In my pastoral prayers, I often use the phrase “those whom each of us name in our hearts before you.” Since the Special General Conference last February, I name in my heart those in my current congregation and throughout the United Methodist connection who strive for faithfulness and fruitfulness, and who are directly harmed by the draconian measures passed at the last General Conference – measures that single out a select group of people for condemnation and punishment based solely on identity, that take away the possibility of putting calling, character, faithfulness, and fruitfulness before focusing on identity, that require oaths in order to be in certain leadership positions, and that create a globally elected body to enforce particular rules, a body likened by our Judicial Council to an “inquisitional court.”
I continue to hold in prayer people that I love and consider siblings in Christ. In support of all those singled out and harmed for decades, I was blessed to participate in the service at FUMC Little Rock, as a part of a National Day of Resistance. I also continue to be involved in #ResistHarm and use the resources available to all of us at https://resistharm.com/
As a UM Pastor and a delegate to General Conference from Arkansas, I call upon all (those who identify as traditionalists, centrists, progressives or some kind of mix – like me) to stand for continued conversation, to stand for inclusion of diverse voices within the body of Christ, and to stand up as a witness to the high and holy love of God for ALL – a love that calls us into unity in love rather than uniformity by law. Come Holy Spirit as we all open ourselves to your calling and your love! Join me as we #ResistHarm!
Rev. Michael Roberts (he, him, his)