3/27/19

Dear Asbury Family,

Thank you, sincerely, for the tremendous prayer support, notes, emails, and texts, as I prepared for and experienced the Special General Conference in St. Louis. Your involvement and awareness of this process surpasses that of any General Conference I am aware of!

As Pastor Eric’s message in February indicated (see below), nothing has changed at this point, so we are in a watchful waiting mode until the Judicial Council rules on all sent to them. Much of the Modified Traditional Plan, which passed, had already been ruled unconstitutional by the Judicial Council. That means that there will be some changes forthcoming, but we don’t know what those changes will be. While this decision may be frustrating, remember that patience is a fruit of the Spirit. The decisions will be announced after April 26, 2019.

While many of our church affirm the decision made in St. Louis, we must realize that this has come at great cost to others. This is a time for us to show compassion and empathy for those who feel that this decision has caused them great harm. The following statements from Bishop Johnson’s presention, used in the townhall meetings this week, are helpful reminders of this.

     “Be gentle and prayerful with one another-LGBTQIA people have experienced deep pain over these decisions.”
     “Engage in conversations with one another and share perspectives respectfully.”

I have chosen not to try to schedule meetings, although I am talking with lots of people, until after I have attended each of the Bishop’s townhall meetings this week. Then I will be able to speak with our congregation and give a report of the EPA reaction, as well as listen to Asbury reactions.  

No matter what your position on this decision, we must remember we have an important mission to live into, and ministry to accomplish with God’s help. There is a vast community to be reached with the love of Christ. 

Please contact me with comments and for any clarification.  

In His Service,
Judy  Ehninger
EPA Delegate
or 610-442-3140


2/28/19

Dear Asbury Family,

As many of you know, there was a special General Conference of the United Methodist Church that convened in St. Louis to vote on various plans regarding the Church's stance on homosexuality. There has been a deep divide in our church over this issue and the denomination was looking for ways to move the church forward.

So what happened? After much passionate debate, the General Conference approved the Traditional Plan 53.28% to 46.72%. What this means is that the current language in our Book of Dijavascript:void(0);scipline regarding homosexuality remains unchanged. Therefore, UMC pastors are not allowed to officiate a wedding for same-sex couples, there can be no same-sex weddings in our churches, and no self-avowed practicing homosexual can become ordained clergy. The plan also calls for some stronger measures to hold bishops and denominational leaders accountable who refuse to follow the Book of Discipline.

There was also a plan of disaffiliation that was approved. This means a "gracious exit" would be provided for churches and/or clergy who desire to leave the United Methodist Church if they could not accept the outcome of General Conference.

It is also important to know the several pieces of the Traditional Plan legislation and the plan for disaffiliation were deemed unconstitutional prior to the General Conference vote. Measures were taken to perfect these two pieces of legislation, but they will be reviewed by the Judicial Council.

What does this mean for Asbury? We will continue to help ALL people grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Everyone (heterosexual and homosexual) is of sacred worth and created in the image of God and is welcome at Asbury. Everyone is welcome to participate in the life of the church and to continue on their spiritual journey. None of that has changed.

This conference, and the events leading up to it, have left many people hurt and feeling abandoned by the church. No matter where you are theologically on this issue, we need to pray for the people who have been wounded by hurtful things that have been said and done.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Eric Yeakel
Senior Pastor