Rev. Joseph Kim on the Recent Special General Conference
Yesterday, one of my colleagues in ministry, Rev. Joseph Kim, wrote this statement on Facebook in response to the UMC’s Special General Conference. With his permission I am sharing it with you because in many ways Bear Creek UMC and Bothell UMC are similar in our understanding of inclusion. Like Bear Creek UMC, Bothell UMC has a Welcome Statement. Like Bear Creek UMC, Bothell UMC has a lead pastor and staff who are committed whole-heartedly to this statement. I would add that most of the UM churches in the Western Jurisdiction are feeling and responding much the same way. I want to thank Rev. Joseph Kim for his words here and link my heart with his in this sharing.
It's late and I'm still processing the last few days of the United Methodist Church's Special General Conference, so just a few thoughts. A lot has happened - conversations were had, votes were held, and rulings were made... and frankly, there is a lot more to sort out. There are still issues to be resolved about constitutionality and rules, processes and procedures. Frankly, no one can truly know what will be of the United Methodist Church tomorrow, but I know three things:
1. Judgments were made of a person's sacred worth, specifically our LGBTQI+ siblings, and that is simply not ok. You are loved. You are loved. You are loved. Period.
I am sorry for the ways our church has dehumanized you: I see you and I love you.
2. Bothell United Methodist Church will continue to be perfected by grace as we strive to more faithfully live into our Welcome Statement and who we believe God is calling us to be. Our identity as a welcoming and affirming people will not change; nothing anyone says will change that. You are welcome here. You belong here. Full stop.
Our Welcome Statement:
Bothell United Methodist Church affirms that God’s grace and peace are freely given to everyone. God's gifts are not limited by a person's economic means, health or social condition. Our hearts, minds, and doors are always open to people of all ages, abilities, races, nationalities, sexual orientations, gender identities and marital status.
We invite you to join us as we strive to live out our purpose of "Becoming Christ in the Community." With God’s guidance and strength, we can transform the world. Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, know that you are welcome here.
3. I promise to do my part in challenging the status quo of our society and our world, to repent, and to work towards the Beloved Community where all God's children - ALL GOD'S CHILDREN - are welcome and know that they are loved. And, I will continue to trust where the Spirit leads. I know that God is not done with us yet, and that we are constantly being invited to partner with what God is already doing for transformation in the world. Sadly, we aren't always faithful - we hurt each other, we condemn each other, we don't always love God and we certainly don't always love people. My hope and prayer is that we lean into God's grace which is bigger than... God's love which is greater than... God's church which is more than... May we be faithful, listening to the nudges of the Spirit, and allowing Her to work in us, and through us, and for us so that all will truly be affirmed as Beloved.
Your friend and pastor, learning to move forward in love and inclusion, Brook
PS: Our worship service on Sunday will be intentional in it’s attempt to respond to what happened at this General Conference. We at Bear Creek UMC will continue to move forward with the love, welcome, and inclusion of Jesus Christ. Please come join us as we pronounce the inclusive love of Christ.