Summer is here, though quite a bit later than expected. The Jacarandas are blooming about a month behind schedule. The temperature is barely hitting the mid 70s. June Gloom shows signs of lasting into July. Hardly anything seems to be on time.
But our construction is still on schedule! Windows and doors are in, cabinets, counters
The meeting of our California-Pacific Annual Conference took place in Redlands just before Father’s Day. Over a thousand United Methodists gathered from southern California and Hawaii on the campus of the University of Redlands. We sang and prayed, we talked and listened, we saw colleagues and friends, we worked long and well through the sessions each day. The spirit of the gathering was mostly hopeful, I thought.
We elected our delegates to next year’s General Conference meeting, which will be held in Minneapolis. We learned that across the country there was something of a wave of resistance to the Traditionalist Plan approved back in February. Not only here in California, but in North Georgia, North and South Carolina, Texas, North Texas, East Ohio, Kansas-Nebraska, New England and elsewhere, delegates who favor LGBTQ welcome and full inclusion were being elected to represent the church.
Some want to leave the UMC as a result of the last General Conference actions. Some want to create two or three versions of United Methodism, where congregations and clergy can choose to serve where they feel at home. Some want to stay and resist the Traditionalist Plan, as those in the Civil Rights movement resisted what they saw as unjust laws. Between September and December there will be a number of “listening posts” held across our Annual Conference, where people will be invited to share their concerns and hopes for their church. An African proverb suggests, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I’d like us to go far, and don’t want to leave anyone out.
From a personal perspective, the happiest outcome for me this year is that April and I are being reappointed to serve as your pastors. That continues to be a privilege and a blessing, and we look forward to all that is before us in the year to come!
Grace and peace,