“The bishops of The United Methodist Church have certified that the proposed amendment 1 to the denomination’s constitution has been rejected by a vote of 25,764 to 23,614. Imagine building a church advertising campaign around that vote. What might you say?” – Jim Winkler
Jim Winkler, Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society, goes on to offer a few suggestions as to how we might advertise around these particular voting results. One could chuckle at his suggestions if they didn’t so perfectly represent what these results truly communicate. I’m afraid that Winkler is right on the mark. This is the message the United Methodist Church is sending to the world.
Last week, when I learned the results I spent the rest of the day fighting tears that seemed to show up at the most inopportune times – including during my 3rd grader’s Honor Choir concert. In that setting, if anyone had noticed, I could have passed off my tears as pride in my daughter. But those who know me probably wouldn’t have bought it.
To be honest, I never expected Amendment 1 to get the 2/3rds vote required to ratify what the General Conference had done in 2008. A well-funded mis-information campaign was launched before I even returned home from GC (Fort Worth) that spring, and forces continued to spread falsehoods about the effects of the amendment right up until the voting took place at each of our annual conference gatherings around the globe. I did, however, expect that at least a majority of my United Methodist brothers and sisters throughout the connection would vote to welcome all people.
I simply cannot accept that more than half of my denomination refuses to love and welcome everyone, so I must give credit where credit is due. Clearly, I misjudged just how far reaching and effective the mis-information campaigns would be. In my annual conference (Texas), 398 people voted in favor and 704 voted against welcoming all people into Christ’s Church - not our churches, we should note, but Christ’s Church. I find these numbers absolutely heartbreaking.
To my United Methodist siblings, who claim to be disciples of Jesus Christ working together for the transformation of the world: we should be ashamed of ourselves.
To my United Methodist siblings, who claim to be disciples of Jesus Christ working together for the transformation of the world: what are we going to do about it?