Following the decisions made at GC 2019, the United Methodist Clergywomen Collective wrote a letter, inviting clergy and laity to sign, that calls us to repentance and action. Please sign the letter here. Read the letter below.
Call to Repentance after General Conference 2019
We, the undersigned, stand with the 13 United Methodist theological schools, the majority of bishops, over 15,000 young United Methodists, and 46.72% of the elected delegates in opposition to the discriminatory and unconstitutional actions of the 2019 General Conference.
We now see our denomination for what it is: broken, sinful, and seemingly beyond repair. Whether or not we individually can remain in The United Methodist Church, it has been our home. Today we are weeping as Mary Magdalene wept outside of the tomb. We who identify as LGBTQIA+ are wounded, we who are allies raise our voices and rend our hearts, and we all lament what feels like the death of our beloved church.
Yet, we are people of the resurrection. We are people of the via salutis (the way of salvation). We believe that the grace of God is already present and powerful enough to redeem even our global connection. But transformation and restoration require confession and repentance. No longer can we be silent or wait for others to do the work. The task is ours to do.
First, we confess that as members of The United Methodist Church, we are complicit in the violence of the homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism named in the Traditional(ist) Plan, as well as the racism, colonialism, and ageism both in the Traditional(ist) Plan and inherent to our structure and evidenced throughout General Conference proceedings.
We commit to repenting of our privilege and making amends by actively centering marginalized voices in our preaching and teaching. We will seek educational resources to help our communities recognize and dismantle privilege. We will listen deeply to the hurt we have perpetuated and partner with local and global organizations that are working to heal the harm caused by these sins.
Second, we confess that the leadership of our church has too often hidden behind The Book of Discipline and Robert’s Rules of Order and that we have used and abused these texts to harm one another.
We commit to investing in and supporting new leaders who are actively living according to the example and teaching of Christ, who invited all people – including and especially the oppressed – to the table of God’s grace. We will lift up leaders that have too often been pushed to the margins of the church, including but not limited to LGBTQIA+ folx, people of color, those who are poor, people with disabilities, refugees, young people, and women.
Finally, we confess our lack of courage, imagination, and complacency around pursuing God’s mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
We commit to building a church that is the living embodiment of the new creation. We will boldly partner with the Holy Spirit to build community across generations and nations. We will be a church that will adapt and try new things, fail, and continue innovating anyway. We will care not only for souls, but for bodies and whole communities. We will recommit to personal and social holiness and a witness of social justice and advocacy. We will hold one another accountable for public and private acts of piety and mercy, as the founders of the Methodist movement encouraged and taught.
Some may be led outside the violence of our denomination, while others are called to rebuild within The United Methodist Church. In either case, our signature here represents a commitment not only in words and speech, but in truth and action (1 John 3:18) to resist the evil, injustice, and oppression that have presented themselves in our regressive and oppressive polity.
John Wesley, anticipating the resurrection, announced before his death, “Best of all is, God is with us.” In the wake of the 2019 General Conference, we feel a deep sense of grief and urgency and we call upon that presence of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. We are a people of resurrection and with Mary Magdalene there is yet good news to share!
*Statement written by members of the United Methodist Young Clergywomen Collective