Church Reaffirms Commitment to Be Inclusive
After the United Methodist Church legislative body passed the Traditional Plan at the special session of General Council in February 2019, and the Judicial Council made its ruling in April 2019, leaders at Paradise Valley United Methodist Church (PVUMC) met to discuss how to disassociate our church from this punitive plan, which strengthens enforcement of bans on “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy and same-sex weddings.
In response to those decisions, and in seeking a way to promote PVUMC as an inclusive church, Council members discussed joining the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN). Congregational forums were held to present this option and church leaders solicited feedback from members and constituents. This was an important decision and the clergy, staff and members of the Church Council carefully considered the feedback shared at the forums, in small groups, via email, phone calls and face to face in one-on-one conversations.
On June 4, 2019, the Church Council met for thoughtful consideration and discussion of your feedback and decided to defer the decision to join the RMN for 12 months. This will allow additional time for everyone at PVUMC to better understand the direction the United Methodist Church will take and how these larger church decisions will impact the future of PVUMC.
During the next 12 months, the Church Council, clergy and staff are committed to taking tangible actions to demonstrate and instruct what it means to be an inclusive church community. The Council reaffirmed its commitment to stand by PVUMC’s Statement of Inclusivity (our Invitational Statement, approved in February 2017), and voted to:
1) Reaffirm its commitment to inclusion and welcoming of the LGBTQ+ community
2) Reject the Traditional Plan, approved by General Conference 2019
3) Establish a Task Force to develop an action plan for implementation and actions related to the welcoming statement and explore potential membership in RMN
Statement of Inclusivity
Our goal is to truly live into these words:
We invite you to join us on a shared journey of life and faith, open to all, regardless of age, ability, economics, color, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, politics, theology or anything else that might separate us from each other. Whoever you are and wherever you may be on your spiritual journey, you’re invited to walk with Christ in community with all of God’s children, and embrace the endless possibilities of God’s unconditional love.
More Background on Where We Are Now
PVUMC had congregational meetings on Sunday, May 19, to discuss how damaging the Traditional Plan is to the church and to the LGBTQ+ community. A number of other annual conferences and groups within the church have expressed their desire to resist implementation of this plan. There are many conversations happening right now across the church about how we will hold together or what a new Methodist Church might look like. However, there are no specific recommendations at this time to leave the UMC. We will be looking at next year’s General Conference (2020) for further clarification about the shape and future of the UMC.
Listen to a recording of the 10:45 am presentation and download a copy of the PowerPoint presentation. The recording does not include the Q&A.
Pastor Dave Summers, Christopher Wurpts and Lauren Coffman helped prepare FAQs, which outline some of the pros and cons of joining the Reconciling Ministries Network. These were shared with the church members and constituents before the Church Council met on June 4, 2019.