The recent announcements from the Council of Bishops and the General Commission on the General Conference bring news of justice delayed again. The United Methodist Church must wait until 2022 to properly deliberate the future of the Church and its inclusive nature for LGBTQ people and their allies. Although these are painful decisions that prolong oppression, they were also the only right decisions to make.
As a justice-seeking organization, RMN supports equity of global access and deliberation for such critical legislation that determines the future of our Church. We cannot advocate for a rushed deliberative process that further strains local churches engaged in critical ministries during a pandemic, and we cannot advocate for a process that may exclude any part of our connection due to virtual accessibility.
This moment may be an opportunity to step into a future as a global denomination that addresses and heals from past harms and ensures greater equity among United Methodists around the world. To respond faithfully to this moment, we must hold tight. We are, after all, an institution governed by a Book of Discipline, and the only path to a more equitable form of governance is through the one we have right now.
It is okay to be sad and angry. It has been a long two years since the 2019 special session of the General Conference. We have not only faced the denomination’s decision to further exclude and marginalize LGBTQ people, but we are still in the midst of a pandemic that has only exacerbated the existing inequities of our Church. We are a people in desperate need of hope.
During these two years, hope has come by way of the deepening and widening work of the Reconciling movement. RMN is taking bold steps into our future with a renewed focus on intersectional justice and grassroots organizing. We continue this work alongside our partners in the broader Church, and this changing landscape will influence the denomination moving forward.
RMN supports both the Christmas Covenant and the Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace through Separation. We call for a continued moratorium on charges against LGBTQ United Methodist clergy and clergy who perform same-sex weddings, as is the call of the Protocol. These two pieces of legislation complement each other and will be taken up in 2022 when delegates will have a more equitable opportunity to debate and amend them.
For now, we recommend that Reconciling United Methodists discuss these delays with their congregations and in annual conference delegations. Tell the story of why this delay in justice is the most just decision at this point. Work with your congregations and delegations to focus on what we can do now without General Conference action. Focus on the important and upcoming work of Jurisdictional and Annual Conferences this summer. Now is also a great time to join the Rooted & Rising Team from your annual conference and engage in their work to increase the Reconciling presence in your area. Contact your RMN Organizer to learn more.
And, above all: continue to be the Church. Continue to love one another. Continue to do ministry in your area. Continue to pray and to dream and to be.