An eNote from Rodney

Monday April 18, 2016

An eNote from Rodney

Dear Trinity Congregation,

The General Conference of the United Methodist Church is preparing to meet in Portland, Oregon on May 10­20, 2016. General Conference is the top policy­making body of The United Methodist Church which meets once every four years. The conference can revise church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church­wide programs. Attendees at General Conference come from all over the world.

The major issue to be addressed at this General Conference is changing some language in the United Methodist Discipline about homosexuality. The Discipline states that all persons are of sacred worth, in need of the ministry of the church and the spiritual and emotional care the church can provide. The Discipline encourages congregations to be welcoming of everyone and it implores congregations and families not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. The Discipline also affirms that God’s Grace is available to all. In addition, The Discipline says that “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.” It is this last sentence that some representatives at General Conference will want to delete from The United Methodist Discipline. There will be a debate about keeping or deleting this language and a vote will be taken. I want you to have this information because the debate over homosexuality at our General Conference in Portland will make the news.

There is going to be a documentary film shown on Thursday evening at Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company at 675 Merrimon Avenue. The title of the film is “An Act of Love.” It is the story of a United Methodist Pastor who performs a wedding ceremony for his gay son and partner. The gay son is also a United Methodist pastor. The film looks at the trial and disciplinary process the son goes through. The film is produced by a group called “The Reconciling Ministries Network.” It is a group that advocates changing the language in our Discipline that states that homosexual practice is incompatible with Christian teaching. The film is billed as being balanced and showing both sides of the debate. I have not seen it so I cannot say. I do plan to go. The showing is this Thursday, April 21, and it is free. The doors open at 6:30 pm. and the film will show at 7:00 pm. Food and beverage will be on sale as usual.

Over the past 18 months around 50 of our members have read Adam Hamilton’s book “Making Sense of the Bible.” In small groups we have had thoughtful and respectful conversations about interpreting the Bible and about gay and lesbian Christians. I am thankful to you for that. I am thankful that we are a congregation that is welcoming to all. As we go forward and General Conference begins let us remember that what binds Trinity together as a congregation is the resurrected Son, who reconciles us to the Father and empowers us through The Holy Spirit to live lives of Grace together.

Here is my email address if you want to contact me.