A Note From Pastor Eric

General Conference Delay News

You may have seen the United Methodist Church in the news this week. The global pandemic has forced General Conference, the rule-making legislative body for the whole UMC around the world, to be delayed yet again. And a conservative movement in the UMC has further articulated their plans to split off to form the “Global Methodist Church.”

Travis Park Church has worked for full LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion in the church for a long time, and has especially longed for change since the discriminatory actions of General Conference 2019. We hoped General Conference would approve a plan for conservative churches to leave and a more inclusive UMC to move forward, but General Conference has now been delayed twice – from May 2020 to August 2021 and now to August 2022.

I feel sad and angry about yet another delay. “What happens to a dream deferred?,” we ask with Langston Hughes. To delay justice is injustice. Moving the global conference is the right thing to do in these pandemic times, but it feels like yet another casualty of the pandemic that affects some more than others. Let’s share the hard feelings and questions with one another, and look to God and hold on to one another as we continue our work for the church God dreams of. Please feel free to reach out to me or Pastor Valerie with questions.

Here are a few articles, if you’re interested:

RMN Network: “What is Most Just in the Midst of Injustice

Conservative United Methodists announce new name, logo, website for planned denomination

resistharm.com is another site with good resources on the movement for inclusion in the UMC

One thing that is not in question is that we live as people of hope, people looking to live the “new story” we find in Jesus’ resurrection. We live in the light of a future that is not yet here. We provide signs of life, glimpses of God’s full liberation and healing yet to come. This delay doesn’t change our commitment – we will perform same-gender weddings, we will support all kinds of families, we will encourage people of all sexual orientations and gender identities to share their God-given gifts in lay and ordained ministry.

Texas Mask Mandate News
The other news item that was dismaying to me in this long Lent of waiting and longing and seeing our need for a “new story” – Gov. Abbott has removed mask mandates. While nearly all our programming has gone off campus to the sidewalks and the internet, we remain committed that everyone in the Travis Park building will be required to wear a mask and have a temperature check and screening questions upon entry. Look for some more in-person gatherings soon, outside and with physical distancing, but in the meantime know that we believe the best way to love each other and our neighbors well at this time is by masking up and getting vaccinated as soon as possible. Let us know if we can help.

In good news and in tough times, we hold on to one another and trust God to hold on to us. I’m glad I get to do that with you.

In the peace and power God gives us in Christ,
Eric

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