Response to 2019 General Conference
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Duke Memorial United Methodist Church stands on the side of love and reconciliation, not judgment and exclusion.
February 28, 2019
Rev. Heather Rodrigues, Lead Pastor
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18
We regret and are saddened by the recent decision of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church to bar, on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, those whom God has called to the ministry; to deny marriage to certain members of the faith on the basis of their respective genders; and to push from our pulpits those clergy whose consciences will not permit them to comply with these hurtful policies. We do not see the love of Jesus reflected in this decision. We believe that it inflicts needless and unjust pain upon persons for whom Jesus died and leaves an enduring scar on the Body of Christ. Love is at the center of our faith tradition and is the lens through which we interpret the Scriptures. We will continue to celebrate the reconciliation of all persons as beloved children of God, equal before the throne of love and grace.
Our rejection of this decision by the General Conference is not a new position for Duke Memorial United Methodist Church. Neither is our refusal to allow a diversity of views to divide us. In 2015, our congregation embraced this Welcome Statement:
As our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to love and accept every person, Duke Memorial United Methodist Church welcomes into our life together those of every age, race, ethnic background, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, family or socioeconomic status, educational background, and physical or mental ability. In our commitment to the reconciliation of all persons as beloved children of God, we celebrate our diversity and recognize the sacred worth and dignity of all. We invite you to join us in our faith journey toward discipleship in Christ with mutual respect, understanding, and love.
Today the leadership of Duke Memorial United Methodist Church reaffirms our Welcome Statement, especially with regard to members of the LGBTQ+ community and those who honor their sacred worth. We will continue to welcome and affirm ALL of God’s children, as we live into our baptismal vows to “accept the freedom and power God gives us to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves” (United Methodist Hymnal, page 34).
“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
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