Happy New Year and Greetings Church family and friends,
One of my greatest privileges is serving as your Senior Pastor. It is a position that daily leads me to prayer and study, seeking God’s direction and vision to what is next for Church of the Saviour. As I share often with you, my dear church, as well as colleagues around the connection, I stand in awe of the faithfulness and missional heart of our congregation and the passion this church has for walking as disciples of Christ.
Many of you have seen articles released yesterday with an announcement about a plan of separation that was developed in consultation with a professional mediator and representatives of centrists, conservatives, and progressives in the denomination, led by bishops both from outside and inside the US. This announcement sounded final and immediate, but it is not, allow me to push pause and explain.
In simplest terms, here are the facts you need to know about the proposed plan:
It allows churches that wish to leave the denomination and form a new conservative Methodist denomination to do so freely and provides funds to help them get started.
It keeps intact the existing United Methodist Church for all who wish to remain (please see the links below for further explanation).
This plan must be approved in May at our next General Conference, but at this point leaders from all three segments in the church – left, center and right, have supported the plan.
If passed, the new conservative Methodist denomination that forms in May will retain the current restrictive policies regarding LGBTQ+ persons. It remains to be seen how many churches will leave to join that group – in the United States this might be 10–25% of our churches.
As your current Senior Pastor of Church of the Saviour, I will continue to lead this congregation to be a church committed to guiding people in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. We will remain committed to building a Christian community where all people are invited to be a part of the church, growing in their walk with the Lord.
I share with you the letter received from our Bishop late Friday evening. I also have links to protocol of the proposed plan. I urge all to not react, panic, or make quick judgements based on what is said in the news, Facebook post, or other quick tweets and headlines. As our Bishop stated in his letter, and I agree, the headlines or quick summaries do not always give the clearest view of what actually was proposed, or action being taken. All this is in preparation for General Conference, when the official body comes together to vote. General Conference is the official voice of our denomination.
I continue to prayerfully discern how to lead the church family I have been called to lead. Celebrating Christ birth is a constant reminder that I serve a Wonderful Counselor, a Mighty God, a Prince of Peace, and Everlasting Father...He is Emmanuel – God with us. I stand on this assurance. I know God works in the deep divides and there is power in our brokenness. God is still breathing. God is still working. God makes all things beautiful. Especially in the broken. All from God’s grace.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Is. 43:1
I look forward to seeing you in worship tomorrow. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! Psalm 95:6
In Christian Service and Love,
Pastor Jenn Lucas
Please see links below for more information: