Good People of West Parish,
On Tuesday there was a historic vote in the United Methodist Church. Their representatives from around the world voted on whether to strike anti-gay language from their church policy.
Unfortunately, the body voted to “strengthen its ban” against gay and lesbian clergy, and against any UMC pastor performing same-sex weddings. The language reads that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”
For many of us following this debate, it has been heartbreaking, devastating and wrenching. Others of us went about our days without even realizing this was happening. But for some of our siblings in Christ, their church home has proclaimed them unworthy.
I cannot begin to imagine the complexities of a global conversation across culture, race and language – and yet, I know that I believe in a God who created us ALL as beloved, precious beings. I believe that being LGBTQ is totally compatible with Christianity! So I wept as I watched footage of the proceedings. I wept as I imagined the unspeakable pain of those hearing: “we don’t want you.”
In the United Church of Christ, and at West Parish in particular, we have done hard work to proclaim a welcome to all people. But that doesn’t mean our work is done. Together, we can continue to strengthen and widen our welcome to everyone, regardless of sexuality, gender identity, ethnicity, immigration status, ability, or anything else!
And it feels significant that this Sunday we will celebrate a baptism, and welcome in seven new members, and then gather at one table for communion – an OPEN table, where all are welcome, no matter what.
So while my heart breaks for the United Methodist Church and my LGBTQ siblings in Christ, I also rejoice in our congregation, that continues to stand as a beacon of hope and belonging. Join us on Sunday as we celebrate our wonderful, welcoming church home!