After a heartbreaking decision at the Special General Conference Session in February it is vital to decide who we are as a church and how we plan to live out our faith as we move forward. It is not a hard decision for me. If I stay in the UMC then I must follow the only example I have in how I live. Jesus of the Gospels is a healer of the sick, a champion of the poor and downtrodden, a lover of souls and a fighter for justice. Jesus said we should love God and love one another. This is the greatest commandment and it is not followed by any ifs, ands or buts. No one is left out from under the umbrella of God's grace. God created us all and loves us all with an 'overwhelming, never-ending reckless kind of love' - a love that doesn't have to make sense and doesn't rely on our feelings or judgements. We don't have to agree on anything but love. If love is our top card and our bottom line, then there is only one way forward and that is to love and include all people in our faith family. I have married gay couples before, because like every other couple I've married, I was convinced of their deep love and desire to live in a committed relationship. I will continue to do so. I fully support LGBTQI clergy and and support their right to ordained ministry. I am proud to serve in a Conference that ordains those they feel are called by God to serve in that capacity, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Temple UMC became a reconciling church in the early 1990's, long before it was "popular" to do so. Temple has been open and inviting to everyone and holds welcome and hospitality among its highest values. We decided as a Body of Christ to live into the Gospel and follow the example of our Lord. There is no going backwards.