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  • Pastor Wes Cain

01/07/2020



Dear Wimberley UMC family, On Friday January 3, the United Methodist Church released a statement profound enough that major news outlets quickly picked it up. This press release, originating from a broad group of United Methodist leaders, offered up a new proposal that would lead to a separation over the issue of human sexuality. The Washington Post , New York TimesChristianity TodayCNN, and many others reported on the details agreed upon in the Protocol of Reconciliation Grace Through Separation. As with any news these days, some of the headlines and reporting may mischaracterize the proposed plan. News outlets and Bishop's statements also don't reveal how the potential separation may impact our local churches. We want to share a few clarifying statements and give clarity on how this potential separation could impact Wimberley UMC. First, here is a simple synopsis of what this agreement means. We encourage you to read the actual protocol in the above link and ask us any questions you might have. We are by no means experts in this, but will do our best to clarify as much of this as possible. This plan is not a final decision. It is a plan being submitted to the General Conference of the United Methodist Church for deliberation in May 2020. There are some agreed upon principles within it, but keep in mind - only the General Conference can make decisions affecting the United Methodist Church. This plan will allow the formation of a new traditionalist Methodist denomination that would disallow same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT persons. That new denomination would be formed by the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) and would follow their newly proposed Book of Doctrines and Discipline for a New Methodist Church. This plan would allow for the continuation of the United Methodist Church. The UMC would remain intact with our Book of Discipline. The only difference is that the restrictive language disallowing same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT persons will be removed. Each pastor, local church, and annual conference would decide whether they would do same-sex weddings or ordain LGBT clergy. This plan allows churches, annual conferences, and central conferences to choose if they want to remain in the United Methodist Church or leave to join the new, traditionalist Methodist denomination. All churches would keep their properties and assets. Finally, the plan calls for an immediate moratorium on all charges/complaints addressing restrictions in the Book of Discipline related to self-avowed practicing homosexuals or same-sex weddings. While someone could still file charges, the agreement calls to hold the complaints in abeyance until the agreed upon separation is finalized. This will allow churches and pastors to begin living into ministry as they feel called. How Does All This Affect Us at Wimberley? We love Wimberley UMC. We are a theologically- and politically-diverse community of faith that loves Jesus. We strive to impact the world for Christ in many different ways. We are made up of multiple worship communities who each live out Christ's love in contextually relevant ways. We each seek to embody God's grace as we receive it to all who need it! At Wimberley UMC, we don't agree on everything. But we do agree on the essentials of the faith - the orthodox tenets of Christianity which we find in scripture, reflected in the Christian creeds (Apostle's, Nicene), taught in John Wesley’s sermons and notes on the Old and New Testaments, reflected in The General Rules of the Methodist Church and in our Articles of Religion. The church must be open to all. No one should be told they do not belong at the table with Jesus Christ. The issues of same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT persons will continue to be debated in the United Methodist Church. There will be a lot of theological diversity within the UMC going forward, as there has been in the past. You can be a part of a family with different views—every holiday gathering of extended family proves this! We don't agree on everything, but we love each other and we would never break fellowship over our disagreements. There are many resources that address the different views Christians have on same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT persons. We will be working with our Congregational Connections Team about how we can use them to continue a dialogue within our local church, and will offering invitations to you for constructive conversation so that we can be as prepared as possible for the future of United Methodism and of Wimberley UMC specifically. The first one is coming up next week. On Monday, January 13, at 8:30 a.m., the UM News will be conducting a live-stream interview of the members of the mediation team that wrote this proposal. We invite everyone to watch this interview, either live or recorded, and them join us for the following Wimberley Wednesday programing where Susan will lead a discussion on the Q&A. We will have paper and pens on hand for you to write down your own questions regarding the proposal so that we can engage in discussion together.  Feel free to join us for dinner at 5 p.m., and our discussion will begin during the Bible Study time at 5:45. As we move forward as a church, we encourage you to remember the following: • We must be willing to have hard and constructive conversations. We are a part of a denomination that was founded on the idea that faith engages heart, mind, and soul.Wimberley UMC should continue to be a church made up of people with differing beliefs on many issues, including homosexuality.Our missional focus will not changewe will continue to be a church focused on inviting, making, and nurturing disciples of Jesus Christ in a community of love and encouragement. Please be in prayer for our church and all our members. We are praying for peace, understanding, love, and kindness. We are also praying for calm in the midst of storms. May God’s grace surround us and strengthen us in the days ahead. Susan Agee, Church Council Chair Wes Cain, Senior Pastor

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