Pentecost discussion of LGBTQ inclusion

Pentecost is June 5. This is the day that we celebrate the “birth of
the Church.” We commemorate the story in Acts when the Holy Spirit descends upon the disciples. They have an ecstatic religious experience. Peter declares to the gathering crowd, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Young people will see visions. Your elders will dream dreams.”

We will gather to discuss our vision and our dreams of what Two Rivers United Methodist Church can be. We are facing a crossroads in the United Methodist denomination. As the Church grapples with issues of sexuality, gender, and inclusion, decisions have been delayed for several years by the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel restrictions, technology difficulties have delayed decisions that were set to be made in 2020. It has been decided that the next General Conference will take place in 2024, where decisions about the nature of the future church will be made.

In the meantime, the current discipline of the United Methodist Church operates under the 2019 Traditional Plan, which maintains the exclusive language surrounding LGBTQ people in the church. Also, the Global Methodist Church will launch as a denomination on May 1, 2022. This is a conservative expression of Methodism that many churches within the connection can choose to affiliate with. All signs point to 2024 being a time when local congregations will have to decide what kind of church they will be. We will not wait that long.

On Pentecost, we will begin to discuss these issues of LGBTQ inclusion and where we see our church in this conversation. Discussions at the Pentecost Meeting will be open, non-judgmental, and informative. We will discuss the Biblical implications of inclusion and exclusion. We will share about the current state of the denomination, and we will discuss different options for Two Rivers Church moving forward.

This is intended to be the beginning of a process. No long-term decisions will be made. No declarative statements will be made. This is a chance to ask the Holy Spirit to appear and help us to articulate our visions of our young people and the dreams of our elders. All are invited to this conversation that will take place shortly after worship on June 5