Response to General Conference

A message from Pastor Linda written Thursday, Feb. 28

My dear McFarlin family and friends,

While I am still processing the decisions of General Conference and will speak to that in worship on Sunday, Mar. 3, I want you to know that the decisions made will not change how McFarlin lives out our mission of “Changing Lives that Change the World” through Worship, Discipleship and Mission.

Also, my love for each of you, no matter where you stand on this topic, is greater than any decision that General Conference made. My love for God and God’s church, too, is greater than any decision that General Conference made.

As General Conference concluded abruptly, my spirit felt wounded. We were supposed to end with a worship service, but due to the time constraints, we received a quick benediction by a Bishop. I don’t remember what was said; I just know I needed to see our broken community come together to worship a God whom we know to be faithful and who has declared that ALL are created in God’s image; ALL are of sacred worth.

Regardless of your position, I know many of you are experiencing a multitude of emotions. I invite us to sit with our feelings for a while and acknowledge what we feel. There is no judgment in whatever you are feeling. The Spirit is working in and through us, and we will get through this together.

As I sit here now, the question my heart keeps asking is, “What do I know about the people of McFarlin?” The answers that keep coming give me great hope, because this is what I know: I know we are a diverse body of believers who love God and each other. I know we are a diverse body of believers who are compassionate and generous. I know we are diverse body of believers who welcome all. I know we are a diverse body of believers who long to grow in our discipleship. I know we are a diverse body of believers who understand that we are called to be the heart, hands and feet of Christ to all who enter our doors and that we are sent into the world to do the same. I know we are a diverse body of believers who are not of one mind on homosexuality, and that is okay. My prayer is that we find a way to continue to be McFarlin together. We are a stronger witness together in the midst of our diversity if we choose to love and care for each other the way Jesus calls us to.

Many are asking, “What’s next?” and I cannot answer that question right now because the truth is, we do not know. The Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church will meet in April to decide if the details of the General Conference decision are in line with our UM Constitution. I find it interesting that while I am heartbroken for our denomination, I feel a sense of God’s peace that will lead us in the days ahead; we are not alone. The God who loves each of us and claims us through our baptism is with us. That is good news to remember and to share.

Please know how much your pastors love you and trust that we are in this together with you. So for today, tomorrow, and all the tomorrows to come let us love one another. I look forward to worshipping with you this week.

Blessings,
Pastor Linda