To the Community of Christ Church,
In 1972, the newly formed United Methodist Church set parameters in its Book of Discipline for ministry related to, with, and by homosexual persons. From that time forward, our denomination has struggled with these parameters.
In 2016, the General Conference took a major step toward trying to resolve this issue by approving the formation of a task force called the Commission on a Way Forward, to be appointed by the Council of Bishops and to make recommendations to them for a way to resolve this issue. The Commission was charged with finding a way forward that acknowledges our different theological understandings of human sexuality, maximizes our witness in the world, all while maintaining as much unity as possible.
This February 23 – 26, a special called General Conference will be held in St. Louis to consider legislation growing out of the Commission on the Way Forward. Three plans will be presented from the Commission: Modified Traditional Plan, One Church Plan, Connectional Conference Plan. Overview of Plans: click here
As your appointed pastor, I want you to know my full support rests in the “Modified Traditionalist Plan”. It continues to affirm that all persons are of sacred worth, yet states that the practice of homosexuality is contrary to the consistent teachings of Holy Scripture. In this plan, marriage would remain singularly defined between a man and woman.
Many people are asking, “What is going to happen at General Conference?” The uncomfortable truth is no one knows. While we do not know what will occur, we know change is coming. I do believe it is important for us as a congregation to stay calm, stay connected, and stay the course. In just our short time together, the Steffens want each of you to know how special you have become to us as a church family. We look forward to serving alongside you in ministry, even as the United Methodist denomination faces possible transition in the future.
As General Conference convenes this week, let us have an attitude of prayer and with the confidence that whatever happens, God is still on His throne, Christ is still building His Church, and He is not finished with us! Get Ready!
With you in ministry,