General Conference Makes Historic Changes

A letter from Pastor Melanie Carey on the Historic Changes at General Conference

A Letter from Pastor Melanie Carey on General Conference 2024

Dear UUMC,

        I am so pleased to share with you that The General Conference of The United Methodist Church, which is meeting in Charlotte, NC April 23 – May 3, 2024 has adopted a regionalization plan for the church, the revised social principles and various petitions which remove all the harmful language directed at our LGBTQIA+ siblings. It is a new day in the new UMC, thanks be to God.

        Going forward, effective May 4, 2024 there is no longer a ban on ordination for LGBTQIA+ siblings, there are no more punishments for clergy or churches who officiate weddings of queer couples. There is no longer a ban on funding with church dollars, organizations which work with LGBTQIA+ persons.  And the incompatibility language, which was inserted into the social principles in 1972 has been removed. This is a day we have worked and prayed for decades.  And it has finally come!

        For the Regionalization legislation to become church law, it must now be approved by a 2/3 aggregate vote of all the annual conferences across the world. This is because some of the items in this legislation change the constitution of the church and our process to change the constitution requires an affirmative 2/3 vote by General Conference and by all the members of all the annual conferences. So we now pray for the work to pass this legislation in the annual conferences. If regionalization passes than we are free to develop a book of discipline for the US Context, as our siblings across the world in the Central Conferences already have their own books of discipline.  And this should help us to move toward even more inclusive language in the new book of Discipline for our US region.

        What does this mean for us at UUMC? It means that we continue to be who we have been: a truly inclusive church where everyone is welcome to be who they are without fear of retribution from our denomination. It means the freedom to live fully into who God calls us to be. So many of us have been working to change our church and I thank you for all you have done to help us get to this day.

        We will be posting links in the tower news and on social media, for you to read about a full wrap up of decisions made at General Conference.  And please reach out if you have any questions about what you read because our church structure is super complicated. 

        In the meantime,  I share with you this Mending blessing from Jan Richardson, which speaks to the process of repair and resurrection that we are in the midst of with our broken denomination. For while we celebrate this new day, much harm has been done, lives, careers, heart ache beyond measure.  After so may years of heart break, we are finally seeing a new day dawning and the resurrection process of the new thing God is doing in our midst. Mending and healing is now our work.

Pastor Melanie

A Mending Blessing:

O My friend take heart. The work of repair is aching in its slowness and beautiful in the inches by which it will arrive.

Do not pray to be patient, but to persist. Ask for the endurance that helps us to learn to breathe in the midst of fear, to love in the presence of sorrow and to dream within the rending of the world that might be made.

By Jan Richardson

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