Bishop McKee Shares His Message After General Conference 2019

Bishop's letterhead

February 27, 2019

Friends,

On Tuesday, the special-called General Conference in St. Louis came to a close. The One Church Plan, developed by the Commission on a Way Forward and supported by an overwhelming majority of the bishops and myself, did not pass. Instead, an amended version of the Traditional Plan passed by a vote of 438 to 384. This contentious vote and the tenor of the General Conference overall clearly confirmed that the global United Methodist Church is not of one mind about the best way to move forward with regard to human sexuality and ministry with and by LGBTQ persons.

The days in St. Louis were painful in many ways, particularly for members of the LGBTQ community and their allies. To the LGBTQ persons in our churches and communities, I want to say that no legislation will change my conviction that you are beloved children of God and that you can count on the churches of North Texas to continue to be welcoming and safe spaces for you. 

Throughout the General Conference, I was heartened by the fact that nearly half of the delegates and the vast majority of my colleagues, as well as hundreds of observers in the stands, still support unity, being in loving and respectful connection with others – even those with whom we disagree – and offering a grace-filled witness to the whole world. This understanding of who the church is called to be is what I have witnessed in North Texas. I intend to continue to lead our conference in this Spirit, and I have an unwavering hope that God will continue to do great things in North Texas.

It is important to say that the full implications of the Traditional Plan and other petitions passed at General Conference this week remain to be seen. It will take some time for the dust to settle. What it all will mean for the North Texas Conference is a story still to be written. My deepest hope is that this is a story that we – progressives, evangelicals and centrists – will write together.

Together, all of us who are a part of the North Texas Conference can write our story’s next chapter – a chapter about a fruitful ministry of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.     

I pray that God will richly bless your ministry.

Signature


Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2019


 
16 Comments
Added by Patti Bacsik, Grand Prairie, TX

Bishop McKee, I am sad that The One Church Plan failed also. I believe that we are all children of God no matter what our sexual orientation may be. The marketing slogan that was used for several years was very good. I don't remember it exactly, but Open doors, open hearts, and open minds is what we should all be. I can understand that ministers should not officiate at LBGTQ weddings since that relationship goes against all biblical teachings. However, any members of the church should be able to use the church property as long as the property is respected and not abused. Our facility has been rented to some questionable non-members in the past, but we still let them use the property. To me that is a double standard regarding property. I have family members, good friends, and acquaintances that all fall into the LGBTQ category. I just want to make sure that they all know Jesus Christ as their Savior. I would hope that the Church that I came back to over 30 years ago, would want that to.
Added by Vince Gonzales

Thank you for your strong witness to unity in the Body of Christ.
Added by Anonymous

I have always been a Methodist, yet I have been in four denominations. I was baptized in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; confirmed, ordained, and married in the Methodist Church; currently in the United Methodist] Church; and for a time in the United Church of Canada. I was education director in the congregation that spun off the Southern Methodist Church, and which did not fulfill its mission because they were too afraid of another schism to be the church. The best thing that could have happened would have been another schism, which they would have survived and become brave enough to be a church. As a denomination, perhaps a schism is what we need. An Accepting Methodist Church would fulfill its mission while the Bigoted Methodist Church would slowly fade away like the Southern Methodist with its dozen congregations. Institutions which seek to save their life will lose it.

Paul Cardwell
Bonham, TX
Added by Anonymous

Bishop McKee,
I have much respect for you and your leadership. I will be in prayer for the church as we move forward and I will be in prayer for you and your guidance.

Cathy Arrington
Quinlan, TX
Added by Stephen Raynor

Having visited 25 United Methodist Churches in several states as well as in the Philippines in the past 3 years as a lay missionary, I have always believed Open Doors to be the best policy. However in hearing that millions of newly converted Christians in Africa voted to close the doors of dozens of American UMC's with openly gay members, I believe Methodists everywhere must hit the pause button.

As a church which is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints, how do we enlist more people to become faithful followers of Christ?

Is it by welcoming all sinners, or just the ones our society permits to be redeemed. And how do we as a church dictate to Africans whose government laws prohibit gays, perhaps because of other religions, perhaps because AIDS killed over 15 Million of their brothers, sisters mothers, fathers and children so far and that number may double.

I watched PCUSA go through a civil war many years ago. It was nasty and unChristian.

I do not want my church locally, nationally, or internationally to be diminished in fulfilling James 2:14-20.
Added by Michael Elwell Wesleyan Campus Ministry @ A&M Comm

Thank you so much Bishop for your leadership through this trying time and your constant support of the LGBTQUA+ community. God Bless you
Added by Jim Atkins, member St Andrew UMC, Plano

The Jesus I know does not discriminate against His beloved children. All are created in the image of God and are equally loved by the church, regardless of sexual orientation. No one gets to choose their sexual orientation. All are welcome in God's congregations, in God's clergy and at God's wedding alters in loving relationships.
Added by Abigail Durden @ Arapaho UMC

Dear Bishop,

I was heartened after the July 7th Dallas shooting when you shared your message, and I am heartened by your message now. Thank you for being a reasonable voice.

I pray for unity but most importantly I pray for peace. I believe that the community must gather around the most vulnerable in their midst and set them at the center until justice and healing are complete. Thank you for standing with those that are vulnerable now.
Added by Michele Vicente, member Highland Park UMC, Dallas

Dear Bishop McKee,
Thank you for your supportive words of love. I will be praying for the future of my Methodist church home and for you as you guide us through it.
Added by Cathy Wheeler, pianist New Covenant UMC Sunnyvale

Bishop McKee

Our community of faith is being called together to pray and have discussion at New Covenant United Methodist Church Sunnyvale this Saturday morning called by and led by our pastor Dana Norton. I am so grateful for this gathering. I have been on the staff of a number of Methodist churches over the past couple of decades as pianist and never have I had a pastor call a Saturday morning church wide open meeting to discuss or explain any general conference ever. How blessed I am to be a part of Pastor Norton’s team at New Covenant. This is how we move forward - with prayer and community and lots of love.
Added by Anonymous

O.K. , so the conference is over with, and decisions were made. If you were a delegate, you knew you had a chance of either winning or losing. So the majority wins and we are supposed to accept that. Now, get over it and do what you can to keep our church together, and make progress in the future. I have been a Methodist all my 92 years, starting with my baptismal at the small Swedish Methodist Episcopal Church in Dallas, my youth at First Methodist Episcopal South in Dallas, my adult years at Schreiber Memorial Methodist and University Park United Methodist. I have not always agreed with my Bishop on his decisions, but I have never thought of abandoning the Methodist Church. We should all stay together and go forward.
Gladys Nelson Pully, University Park United Methodist, Dallas, TX
Added by KB

As a former Christian; as a former DCYM, CCYM, CTCYM, and JYMO youth ministry member; as a gay man; your message is heartening to hear. I sincerely hope the church finds it's way forward for all its members. Be that as members of the UMC, or as a self-governing conference. I know many LGBTQ members and even clergy who have felt this sting.

I hope beyond hope that those statements in chapter 19 of the Book of Resolutions become common place throughout Methodist doctrine, and that they extend to the clergy who spread the Word to the people.

Thank you Bishop McKee, for doing what you can.
Added by Dr. Jeff Lankov

This week following the General Conference vote, I resigned my job at First United Methodist Church of Celina. Although I am not a member of the church, music is the form of spirituality that I practice. Helping to make the worship services a sacred and special experience for the congregants, through music, has always felt like an important calling, and was gratifying for me as a person and as an artist.

While I recognize the sacred worth of all members of the United Methodist Church, the parent church’s institutionalized homophobia and discrimination are incompatible with my own musical-spiritual beliefs. No matter how affirming and welcoming members of individual congregations are, the official UMC policy states that my own immutable, God-given sexual orientation is something so shameful that it is “incompatible with Christian teaching,” and, as such, my LGBT brothers and sisters may neither be married in the church nor become members of the clergy.

For many of us, injustices are only a line too far when they affect us directly. We can be outraged by injustices borne by others—inequities in the abstract—but perhaps not be moved quite enough to fight as if our own lives depended on it. Every time LGBT people face something like Tuesday’s vote, we are traumatized yet again, and some of us refuse to be complicit in decisions that relegate us to second-class citizenship.

This week was incredibly sad and emotional; and, it turns out that being principled is also rather expensive. But at least I can look myself in the eye every morning—something I wouldn’t have been able to do had I remained affiliated with an organization whose foundational laws actually guarantee the oppression of LGBT people.
Added by Joan Craig McKee

After teaching museum preschool for eighteen years, one thing I know is that each child of God is very unique. I experienced no two children exactly the same in their thinking, their appearance, their sexuality, their creativity, their spirituality. I experienced God through each and every one. I thank God for this blessing and for a church that will fully embrace God’s creation.
Added by Anonymous

Thank you, Mike and Joan: The words from both of you are helpful, hopeful, heartening, and much appreciated. Love to both of you. Jean Traster
Added by Anita B. First Mesquite

Bishop McKee, thank you for your continued loving grace. Jesus just called us to love.
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