Saturday, March 2, 2019
Dear Pierce Chapel Family,
This has been a difficult week in the life of our denomination and in the life of every United Methodist congregation. Regardless of how you feel about the outcome of General Conference, we continue to be your pastors and are looking forward to our future ministry together. There are still many things to understand and to be worked out as a result of the decisions made at General Conference. Please take time to watch Bishop Bryan's message below and to read his words to our South Georgia Conference.
With Bishop Bryan, we urge you to do three things:
1. Care for one another -- recognizing that for some in our church, the decision resulted in great relief, and for others, the decision resulted in great pain.
2. Continue to be the Church -- be in worship tomorrow with your brothers and sisters in Christ at Pierce Chapel.
3. Be in prayer for the meeting on March 9 in Tifton (AFTER the Open Door Classic) which will help us understand next steps. Everyone is invited to attend. We will be there and welcome you to join us.
We love each of you deeply and are grateful to be part of a congregation who can love and care for one another in the midst of our differences. We look forward to seeing you in worship tomorrow.
Yours in Christ,
Howard & Lynn
What was the outcome of the 2019 called General Conference Session, and what does this mean for my local church?
A majority of the delegates (438 to 384) approved what it is known as The Traditional Plan. The Traditional Plan keeps the current language around sexuality and increases accountability by streamlining the processes to enforce penalties for violations of The Book of Discipline related to marriage and ordination of LGBTQI persons. The delegates also voted to ask the Judicial Council to review the constitutionality of the approved legislation. We will talk further about the outcomes at our March 9 information meeting.The Traditional Plan is what our local churches have been operating under for many years, and normal operations will continue without interruption.
What are the next steps?
Care for One Another
First, let us take time to care for each other. Since 2016 we have prayed, studied, held district meetings, and taken many other actions to consider the various Way Forward plans that were proposed. After three years, it is understandable that many of us may feel somewhat drained. Some are feeling relieved that it is over and a decision has been made. Others may be a bit confused and need time to reflect on the outcome. And there will be others who were hoping for another of the plans to be approved and therefore are experiencing grief over the outcome. This is the time to move from focusing on plans to truly focusing on people. Whatever you are feeling right now, there is a place for you in the South Georgia Conference. Move toward those around you, let them know you care for them, and give them the opportunity to care for you.
Be the Church
Second, remind those in your congregation to make a conscious effort to be in worship this Sunday and the seven Sundays from March 10 to April 21 (Lent and Easter). Something happens to us when we are together with brothers and sisters in worship, when Jesus is present as he has promised to be, that we can't make happen any other way.
Come Together on March 9
Finally, be present on Saturday, March 9 at the UGA Conference Center in Tifton for an informational gathering of people from all over the South Georgia Conference. This is a meeting for the entire South Georgia Conference. You don't have to be a delegate; it's open to everyone. We will hear from our delegation, and we will learn the specifics of how we will journey together for the 12 weeks leading up to Annual Conference. As we continue to plan for the March 9 information session, we invite you to submit questions you would like to see addressed. We want to get the most out of our time together, and your input will help achieve that goal. Click here to provide input.