by Juan Carlos Huertas, Lead Pastor at Grace Community in Shreveport, Louisana
Sisters and Brothers,
After much deliberation and work the delegates at the 2019 Special Session of General Conference have approved the Traditional Plan. I join you in grieving this outcome. As you know we are a people committed to be in ministry with ALL people and this outcome further restricts our ministry with and alongside LGBTQ+ people in the life of the church.
In light of this development, What are we going to do?
- We will worship together this weekend at our regular times.
- We will continue to be a congregation that welcomes ALL people.
- We will grieve together, discern together, and pray together.
- We will give time to gain clarity and will not make rash decisions.
After this long journey, I feel deeply with you and can imagine that we share a similar disappointment. This is not a desired reality for any of us at Grace who feel called to welcome, love, and serve ALL, because that’s what Jesus calls us to. I, too, want to quickly move on, to not look back, and to get beyond this situation. I, too, am ready to be able to pastor ALL people in EVERY way. But I also know that we must let the system go through its checks and balances. We must see what the Judicial Council (our Supreme Court) says, we need to see what General Conference 2020 does in light of this decision. We must also see the movement of the Spirit in us and in our Methodist family.
So we will take a deep breath, we will allow the ground to lay fallow, we will continue to be who we are, proudly, humbly, and with passion. We will gather this weekend and participate in the Listening Session during the Middle Hour and we will invite a friend. We will wait on the Lord in the year ahead and see where we are led as a congregation. Once the 2020 General Conference is over we can discern what we sense the Spirit of God calling us to do. Till then let’s care for one another, love ALL people, and let this city know that we are still the people of no judgement, just grace.