Metropolitan Community Churches Communications Department
Many in various faith communities waited with hope and prayer while the United Methodist Church (UMC) recently gathered in St. Louis, Missouri, for a Special General Conference. With three plans before the 800 global delegates, the Traditional Plan advanced with a lukewarm margin. This plan will bolster restrictions on LGBTQ persons within the UMC.
The news is devastating for the many LGBTQ Christians and their families, friends, and allies.
Following the vote for the Traditional Plan, protesters joined voices for “Blessed Assurance” while religious pundits surmised the future unity of UMC.
Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) has transformed and reformed its identity over the last 50 years and are empathetic with UMC in empowering the will of the people. MCC will hold the United Methodist Church in ardent prayer while its leaders and churches seek to find God’s path as they prepare for the next stage of voting at the 2020 UMC General Conference. The people, churches, and leadership of MCC are grateful for LGBTQ Methodists who continue to work for prophetic transformation within their denomination.
Painful plans and policies which divide churches and families and limits the full inclusion of LGBTQ persons in ministry and in the life of the United Methodist Church are a clear reminder of why MCC’s presence and voice is still needed in communities around the world. Within MCC’s Denominational Mission Statement, we declare: “…We are a global movement of spiritually and sexually diverse people who are fully awake to God’s enduring love.”
God’s love is not defined or limited by a human Plan nor is the LGBTQ community less loved by God based on an institution’s vote.
In this season, we remember the MCC Statement of Faith which includes these words:
“Jesus Christ, You invite all people to Your open table. You make us Your people, a beloved community. You restore the joy of our relationship with God, even in the midst of loneliness, despair, and degradation. We are each unique and we all belong, a priesthood of all believers. Baptized and filled with Your Holy Spirit, You empower us to be Your healing presence in a hurting world.”
Indeed, we are hurting with our Methodist siblings of the Body of Christ. We pray you may find healing, peace, and refuge in knowing God’s love endures. The people and leaders of MCC remain present as a testimony and prophetic voice for all of God’s beloved people.
In Prayer for the United Methodist Church Following the 2019 General Conference
From The Council of Elders, Metropolitan Community Churches
“Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers and sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from Jesus is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.”
I John 4: 20-21
“’Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ Jesus said, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’”
Matthew 22: 36-40
God, we can only imagine your grief. We join the countless thousands who grieve as the church in which they have come to know your love and grace has voted for exclusion over love. Ignoring your call to do no harm, this vote to inflict even more harm on those who seek to welcome and celebrate all of your children is antithetical to your message of wholeness and justice.
As human beings, we know that we fall short of your glory time and time again. And, we also know that you never fail to embrace us, to love us, to call us to be more like you. May we embrace one another in our grief. May we imagine a church, a world, a people who live up to your unending love. May we never fail to speak up when your children, when our siblings, are harmed, threatened, or violated.
Pour your love anew into our hearts. Wrap us tenderly in your embrace. Embolden our witness to your love and grace. Soften the hearts and minds of those do not yet know the harm that they have inflicted. Incline their ears to the cries of your beloved.
When humanity projected hate and thought they had solved the problem of Jesus, your love prevailed. We trust that your love will always prevail because we trust in the power of the resurrection. Help us to make a way for your resurrecting power. Guide us as we strive to bring hope to the despairing, love to the brokenhearted, and comfort to the afflicted.
May it be so in our hearts and in the United Methodist Church. In all of your Holy names and in the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Prayer submitted by Rev. Elder Dr. Candace R. Shultis, who, before coming into MCC, was ordained in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.