Author: Rev. Dr. Mark Holland, Executive Director, Mainstream UMC
Everyone knows Kansas and Nebraska are two of the most reliably conservative states in the country. Both states have voted for a Republican President every election since 1968—the entire history of the United Methodist Church. Together, they make up the Great Plains Annual Conference with nearly 1,000, mostly small rural local churches (and 1 really big church). These votes should be a key indicator as to just how offensive the Traditional Plan really is to mainstream United Methodists in the United States.
On Saturday, June 1, 2019 this Annual Conference passed a resolution that says in part: “THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Great Plains Annual Conference condemns the decision of the 2019 General Conference to pass the Traditional Plan and apologizes for the harm that it has caused LGBTQ persons, their families, and their friends, and the body of Christ.”
The conference passed another resolution endorsing the UMC Next actions which say in part: “We reject the Traditional Plan approved at General Conference 2019 as inconsistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and will resist its implementation.”
The conference also passed a petition to General Conference 2020 that was written by a UM endocrinologist calling for actual scientific facts about sexual orientation that reads in part: “THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the UMC will charge the General Board of Church and Society with the task of appointing a commission which will identify reliable, peer-reviewed information regarding what is known about the factors influencing the development of sexual orientation, and assemble a study guide which will be distributed to the local churches by January 2022.”
Further, the conference voted to allocate $20,000 in grant money for local churches and campus ministries to identify LGBTQ leaders for missional purposes. This money will be administered through our annual conference.
The votes were not even close. With 1,000 votes cast, the decisions were all 60% in favor and 40% not in favor. There are some who want you to believe that it is the clergy who are liberal and driving all these votes. Well, the Great Plains were simultaneously doing elections for lay and clergy alternates to General and Jurisdictional Conferences. Those results showed that 61% of the people present and voting that day were lay people.
Let’s review: An Annual Conference in Kansas and Nebraska, with 61% of the voters being lay people, voted overwhelmingly, 60%-40% to “condemn, reject, and resist” the Traditional Plan. This same conference called for scientific facts to be distributed to local churches. Wow.
Normal, church going Midwesterners are seeing through the smokescreen. The Traditional Plan is NOT simply the status quo, reinforcing a particular view about homosexuality. The Traditional Plan is a mean-spirited overreach to certify, punish, and forcibly remove pastors, churches, bishops, and annual conferences from the church. The Traditional Plan is so radical that it is overwhelmingly rejected by the conservative, mainstream United Methodists in Kansas and Nebraska who are ready to resist.
Below are resources that you can use in your annual conference.
Please visit https://mainstreamumc.com/donate/ and make a contribution today to help us Inspire a New Methodism in the U.S. and around the world!
Here is resolution 16 that “condemns” the Traditional Plan and Petition 1 that calls for scientific facts about sexual orientation. Both start on Page 25. file:///C:/Users/mholl/Documents/Great%20Plains/workbook+2019+numbered+lines.pdf
Here is the UMC Next Petition that emerged from the Kansas City conference at Church of the Resurrection. https://mainstreamumc.com/documents/resources/2019-05-22UMC-Next-Petition.pdf
Here is the grant funding document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18nK_chqs8mcXcL9mu3PG4Rr17nVGkxEDwgxNc4mlNfU/edit?ts=5cdf66b0
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