The WJ College of Bishops offers this statement to a church finding itself harmed once again by a General Conference incapable of making space for ALL of God’s children. Together they declare that they are staying in The United Methodist church, remain committed to the full inclusion of LGBTQI siblings today, and will not ask them “to carry the cross of exclusion for the church any longer.”
“God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.”
1 Corinthians 12:24b-25 NRSV
To the LGBTQI people
We acknowledge the harm inflicted during this Special Session of General Conference, especially towards our LGBTQI siblings. Once again, General Conference has turned you into an issue instead of recognizing how essential you are to the body; we have talked about you, rather than with you. You are precious children of God, and you help us all see a fuller glimpse of the face of God.
We have not deserted you. We see you. We stand in solidarity with you.
To United Methodists in our Ministries in the West
Throughout the spring we will hold informational and listening sessions across our conferences to discuss the outcomes of General Conference and the future of ministry in the Western Jurisdiction.
We implore you to take part in these conversations with open minds and prayerful hearts so that the Spirit might guide us all towards whatever comes next.
Our Jurisdictional has often led the United Methodist Church in crossing boundaries of inclusion. It elected the first Asian-American bishop, the first African American woman bishop, the first Hispanic American woman bishop, the first out gay bishop. A bishop in the West was the first to appoint an out gay clergy person. We have helped to lead the Church into border ministries, refugee and immigrant ministries, and ministries that move outside church buildings into communities.
We are committed to full inclusion of all God’s children in the body; we will not cut off a part of the body, nor ask it to carry the cross of exclusion for the church any longer.
Our commitment to diversity is deeply rooted in Scripture, and our Wesleyan tradition. We are committed to be a courageous church in mission and ministry including with our ethnic and marginalized communities. We prioritize this work because Jesus prioritized this work in his life and ministry.
To theological traditionalists
The Western Jurisdiction has grown to understand diversity in its many forms, not as something to be merely tolerated, but as Christ’s gift that enriches our something that enhances our common life as disciples of Jesus Christ. We are committed to “making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3)
We do not want to be separated from you, but rather we would choose to remain in one Church as we continue to strive to become one body in the one Spirit (Ephesians 4:4).
To colleagues across the church, who aren’t sure where they belong
We will continue to be a home for all God’s people, gathered around a table of reconciliation and transformation. We are not going anywhere. We are eager to be in conversation with others across the church who are similarly committed to offering a home for all God’s Children.
We have committed ourselves to working in coalition with others to find a way to live our faith with integrity in the wake of the recent devastating General Conference.
The Leadership of the Western Jurisdiction is set to meet in two weeks. Between now and then, we will continue to pray, listen, and discern where the Spirit is leading.
Visit westernjurisdictionumc.org to join us in the dialogue, the search and the invitation as we continue to move forward to embrace the life abundant God has intended for each of us.