Who We Are, Session 1 — June 30, 3:00 p.m.

FROM OUR PASTOR:

Your Administrative Council is considering how and when we can all come together to learn, talk and pray about the recent special session General Conference decisions and subsequent Judicial Council rulings with regard to The United Methodist Church’s debate and stance on homosexuality, same-gender marriage and ordination of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning) persons.  The scheduled meeting time is Sunday afternoon, June 30 from 3:00-5:00.  The session is open to the entire Bethany family: Professing Members, Baptized Members, Affiliate Members, Constituents, and Worship Guests.

After a brief summary of the United Methodists’ General Conference decision to adopt the Traditional Plan, we will break into small groups to discuss questions and what-if scenarios centered on:  1) Inclusion – What Is the meaning and reality of inclusion from the United Methodist global church perspective, and how do we see ourselves practicing inclusion at Bethany, and 2) Identity – What does it mean to be in the United Methodist/Wesleyan tribe, and how do we envision Bethany’s particular identity going forward.  I will ask people to serve as group facilitators.  After the group discussions, everyone will come back together to summarize and share each group’s responses.

 Let me know if you will attend June 30 so we can plan accordingly.  Please respond by:   1) writing your name and whether or not you will attend on a Prayer Request or Guest card and dropping it in the offering plate, or 2) call the church office.  Please leave a message if you call outside of our 9 a.m.‒3 p.m. office hours.  

I ask you to approach each session with openness, humility, a spirit of grace, and above all, love and respect for your fellow brothers and sisters.  Let’s pray for one another and for the guidance of the Holy Spirit each time we gather.  May you join this holy conversation with courage, confident that “nothing can separate us from God’s love in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 8:38).

Peace,

Pastor Mike Derflinger