In reaction to the outcome of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church 2016, we feel called to be clear about the ministry of Ellensburg United Methodist Church (EUMC).
EUMC became a part of the Reconciling Ministries in 1997 not because we had a large number of LGBTQ members, but because we felt it was the only moral choice we could make. We reject the belief that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching”.
Using scripture, tradition, reason, and our own experiences we believe that the General Conference of the UMC has lost its way and we can no longer abide by the tyranny of the majority.
- We will no longer be silent.
- We will not leave this denomination.
- We will no longer be bullied by the General Conference of the UMC.
- Our pastors will minister to every member of this congregation.
- Our pastors are expected to perform marriage and burial rites regardless of LGBTQ identity.
- We will not accept pastors who will not perform those duties.
While we understand that there are areas of the world where pastors cannot safely in their own context minister to LGBTQ people, we expect the wider church to understand that we will minister to everyone, including our LGBTQ members and the wider Queer community.
We know that there are other forces in the UMC who do not want churches like ours to exist, but we will not go away and we will not be silent.
We fully support Bishop Hagiya and the PNW Board of Ordained Ministry who welcome all as pastors regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. We are grateful to be a part of the Pacific Northwest Conference that no longer persecutes pastors for doing their jobs.
We expect our Bishops, as they formulate “A Way Forward”, to remember the many small churches like our own. We and other churches like us will continue to do the ministry that God has called us to do regardless of the discriminatory statements in the Book of Discipline.
We expect our Bishops to provide a mechanism that allows individual churches to align with conferences or districts that fully support their ministry.
In love and exasperation,
The Church Council of Ellensburg United Methodist Church
Ellensburg, Washington State