Western Jurisdiction, November 8 – The statement of the five Bishops of the Western Jurisdiction (“Safe Harbor Declaration”) released earlier this week is in accord with the values of our Jurisdiction and reflects our General and Jurisdictional Conference delegations’ commitment to creating a church which truly welcomes all.
To that end, a group of elected members of the Western Jurisdiction General and Jurisdictional delegations proposes for consideration by the 2020 General Conference, 27 legislative changes to the Book of Discipline which share our practices of inclusion to better equip the full church to say “All Belong.” Proposed legislation and petitions for changes to the Book of Discipline were submitted on September 18, 2019.
These provisions would remove barriers and support greater inclusion of diversity in our United Methodist Church. Implementing these changes will restore Wesleyan accountability, open the church to the movement of the Holy Spirit, restore the church’s ability to fund ministry to which it is called, and equip the church for the work for full inclusion.
Some of the petitions focus on reversing the Traditional Plan changes to accountability processes. Accountability in the Wesleyan tradition is face to face, with bands and classes. Allowing a distant complainant the ability to force a trial from conferences away is not Wesleyan not appropriate. Reversing the Traditional Plan stops these abuses of accountability until the UMC becomes fully inclusive of LGBTQ+ people.
The members of “All Belong” have seen the Holy Spirit at work in our diverse congregations and communities and cannot faithfully exclude our LGBTQ+ siblings from participation in any or all levels of the church. In 1 Corinthians 12:21, Paul writes: “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’, nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’” The UMC’s exclusion of LGBTQ+ siblings from full participation in the life of our church prevents us from living out our calling to be the Body of Christ. “All Belong,” commits ourselves to the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons, and recommits ourselves to full inclusion across our ethnicities, races, abilities, genders and economic circumstances.
To read the proposed legislation changes:
To read the full text of the “All Belong” statement and to join us in speaking up for a fully inclusive church by signing the statement, visit: https://forms.gle/95bh6Tf9381arWBX9
To find ways to connect to the movement: