Dear Glen Mar friends,
There is so much to celebrate as a new year begins! I'm grateful to say that we received $28,000 for our Christmas Eve offering and will be giving away half of that, with thousand-dollar grants given to each school on our list, and a grant to our college and career prep program. The remainder will go to MLK Day of Service expenses. Mark your calendars for a Day to Make a Difference...Jan. 20!
Also, many of you may have seen The United Methodist Church in the news this week, because a group of 16 persons, representing a broad range of theological views within The Methodist Church, arrived at a mediated proposal for addressing our denomination's differences around human sexuality. They have done this work in service to the delegates who will go to our General Conference in May. This is not a "decision to split" as a denomination. It is not "binding." News reports have been misleading on this point. It is a proposal, which will join others, to be considered at General Conference. Only General Conference can actually vote on legislation and make decisions like this for The UMC. This is somewhat analogous to "committee work" on proposals that are being prepared to go before Congress. There is nothing for Glen Mar to do or to decide about it now.
It made the papers, and I'm sharing about it, for a few reasons: 1. Our Bishop, LaTrelle Miller Easterling, was a part of this mediated proposal and shared it with our conference churches. 2. The people around the table reached agreement on a path forward, despite the fact that they represent very traditional and very progressive "wings" of The UMC - important and very different voices within our larger 12 million member global church. For them to come to agreement is significant, it seems to me, and may mean that there is hope at General Conference for us to move past the impasse where our church finds itself. 3. It creates a way for people to minister in their contexts according to their conscience around this issue. We all want to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, faithful to the scriptures, faithful to our Methodist traditions, and faithful to our commitments to welcome all people into the full life and ministry of the church, inviting all people into a relationship with Jesus.
Rather than summarize the plan itself, here is a link to it, along with our Bishop's introductory comments. If you go on the link, there is also an FAQ that might be helpful to you.
Also, on Monday at 9:30 am, there will be a live-streamed panel discussion about this proposal. Here is a link to that as well - and a way to submit questions.
There will be no action required on Glen Mar's part for some time, or even at all, so I encourage you to continue to "do what we do" - praising God, growing disciples and serving the world - and "be who we are" - a place where all are welcome and all are loved.
See you in Church this weekend, where we will go "down the river to pray,"