Good morning dear Northaven family.  

The special session of the General Conference held in St. Louis is over.  Heartbreaking is that it voted to embrace the sinful, harmful and unbiblical stance that our LGBTQ sisters and brothers don’t belong in our Christian family.   This is blasphemy .  Truly God was misrepresented, given a crown of thorns, marched to Golgotha and crucified.  But we know that is not the end of the story. The church will rise again and it will begin in places like Northaven where the light is already shining through the chaos.  I do not know what the new creation will look like, but I am more than confident it will emerge in a beautiful rainbow of diversity, just as God intends.

To my LGBTQ siblings:  I am sorry the General Conference of the United Methodist Church could not stand in unequivocal solidarity with you.  With all that I am, I honor you and love you for the beautiful, soulful, brave and God-siblings you are. You not only have a place in the church, you belong to us and we to you.  We are together. No legislation will ever change that.

The facts are these:  The One Church Plan was defeated in committee and then defeated again as a Minority Report in plenary by a small margin, 53% to 46%.  This plan would have allowed for a “local option” in which our church could host same gender weddings without negative consequences. In addition, restrictions on the ordination of LGBTQ clergy would have been lifted.  The Council of Bishops had overwhelmingly voted in favor of The One church Plan after the Commission on the Way Forward completed their work last year. But the Council of Bishops is similar to the executive branch and does not have voice or vote at General Conference.

The Traditional Plan was adopted by General Conference in a vote of 56% to 44%.  This plan tightens restrictions on same sex marriage and ordination of LGBTQ persons.  Our Judicial Council ruled it largely unconstitutional, even as it was passed by the majority of delegates with substantial help from the African church.  I am hopeful it will never be implemented due to its lack of constitutionality.

So what does this mean for us?  In some ways, nothing. Northaven will continue to abide by the Marriage Proposal adopted on June 26, 2016 in which our congregation voted overwhelmingly in favor of permitting all weddings at Northaven.  This continues to defy the Book of Discipline and it is still our policy, which I support and will be honored to uphold. Also, we will continue to be a church that will advocate for full inclusion of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters at every level in our denomination.

In other ways, our global church has been hijacked and that will impact us.  Over the coming days and weeks we will learn more about the options available as we consider our response.  A few things are certain: We will resist “evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves” as in our baptismal vows.  We will love our neighbors, all of them. And we will be light and love to all who need healing and belonging.

I look forward to Sunday’s Information Session at 9:30 am. And I especially look forward to worshipping with you at 11:00 am, re-grounding ourselves in the steadfast love of God through Christ and the assurance of a community who is together.