February 28, 2019
In a special conference of the United Methodist Church this week, their governing body, voted to retain the language in their Book of Discipline that excludes members of the LGBTQIA community from leadership in the church. Conversation about including these siblings in the life of their church has been on going and painful struggle. We have a number of members of ERUCC who have come from Methodist congregations because they want to be a part of a church that practices the inclusion they see, and we see, in the life of Jesus Christ.
We can expect to have more visitors over the next few weeks as our Methodist friends seek healing, hope, and light for the journey. They will be warmly welcomed to ERUCC. I encourage you to be present and understanding for their struggle and to be aware that in some way, they are refugees. They don’t necessarily want to leave their home church where they have been baptized, confirmed, married and shared life experiences. Yet, their hearts are broken as they come to worship Jesus and know that members of their families are not welcome. So, they leave in search of a community that will welcome them and everyone they know and love.
I thank you, ERUCC, for welcoming all who come through our doors and offering the space for rest and healing.
Below is a letter to the United Methodist Church from United Church of Christ leadership:
"We hold in prayer the entire Body of Christ around the world."
An Open Letter to the United Methodist Church
The United Church of Christ, an Open and Affirming Communion of the Body of Christ, practices a belief in both a still-speaking God and an extravagant welcome. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, through the faithful renderings of our sacred texts, and standing in a long line of reformers who have come before us we proclaim with great fervor that no matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome.
We hold in prayer those whose past wounds have been reopened by the recent debates of the governing body gathered in St. Louis. The Body of Christ has, throughout its long history, not always been kind and loving to those who live outside its established norms and conformities. We confess to our own history and complicity with racism, misogyny, transphobia, and homophobia. Our hope is that we can and will continue to struggle with our closed hearts and minds as we seek to live more fully into the vision of God’s shalom for all.
We hold in prayer the entire Body of Christ around the world. It is living through a time of division and separation as it struggles to wrestle with what have become irreconcilable differences. There are countless wounded on all sides of these divisions, and as a uniting communion called to find the common ground in support of a hoped for vision of unity within diversity we suffer alongside our United Methodist kindred who today feel the deep pain of a new brokenness.
Know that we stand ready to serve all who are in need of healing and all who seek simply to know the power of the risen Christ fully articulated in the expression of a love that knows no bounds.
We understand that it is with great sadness and a good deal of grief that many will have been left to feel unwelcome in a spiritual home that gave you hope, sustenance, and nurturance. Many of us have felt the sting of that same rejection – and know full well the grief that attaches to it.
We hold the entire United Methodist Church in prayer as it seeks to heal and to express its faith in light of their understandings of scripture and the gospel.
In solidarity with all who call on Jesus, we remain humbly servants of the gospel in search of a more full articulation of love,
The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer
General Minister and President
The Rev. Traci Blackmon
Associate General Minister of Justice and Local Church Ministries
The Rev. James Moos
Associate General Minister of Global Engagement and Operations
Open and Affirming Coalition of United Church of Christ