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rainbow church

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:


By now you are most likely aware of the very discouraging news coming out of the General Conference meeting in St. Louis. The Traditional Plan passed, while the One Church Plan which had broad support across the church and the endorsement of our Bishops, was defeated. The Traditional plan which seeks to enshrine discrimination toward LGBTQ people was largely unconstitutional and very regressive. The worst parts of the plan were not passed or are clearly unconstitutional and will not take effect. It has now been referred to the Judicial Council (our denominational Supreme Court) to determine its constitutionality. 2/3 of American United Methodists do not support this plan and did not vote for it. The international majority overwhelmingly did, representing countries that have very intolerant policies as far as LGBTQ rights are concerned. We need to wait and see how this evolves in the days to come.


With all of the negative publicity the UMC is receiving, many of us are horrified and deeply embarrassed. An article in The Atlantic magazine was entitled “Conservatives just retook the UMC.” This is not entirely true. They did achieve something, but far less than they had hoped. This has activated passionate resistance across the church among moderates and centrists, as well as progressives. As one person said: “What they gained pales in comparison to what they provoked.” People are mobilizing to rise up and resist the injustice and oppression that was on full display during General Conference.


Just to be clear so you know where I unequivocally stand, I will never lead a church that discriminates against anyone. I will relinquish my Ordination before I will be a part of an oppressive and unjust organization. I will never sign a pledge of conformity to exclude anyone. LGBTQ sisters and brothers will continue to be treated as precious children of sacred worth and will continue to offer leadership and service in our church. We will not compromise our commitment to full inclusion, no exclusions.


Last night at Church Council one of our highly respected Lay Leaders (who happens to be gay) said this: “My husband and I feel very loved at First Church and we are not going anywhere.” Thanks be to God.


What happens next? We will worship together this Sunday. We will feed hungry people, and care for the sick and sad. We will study together, eat donuts, laugh, cry and do our best to love one another and our neighbors in need. We will try to live and love like Jesus. I want to thank those visionary people in this church who did the hard work of helping us become a Reconciling Congregation. This means that we boldly and publicly stand on the side of inclusion and justice, particularly for those in our LGBTQ family who have been marginalized and demonized by Christianity for far too long.


The church split over slavery, was divided over the ordination of women, and now we will deal with sexual orientation. Our church will stand on the right side of history. Our church will be a light in this darkness. Love will prevail.


My friends please continue to support our church, we need you now more than ever. Pray for our church and it’s leaders, as well as Bishop Karen Oliveto, who is a competent, visionary leader worthy of our respect.


I love you, First Church family. Ultimately nothing can separate us from the love of God we find in Jesus Christ, not even the church.

Dr. Melanie Rosa,  Lead Pastor First UMC Fort Collins

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