Dear FirstChurch,

Since our last meeting May 6, your leadership and staff have been hard at work following through on the action items we shared to make an immediate response to the Judicial Council ruling. (If you were unable to attend, read a meeting recap here . )

Here is a brief update on those actions:

  • Our first immediate action was to form a “Church at the Crossroads” Commission. Eight appointed lay leaders and I will explore possibilities of the Judicial Council ruling, disaffiliation, disobedience and apportionments, review FirstChurch’s wedding policy and governance structure, and discuss how we encourage young people to answer a call to ministry. I am pleased to announce those lay leaders have been chosen, and we will have our initial meeting in June to formulate our plan of action, make "homework" assignments for our next meeting in August, and determine how to communicate our findings as we move forward. I am encouraged by the willingness and enthusiasm of this group, and I look forward to the meaningful work we will do together.

Your commissioners are:
  • In addition, 13 of our youth were asked to serve on an advisory panel to complement our adult commission, and all 13 said YES. Your panel members are: Charlie Johnson; Charlotte Owens; Ava McCavit; Kyler Jones; Grace Winton; Owen Fifer; Alex Stoker; Julia Wilfong; Kay-Lee Tharp; Grant Gilker; Spence Gilker; and Sofia Mares. We had our first youth advisory panel meeting on May 26 (the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend), where we laid a foundation in scripture on the topic of inclusion, and discussed Methodist history and our role in it. I look forward to the insights our youth will bring to the work of our commission.
  • Our next action was to invite people to participate in StoryCorps' latest project. StoryCorps and the National Institute for Civil Discourse are organizing a “One Small Step” conversation with another person of faith who holds different political views. I am pleased that 13 of our members have applied to take part in this important exchange. More to come on that.
  • Our next action was to invite people to hear Bishop Michael McKee speak on May 16 on this issue. Out of the roughly 350 people in attendance at Lovers Lane UMC that night, almost of 50 them were FirstChurch members. We were proud to have that many of our members come to that meeting, and pleased to hear the Bishop speak candidly about these recent decisions and the need to remain welcoming and inclusive.
  • Our next action was to announce our involvement with the Pride Block Party here in the Arts District, and to call for volunteers - FirstChurch stepped up to the challenge. We will have more than 30 volunteers offering hospitality to the LGBTQ+ community and allies for this event June 21. It will be a great evening of fellowship and fun with our neighbors.

As I have said before, I am continually energized by the love you have for this church, as well as our mission to grow disciples, connect communities and serve the world. We have more work to do, but I look forward to what the remainder of 2019 brings.

Together, we are held...

In God's Love,

Dr. Andy Stoker
1928 Ross Ave
Dallas, TX 75201