I awoke at 3:15 a.m. to a phone call. The nature of the call is irrelevant, but as I struggled to get back to sleep afterwards, I did what health experts say NOT to do. I looked at my cell phone screen, and as I did I saw an email from someone who had emailed me and asked why I didn’t post a blog yesterday.
I wanted to immediately email back with a fabricated excuse (because, you know, pride goeth before the fall), but the honest truth was that in the busy-ness of the day I forgot.
So here it is. Better late than never.
On Sunday afternoon, September 8, 2019, 322 people who love Jesus Christ gathered in the sanctuary at Linworth UMC for the purpose of a church conference. Our District Superintendent, Rev. Linda Middelberg, said in jest that it might have been the largest church conference over which she has presided. We gathered for the purpose of adopting our statement of inclusion.
While not all of those gathered were voting members, and we know that not all voting members were able to be present at the conference, 97% of the votes were in favor of the adoption of our statement of inclusion. The statement reflects the hard work of the Reconciling Ministries Exploration Team, the Administrative Council, and all of the members who prayed about and engaged the discernment process.
The statement is not perfect, and neither are we. Our statement of inclusion makes us a Reconciling United Methodist Church, not a Reconciled United Methodist Church. Our work is not complete; it is just the beginning. And for many people, it took too long for us to reach this point. I wonder how often we look back upon our shared history and think something like, “why did it take us so long to realize that ____ was an injustice?” All I can think of is better late than never.
Does it make the way that we have failed to fully embody God’s love in the past excusable? Absolutely not. But it does call us to recommit ourselves to the work that we know God is calling us to, which is to broaden the reach of our mission; the ways that we share in the love of Jesus Christ through Linworth UMC.