A special session of the United Methodist Church General Conference will be held Feb. 23-26, 2019, at the America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis, Mo., the same venue where the 223rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) met in 2018. As our Methodist siblings gather, the board of directors of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians offers the following statement of prayer, encouragement and partnership:
This week, the United Methodist Church General Conference will meet in a special session to discern the best “way forward.” The session is considering changes to the church’s rules regarding the welcome and affirmation of LGBTQIA+ people. Among the issues under discussion are policies that would allow for the ordination of those in same-sex relationships and for same-sex marriages in Methodist churches.
Much about these discussions will feel painfully familiar to many Presbyterians. For many years, the Covenant Network of Presbyterians worked with others in the PCUSA toward church policies that were faithfully inclusive of all, even as we also sought the church’s unity. It has been a difficult journey, and in many ways that difficult journey continues. Even as we have celebrated changes that have been liberating and joyful, we also have recognized how much work remains to be done — in our own denomination and in the whole Church of Jesus Christ — to fully live into this new day.
We at the Covenant Network of Presbyterians are joining with millions of others in prayer for faithful discernment, gracious conversation and a deep and abiding passion to demonstrate the love and justice of Jesus Christ. We offer our encouragement to our siblings in Christ in the United Methodist Church who are seeking a church that is welcoming and affirming of LGBTQIA+ people. However God leads the General Conference this week, we endeavor to be good partners in your continued journey, standing with you as you seek to bear witness to a gospel that is truly the Good News for all the children of God.
Toward a Church as generous and just as God’s grace,
The Covenant Network of Presbyterians Board of Directors
The Covenant Network of Presbyterians is also offering daily prayer for the General Conference and all members and friends of the United Methodist Church. To share in these prayers, visit our Facebook page.
To learn more about the special session, visit the UMC official page. To read about support for the One Church Plan, which would allow particular bishops, conferences and congregations to set policies inclusive of LGBTQIA+ people in their context, visit the page of Mainstream UMC, which supports the plan.