Beloved Epworth Community,
The special general conference has concluded and the Traditionalist plan has prevailed. After the vote, the deep sense of sadness and resistance was expressed in the singing of “This is my story, this is my song,” and a liturgy that proclaimed that We Are the Church! At the same time, delegates and supporters of the plan that passed began singing a different song. It was an image of a deeply broken church. I put my head in my hands and wept, surrounded by our other Epworth observers.
As the conference ended, our Western Jurisdiction delegation which includes Randall Miller and Jeffrey Kuan, gathered at the microphone and proclaimed the resolute vision of the Western Jurisdiction to continue being one unified open church. No matter what. Others were invited be join us and were directed to the website that announces the Western Jurisdiction as “A Home for All People.” So many people immediately went to the website that it crashed! People are hungry for this voice of integrity, love and hope.
I want to thank MaAn Barcelo, Judy Cayot, Annette Cayot, Lloyd Elliot, Filipe Maia, Bill Miller, Charlotte Rubens, and Val Toh for being present, persevering and witnessing to a fully welcoming church. Thanks also to Merrie Bunt who served as a page for the session, helping delegates vote and carrying essential information. Most especially thank you to Jeffrey Kuan and Randall Miller who have given their time, their brilliance and their hearts to this struggle as leaders in our annual conference delegation. To be among you all is a deeply humbling blessing. We were buoyed continually by your love and prayers from Berkeley and around the world.
Sunday we will gather as we always do with truly open doors, open hearts and open minds. Our scripture this week from Mark 11 reminds us that Jesus beckons to us and says, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Be peace, and be at peace.
I am so proud to be your pastor. With abundant love,