Love Prevails members Rev. Will Green and Laura Ralston share their thoughts headed into the final day of the United Methodist Church General Conference. These were originally posted on Facebook.
Rev. Will Green: On my way to the last day of the 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church. All that remains to be seen is whether or not the right-wing will be able to bring forward the legislation that begins to undo the trust clause. But it seems that the Bishops will simply not allow that happen since the presiding officer has total discretion to control the floor. Regardless, the denominational schism will continue. And soon the United Methodist Church will be left with nothing but theology it does not believe, debt it cannot afford and a need for forgiveness it has been too proud to ask for. We are being lead by two generations of leadership who have been trained to lie about who they are and what they actually believe. Our greatest skill is our willingness to fight with ourselves, which is why the only new idea that is coming out of these two weeks is the possibility of having more frequent General Conferences. It is going to be sad to see this day end, as I’m sure it will, with another resolution supporting “unity”.
Laura Ralston: This morning on my last run along the Willamette River I thought through some of my uneasy feelings about the last 10 days. For me today, I am specifically thinking about the lists that have floated around. The queer UM clergy list, followed by a queer clergy list of support from other denominations. That was followed by a list of UM clergy allies, followed by a list of lay people who also call the church to be inclusive.
I am not on any of those lists. I don’t have the privilege of clergy orders, I am seminary educated and not ordained. I don’t really feel like a lay person, even though I am. I made the decision to not pursue ordination because I wasn’t sure I could do that without going back in the closet and goodness knows I have spent enough time there. That would ruin my marriage and lead me down a path I do not believe I could recover from or live with.
Tomorrow I head home, back to my life in Denver with Erin. Working with friends to imagine a new faith community in Denver. Walking alongside people as they discern their next steps in their call to ministry.
I do not throw my hands in the air because my name is not on one of those lists. Instead, I will continue to work for justice in the United Methodist Church to remove the discriminatory language against LGBTQI people in the Book of Discipline.
If you have been called and are in pastoral ministry within the walls of the church or beyond them, sheparding and caring for the flock, you are clergy. Whether you have spent years jumping through denominational hoops and committees or been educated and answered Gods call outside the denomination through alternative theological training, you are clergy. Your vote may not count much in attempting to break through the wall of conservative UMC prejudice but God calls us… and it is up to us to bring healing, unity, inclusivity and diversity to His church even if we have to climb over that will or go around it to get there. What we cannot do, is wait to see if those controlling access to the door will unlock it so we can pass. It is for us to lead By taking a new way to new life… > Rev K