After four days in St. Louis, MO, as one of 864 delegates to The United Methodist Church’s special Session of the General Conference, I am angry and heartbroken by the decision of the body not only to continue its injustices toward our LGBTQIA community but also to strengthen the prohibitions and punishments for those clergypersons who do not uphold the injustice.
I am heartbroken for the church universal, for The United Methodist Church, for members of United Methodist churches across the globe, and for clergy members of this institution. I am heartbroken for the alumni/ae, students, and would-be students of Claremont School of Theology. This conference was supposed to lead a divided church on a path forward, but instead we took a giant step backward.
I am angry about the politics that were employed before and during this conference. I am angry about the ways the Bible has been, and continues to be, weaponized against people of God. And I am angry about the time, money, and energy that have been expended over the last forty-seven years to hurt and divide us. The decisions that were made this week have inflicted violence on the body of Christ, and that trauma will be felt for generations.
In spite of this or because of this, I am more resolved than ever to work toward a church that is inclusive for all – in the pews and in the pulpit. Though weary, heartbroken, and angry, I am not without hope. There is much work ahead, but we are not alone. Those of us in the Western Jurisdiction (and others across the denomination) will continue to live out a One Church spirit, no matter the cost.
And without a doubt, Claremont School of Theology will continue to be an institution not only inclusive to the LGBTQIA community, but also deeply and ardently committed to demonstrating, teaching, and advocating for God’s love and mercy to all creation. We will continue to recognize the gifts of LGBTQIA people and to provide the kind of theological education that encourages, supports, and prepares Christian leaders to live out a calling faithful to a just and love-filled Gospel.
Together, we will continue to work to repair the brokenness in our hearts, in our congregations, and in our communities.