Dear FirstChurch:

I have been supported, inspired and energized by your comments, thoughts and opinions over these past few days as we’ve all processed the outcome of the 2019 Called General Conference. Admittedly, I did not know what to expect walking into Monday night’s all-church meeting, but what I saw was a church thankful to sit together in community during this time, and eager to work to ensure that the future of this church, and our denomination, is led by God’s Love.

For those who were unable to attend, please click the video file below to see the recording.

I want to reiterate that although we are not in alignment with the denomination on last Tuesday’s vote, FirstChurch has no plans to leave the United Methodist Church. Instead, we will be on the leading edge of determining what this new chapter in the life of the church will look like. This is the time to lean into the new thing God is doing. We will be in conversations in the coming days and weeks that will guide our work in organizing for General Conference 2020 and in taking a leading role in what comes next for the church. As those conversations manifest into concrete actions, we will share a more detailed plan.

In the meantime, here’s how you can take action now based on the points from Monday’s meeting:

Be vocal and active. We must advocate for all who are still experiencing second class status. We must deepen our presence in places of pain and suffering.
Immediate action: Attend the 5 th Sunday Mission event at 9:45 a.m. March 31. We will hear from Josh Cogan, President and CEO of Outlast Youth, on how we can help serve area homeless LGBTQ youth.

Be collaborative. We will work together with other churches and organizations. We will serve as a voice for justice within the institutional church.
Immediate action: At 9 a.m. March 24 in G05, come and learn how you can get involved with our Church & Society group, and contribute to the efforts currently underway to address public education, social transformation and mental health.

Be a leader: We must show ourselves as leaders by each committing to increased engagement in worship, education and mission work.
Immediate action: Sign up for our Lenten study , and take advantage of this time for self-examination and reflection. Committing to spiritual discipline at this time is the perfect preparation for the type of leadership we are being called to as FirstChurch.

I am encouraged by your energy, passion and dedication to this church, and to your commitment as Methodists to be living examples of God’s presence and grace in the world. Please reach out to me or any of our other clergy staff if you have thoughts or comments to share as we move through this next stage. I am grateful for each of you.

In God’s Love,
Dr. Andy Stoker
1928 Ross Ave
Dallas, TX 75201