Whereas the resolution “Supporting Full Inclusion of LGBTQIA+ Persons and Rejecting the Traditional Plan” was passed on June 14, 2019, by the 2019 Session of the North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church (the last such meeting of this body in an in-person format); and
Whereas the above named and adopted resolution speaks to the removal of discriminatory language from the Book of Discipline which explicitly focuses on LGBTQIA+ persons; and
Whereas in light of the postponement of the 2020 General Conference many Annual Conferences have adopted non-discriminatory resolutions (some as early as 2016) that are guiding their Annual Conferences, which include the Desert Southwest, the New England, Cal-Pac, and Oregon-Idaho Annual Conferences; and
Whereas we recognize that while there is a deep theological divide among the people called United Methodists, we remain convinced that a total and full inclusion of all persons, in every aspect of ministry, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation is a clear reflection of the intention of the Kingdom of God; and
The North Carolina Conference chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action stands with those who seek a more just society in particular when it comes to law enforcement’s relationship with communities of color. From Michael Brown to George Floyd there has been a string of incidents of excessive force used on men of color, primarily African American men, and, in some cases, African American women, often resulting in death.
We call on the church to call on those in authority for police accountability and better training in deescalation. As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said, “A riot is the voice of the unheard. We need to listen.” And that does include having some uncomfortable conversations in our primarily white congregations about race.
As Micah 6:8 said …
Whereas lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people (LGBTQ+) are of sacred worth, and are deserving of full inclusion in the life and ministry of the United Methodist Church; and
Whereas the amendments made to the Book of Discipline through the “Traditional Plan” denigrates LGBTQ+ people who are called into ordained ministry by disqualifying them from ordination in the United Methodist Church simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, per Petition 90036 and Petition 90043; and
Recent statements by presidential candidates and other politicians concerning our Muslim neighbors has caused a new of wave of Islamophobia. We deplore statements suggesting we ban Muslims from entering the United States or calling for surveillance and closing of mosques or saying no to admitting Syrian refugees, or even going beyond water boarding in dealing with terrorist suspects. But to have a faith leader such as Jerry Falwell's son who now leads Liberty University to encourage students to carry concealed weapons and "end Muslims" goes beyond the pale of reason and sends a chilling message. And he is not the first faith leader to engage such hate speech.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Division, anger, and pain are present throughout our communities, and emotions of separateness and otherness are felt deeply, but we are not called to be a people divided, we are called to be the Body of Christ. At this hour, the hands and feet of Christ are needed.
Jesus is calling, calling each of us to be a radical presence of love, of justice, of healing in the midst of communities where this is absent. In the face of division, we are called to lean into relationships that cross boundaries. In the face of anger, we are called to listen for the brokenness and pain that lie beneath the anger. In the midst of pain, we are called to sit alongside as a healing presence that bears, that hopes, that endures in abiding love.