Order of Worship Announcements
Over the last month, the United Methodist Church has been at the center of the national conversation on the issue of homosexuality. Since the early 1970’s, the United Methodist Book of Discipline has stated that “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” But a growing number of United Methodists, including me, believe that such language is not only hurtful and discriminatory, but contradicts the words and deeds of Jesus Christ, who taught that all persons are of sacred worth and welcomed into the embrace of God’s grace.
In December 2013, the Rev. Frank Schaefer, an ordained Elder in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church, was brought to church trial for presiding at the wedding ceremony of his gay son in 2007 — a violation of the Book of Discipline’s policy prohibiting clergy from performing or blessing same-sex unions. Rev. Schaefer was convicted by a jury of his peers and subsequently defrocked. In recent weeks, our Bishop, Minerva Carcaňo, has invited Rev. Schaefer to join our conference and serve in active ministry. Bishop Carcaňo’s compassionate invitation has sparked a conference-wide conversation about the growing conflict between our denominational policy and our Wesleyan understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This Sunday, I will be addressing this issue from the pulpit and I trust that you will want to be present for this important conversation. As a follow-up to my sermon, I have set aside Wednesday evening, January 15, for a time of dialogue and discernment. This “Conversation with the Pastors” will take place in Founders Hall @ 6:30 pm, and all are invited to gather in a spirit of love and mutual respect as we listen and share with one another.
This Sunday, we will also join with one another in our annual “Renewal of Baptism” ritual — an appropriate symbol and reminder that we are all brothers and sisters in the family of God, saved by grace, welcomed in love, united in the Spirit.
See you Sunday,