General Conference 2019: Day 4
Author: Rev. Dr. Mark Holland, Executive Director, Mainstream UMC
I wanted to put something out before I go out to dinner with some of the amazing people with whom I have had the privilege of working this year. More will follow in the next few days.
No way around it, this hurts. My heart breaks for all the LGBTQ persons in our connection. These are the ones who live the discrimination every day. Please reach out to the LGBTQ persons around you. At the end of the day, this was not about legislation, or tactics, or votes. This is about our people and my heart is broken for my people. Don’t cry first for the Church. Cry first for the people.
And, we need to cry for our church. My heart breaks for our church. As I spoke around the country, I shared that the One Church Plan was the way to keep our plate from shattering. It feels like it shattered today. This is not some intellectual exercise, this is personal. My United Methodist Church crashed against a vindictive wall of division and control.
The United Methodist Church will never be the same. It is probably more honest to say the church spilled rather than shattered. It spilled like a giant box of Legos. The pieces are all still intact and functional, but the form they were in is no longer recognizable.
I believe we have all the pieces we need to build a vital, global witness to Jesus Christ. The pieces need to be gathered, sorted, and the reconstruction needs to begin. We will build a church out of this. We have everything we need.
How, when, where, what? I don’t know any of that. But as we hugged our friends tonight to go back home, there is a faithful resolve that we will build.
We have created a comprehensive coalition of every progressive, centrist, and traditional compatibilist around the world. We are faithful. We are talented. We are motivated. Our coalition will continue to convene and ask all of us to engage in what is next. I hope, after the tears dry, you will personally commit to be a part of what is new.
General Conference is a charade. It is completely controlled by a well-funded, well-staffed, U.S. based advocacy group. Our church was hijacked from the inside out. General Conference is an irrecoverably flawed institution. Whatever is next, it will not be centered around this fraudulent expression of “Holy Conferencing.”
In reality we passed no legislation at General Conference. The Traditional Plan they passed was gutted and has nothing in it. They failed to fix the unconstitutional parts. They have a symbolic victory only. We are essentially at status quo. That still sucks, but it is the reality. The exit plan they passed is fatally flawed and unconstitutional. All of this is dead on arrival at the Judicial Council in April.
In Closing—for tonight.
All of this deserves a much longer debrief. We need to feel the hurt and not brush it off. It is real. We also need to feel the hope. The hope is real as well. And we all need to understand the mechanics of what was, so we can move where God is calling. God is calling. Let us take some time through the tears and the hurt…and listen. As I listen, I will write more.