PASTOR’S RESPONSE TO RECENT GENERAL CONFERENCE DECISIONS
After our May 1st church-wide discussion on the direction of the UMC regarding human sexuality, we promised education and awareness opportunities to support us on our journey. You asked for more knowledge of biblical interpretation of scripture as well as more information about the ‘alphabet soup’ of LGBTQ. Finally, you asked for ways to learn more about the current thinking around how the greater UMC might respond to our current discord. Below are several opportunities to learn and grow. We will host two events at SUM. All other resources are intended to supplement the events.
Wesley, Methodism & Theological Discernment
• Event - Pastor Panel: How We Came To Our Understanding.
When: Sunday June 23 from 11AM-1PM and Monday evening June 24 from 7-9PM Where: SUM Sanctuary
Lunch will be offered Sunday. Childcare is available.
Overview: Hear the stories of how these three Methodist leaders came to their understanding around the inclusion of LGBTQ siblings in full participation of the church. Each person will describe his journey of discernment and how each has used scripture, tradition, experience and reason to come to his conclusions. Time is planned for Q&A.
Panelists: Rev. Gene Ott (Lead pastor Simsbury United Methodist, member of the executive committee of the NYAC Board of Ordained Ministry), Rev. Mel Kawakami (retired pastor, member of the executive committee of the NYAC Board of Ordained Ministry), Rev. Dennis Winkleblack (retired pastor, former assistant to the Bishop, former UMC District Superintendent, member of the NYAC Board of Ordained Ministry)
Video - Adam Hamilton: Adam Hamilton held a “townhall” with his church after the February 2019 General Conference. He explains how he came from a view that homosexuality is not compatible with the UMC doctrine to his current understanding of inclusion of LGBTQ siblings in full participation of the church. Approximately 60 minutes.
Article - Adam Hamilton: The Bible Says It, That Settles It This blog article is from Adam Hamilton’s website. It was written prior to the February 2019 General Conference and explains his love of scripture and how he interprets it towards his conclusions of full inclusion.
Adam Hamilton is the senior pastor of the 22,000-member United Methodist Church of the
Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, the largest United Methodist congregation in the world, measured by both weekend attendance and membership. Hamilton has received numerous awards, including two honorary doctorates, the B'nai B'rith award in Social Ethics, the Denman Award in Evangelism, and the Circuit Rider Award for excellence in church leadership. He was named one of the "Ten People to Watch in America's Spiritual Landscape" by Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church by the Foundation for Evangelism. He is the author of numerous books many of which have been used for SUM Adult Spiritual Growth.
• Book - Holy Love, A Biblical Theology for Human Sexuality by Steve Harper
In Holy Love, Steve Harper strives to articulate the truth about the teachings of the Bible and Wesleyan tradition on human sexuality. This very accessible book is intended for church leaders, small groups, and those interested in understanding the Bible’s teaching on this fundamental component of human life, experience and relationships. The book will help church leaders and small groups make the constructive case that biblical, Christian teaching is compatible with faithful, covenantal love and intimacy amidst all sexual orientations.
Article – Our Theological Task Read how the United Methodist Church explains theological discernment.
Article – Wesley’s Quadrilateral Read how the United Methodist Church explains our Wesleyan heritage around interpreting scripture.
Video – Wesley’s Quadrilateral View this humorous and informative 5 minute “Chuck Knows Church” episode produced by the United Methodist Church.
Event - The Basics of Human Sexuality & LGBTQ
When: Sunday June 30 from 11AM-1PM and Monday evening July 1 from 7-9PM Where: SUMSanctuary
Lunch will be offered Sunday. Childcare is available.
Overview: This 90-minute session will help you make sense of the current terminology used to communicate human sexuality and increase your understanding of the most recent scientific and medical findings regarding gender identity and more. Time is planned for Q&A.
Speaker: David Figliuzzi is a diversity consultant and social justice trainer working both independently and with the National Conference for Community and Justice. Most recently, David served as the Chief Diversity Officer at Cigna. He is currently pursuing graduate studies in Divinity at Hartford Seminary where he recently won the annual Preaching Competition. David's home church is the Asylum Hill Congregational Church of Hartford where he serves as Vice Moderator.
Potential UMC Responses
Event - NYAC Annual Conference: June 6-9, 2019 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY. One way to learn more about the direction of the United Methodist Church is to attend Annual Conference. There will be opportunities to worship with laity and clergy from our conference as well as hear from conference staff and the bishop. You do not have to participate for the entire duration. Registration deadline is May 23. If you are interested in attending this year’s conference or would like to explore the idea, please connect with either Pastor Gene or Deb Clifford.
Book – Where Do We Go From Here? In Where Do We Go From Here?: Honest Responses From Twenty-Four United Methodist Leaders, four bishops, several pastors, laypersons, campus ministers, students, general board directors and others share their honest responses to the question, “Where do we go from here?” Voices from the traditional, centrist and progressive viewpoints share their thoughts on where their church is and where it should go from here. Thought-provoking, inspiring and sometimes troubling, this book offers individuals and groups a place to better understand what United Methodist leaders are thinking in this crucial time. Printing was delayed until after the Judicial Council rulings in late April, giving co-authors the opportunity to update their chapters and respond to the decision.