I am Molly Vetter (she/her), an ordained elder in the California-Pacific Annual Conference and Senior Pastor of the Westwood UMC in Los Angeles, CA, USA. I am grateful to be a part of the work of #ResistHarm, as it connects us together in the shared work of the church, grounded in Wesleyan commitments and our baptismal vows.
Fun fact: I was confirmed in the very first, new United Methodist Church. My home church in Grand Island, Nebraska was chartered during the 1968 General Conference. During my confirmation preparation in 1989, I wrestled with what it might mean to live into the wild promises articulated in the baptismal vows of our then-brand-new United Methodist Hymnal, including the charge to "resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves." My senior year in high school, I was a part of an intergenerational small group in my western Nebraska church that used the "The Church Studies Homosexuality" resource that came out of the General Conference. It helped me connect my faith to what I had already experienced: that the Holy Spirit has long been calling and gifting people for ministry, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. I believe that our church's exclusions have impaired our ability to perceive what God has been doing in our very midst.
I cannot imagine what my faith or my pastoral identity would look like without my having received blessings of the Holy Spirit through LGBTQ siblings, including mentors, church folks and colleagues. I am grateful to be a part of the #ResistHarm movement because it allows me ways to share this testimony, and to connect with others in diverse places who similarly stand in opposition to the harmful exclusions of our United Methodist Church. Further, I am distressed at the ways the anti-LGBTQ decisions of General Conference in February destroy the vitality of our connection, reducing it to a mechanism for enforcing narrow exclusions. This harms not only those who would be excluded (and LGBTQ kin feeling exclusion and struggling for safety in our broader communities) but the whole of our church.I believe that the church can still make a difference, though! By collectively raising our voices, we can resist harm in our local churches and communities and participate in the transformation of the world. I am thrilled to be a part of the effort to provide Resist Harm worship resources for our churches, trusting that God can work with us in powerful ways through the postures of worship and the language of liturgy, as we attune our communities to the love of Christ and the reign of God. Be sure to check out our worship planning guide for January!
I have been privileged to serve the church in lots of ways, in addition to the three Cal-Pac churches I've served since in commissioning in 2001. I'm currently a part of Academy #41 of the Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation. I have been a delegate or reserve delegate to General Conferences in 2000, 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2019; I was the Chair of the Order of Elders in my Conference from 2008-16. I served on the General Board of Church and Society from 2008-16. I was a part of the Faith and Order Commission of the NCCC-USA from 2000-2004, and a delegate to the WCC Assembly in 1998. I've helped lead Junior High Camps and Strength for the Journey Retreats for adults with HIV/AIDS. I've taught courses in the Bible at San Diego State University and the San Diego Rescue Mission Women's Center.
I'm a graduate of Claremont School of Theology (MDiv, 2001) and Boston University (BA, 1998). I live in Los Angeles with my husband, Matt, and our 8-year-old son.