Conversations around LGBTQ inclusion

The United Methodist Church is in a season of great upheaval. The start of the Global Methodist Church and the disaffiliation of hundreds of United Methodism congregations has left our denomination in a state of uncertainty. It was decided in an informal meeting on Pentecost Sunday 2022 that Two Rivers Church would undergo a series of meetings and conversations with the intent of making a clear statement as a local congregation.

A seven-week study, conversation, and writing exercise will take place at Two Rivers Church at 10:45 each Sunday, starting January 15. These meetings will take place in the round tables at the back of the sanctuary. Worship usually ends at 10:30. This will give people a chance to get some coffee and visit with friends before the conversation begins.

The purpose of these conversations will be to create a welcome and mission statement. Before the statement is created however, there will be four informational meetings that will take a closer look at the heart of the controversy from the perspective of Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience.

The root of the upheaval is Biblical interpretation and the inclusion of LGBTQ people in the life of the church. This falls under two main categories: the ordination of open LGBTQ individuals into the clergy, and the sanctification of marriages between two people of the same gender. As of now, the United Methodist Church has an exclusionary position on these issues, prohibiting LGBTQ people from ordination and the marriage rite.

This however, has not stopped the formation of the Global Methodist Church, which launched last spring after it was annonced that the next General Conference of the UMC would not occur until 2024. The existence of openly gay Bishops Rev. Karen Oliveto and Rev. Cedrick D. Bridgeforth as well as the practice of many conferences to not enforce the prohibitions against gay marriage and clergy, has forced many congregations to pursue a path of disaffiliation from the UMC. Many, but not all, of these congregations will align with the Global Methodist Church.

The meetings on Sundays will be led by Pastor Robb McCoy. There will be a way to follow along via Zoom. Click on the button below to join in the zoom meeting at around 10:40 a.m. (CST) on Sunday. Zoom participants will be able to hear and Pastor Robb, but the lack of adequate Video conferencing equipment will make further participation in the discussion difficult.