As I type this response to the Bishops delay in the formation of the committee for their Way Forward. I am sitting in a plane flying home from the United Methodist Global Clergywomen Gathering. A 3-day event celebrating the women of faith, in this, my denomination. I was celebrated as a newly certified candidate for elder.

I was reminded of many things at this event. Namely, we are all looking for the same thing; to make the world a place of love and acceptance.

To transform people into disciples of Jesus. I was reminded that my Black, Filipina, and other minority sisters face even more obstacles than I do as a White woman. I was reminded that in some countries our faith still struggles with the inclusion of women as elders.

So, I take this delay with frustration. But there is also stronger understanding of the need for patience. I met women, bishops included, who are from areas where the LGBTQ+ issue is a completely foreign concept. So while the frustration is there, I find a sense of patience. This issue is a US issue, in a Global Church. The Bishops, these women, I spent my days with,  these people, are not out to hunt down and destroy. They seek to learn and understand. That is what the committee is about.

That said, in the U.S. I still don’t understand the need for anyone to fear a loving relationship between two consenting adults. That’s what this issue is about. It is fearing the unknown, fearing the not understood. Fearing the differences in humanity. My prayer is that our US contingency will be mindful, prayer-filled, and compassionate in not letting fear lead them.

I have K, my beautiful child. I cannot, will not tell him he is an abomination of God’s plan because of his gender identity. That is not God’s love. We are called to love as God loved. God sent Jesus to show us how. In doing so, He, Jesus, flipped tables, ate with outcasts, and befriended prostitutes. So I can not accept the concept of exclusion.

I take solace in the charges against Rev.Blaedel having been dismissed. I feel confident having heard Bishop Oliveto speak. (I know why she was elected. Her words of inspiration filled my heart with hope.)

My heart continues to hold hope that our love for the teachings of Jesus, and our desire to live in a Christ-like way will be interpreted by this committee in a way that will allow ALL persons full connection to the Church I love.

Yes I am frustrated. Yes I do hear the sounds of the can being kicked along down the road. This time, I’m choosing patience. I’m choosing to believe that change is coming and that our CoB is actually working hard to make sure the committee is well-rounded and open to hearing, not just listening to, but hearing the words of the excluded, the scared, and the outcast.

 

Jen Weyenberg

Jen is a mother of 4, remarried, advocate for mental health awareness and LGBTQIA inclusion. She is studying at Claremont School of Theology, and is a certified candidate for ordination as Elder in the Cal-Pac Conference South District of The UMC.

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