As you know, we will be holding a Special Called General Conference February 23 – 26 in St. Louis to find a way forward from the quagmire of the past decades regarding the sexual orientation and the United Methodist Church. We are not the first denomination to tackle these issues and won’t be the last. Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Lutherans have already made their decisions, had some rough times, and seem to be coming out on the other side. We know this is survivable, but we want it to be more. We are striving to find the best witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ in our decision. We want to maintain the diversity that has characterized this church. We want to face a difficult situation that we have danced around and set a course to the future.
Last year had a special newsletter with information about the commission, the plans and the upcoming conference. I gave a presentation on these things during the Sunday School hour, and heard that a number of you wanted to hear more, ask questions, and talk. So, we will have opportunities for discussion on January 24th and 31st with sessions at 10:30 am and 7:00 pm.
There are a couple of things that I have in mind to share with the hope that we can ask questions and share our thoughts. You may have questions about the different plans and what they mean for us here at NFUMC. We will cover this as needed.
You may want to talk about how to come to your own personal understanding of the issue, and if that is the case, I want to share the traditional Wesleyan approach that we call the quadrilateral. As mentioned during the Sunday School presentation, John Wesley never used the term quadrilateral. Albert Outler, a Weslyan scholar, coined the term as a short-hand for the method Wesley advocated. Basically, this approach affirms that scripture is paramount; and that we use three lenses to understand and apply scripture: tradition, reason and experience. I will attempt to bring tools from these three lenses so that you can use them in your thinking and praying about these issues.
I also have a sermon that Rev. Bert Gary preached to his Owl Rock UMC congregation. Our DS, Rev. Susan Landry, shared this with the district. Bert is Susan’s brother and an author of “Jesus Unplugged.” It contains some really good information that I thought you would appreciate. Just click here to read.