by Pastor Gary Weaver and Pastor Anna Layman Knox, Camp Hill United Methodist Church, Camp Hill, PA
Dear Siblings in Christ,
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
Earlier this week the Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church concluded with the passage of a slightly amended version of The Traditional Plan. Several parts of this plan are unconstitutional, according to our United Methodist constitution, and so we await further discernment from the Judicial Council, which will not come for several months, regarding whether or not this plan (or parts of it) will go into effect on January 1, 2020. Within this season of waiting we find ourselves as a Church in deep pain. We want you to hear that we join in the hurt that many are feeling. We call you to be in deep and authentic prayer for and with one another.
We would like to offer a word to all those in our church community that are confused, troubled or hurt. We speak to all in our church family who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community. We are all children of God. You are beloved—people of sacred worth and only together do we form and have the capacity to enrich the body of Christ that we know as the Church. We acknowledge that we are a people of varied opinions, views and beliefs, but we are all heirs of a shared hope found in Jesus Christ. We believe that the best witness we can offer to the world and the community around us is to continue without exception or discrimination to live into what has been and remains our core identity—to live as Ordinary people in the presence of an extraordinary God, learning to love as we have been loved. In this season, our commitment to Christ and our care for one another will be tried and yet we are committed, and we invite you into this ongoing journey, as well, that we will not grow weary of doing good. We hope that you join us in prayer for our larger United Methodist family and our immediate family at Camp Hill United Methodist Church.
As we have in the past and will continue to do for as long as you will allow us to be your pastors, we invite you to worship with us for a vital time of unified worship this Sunday. We will be sharing more reflections on the experience and actions of General Conference. We will reflect on scripture, pray, sing, and ask each other and God for forgiveness for the ways we have intentionally—or inadvertently—caused harm. We will seek God’s heart in the midst of our brokenness, and we pray, experience the life-changing grace of Jesus Christ as we persevere in living out the calling to which we all are called—making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We love you—and pray that we will continue to have the opportunity to perfect the love we show each other in light of the love that God gifts to us.