffen
First United Methodist Church, El Centro
Facebook: First United Methodist Church El Centro
"You are the light of the world. You are the salt of the earth."
--Jesus of Nazereth