General Conference, May 7, 2004
I'm exited and tired, exhilarated and numb. As we hit deadline for the final "Drops of Water," the General Conference is still in session with tons of work to do. It is hard to get a good sense of the state of the church. It is safe to say our stances are a bit more to the Right than expected, and the coordinating and oversight of boards and agencies could be more in the hands of the in-inclusive faction in the church. On the other hand, many extremely negative statements were defeated, and the moderate / progressives candidates dominated the final results of Judicial Council and University Senate elections. All current boards and agencies will remain for the time being and there will be no radical change in the distribution of Bishops. There has not yet been the complete Southern Baptistification of The United Methodist Church, but we are still on that path.
Thursday morning a powerful witness was presented to the General Conference by a multitude of faithful folk from Soulforce, RMN, Affirmation, MFSA, bishops, delegates, staff, and visitors. We not only encircled the bar, we rolled the river of justice through the delegate seating, around the community table, and among the bishops. We want to thank all those who made it possible. You know who you are. A special thanks to SoulForce for working with such integrity and honesty this week as they and others negotiated the action.
Where do we go from here? That is an individual choice. If all the progressives left the denomination today, I believe that Affirmation would remain within The United Methodist Church to witness, care for, and feed those baptized who come out and whose hearts are opened. The reality is that as a movement, we aren't leaving. We are continuing to celebrate the Spirit's movement in our lives and work to strengthen the connection between movements for inclusion and justice. For me, this General Conference is a time to reprioritize. I personally am committed to becoming active in the Reconciling Clergy, MOSAIC, and MFSA. This in addition to continuing in Affirmation. I hope to see many old and new friends at the Affirmation program retreat this fall and at MFSA's "Voices of Faith" March 31 - April 2, 2005.
Source: Drops of Water, May 7, 2004, GC 2004 Issue 8. Published Daily During GC 2004 by Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns
See also: Is It Time for a Schism? by Peggy Gaylord, Affirmation co-spokesperson, and Conservatives Consider 'Separation' of United Methodist Church, UMNS.