Grace       Courage       Wonder       Beyond
February 28, 2019
As many of you are aware, the United Methodist General Conference met this week in St. Louis, Missouri. Fifty-five percent of the delegates voted to exclude the LGBTQ+ community from leadership and full participation in the Church. The outcome of this meeting is heartbreaking for many of us.

The delegates at General Conference represented UMC churches in Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States. The majority of European and American delegates voted against exclusion, including every delegate from our conference and the western region of the U.S. Unfortunately, the majority of delegates from Africa and Asia, along with individuals from the U.S. voted in favor of exclusion.

A vote for exclusion does not represent the values of St. Luke's, and we want to be clear that the St. Luke's Clergy Team supports full inclusion of LGBTQ+ individuals in all levels of church leadership and church life. We are grieving with you in this moment, and we plan to stand firm in our commitment to inclusion.

The exclusionary and punitive plan passed at General Conference now faces legal challenges, and our Judicial Council (think Supreme Court) will rule on the legality of this plan in the near future (probably this spring). We don't yet know how that ruling will play out, or if the policies will ever take effect. Even if the plan is declared unconstitutional, the damage has been done.

Our Annual Conference and Western Jurisdictional Conference are working to determine next steps. The St. Luke's leadership - pastoral and laity - are beginning these conversations as well. We are committed to the values of love and inclusion, based on the teachings of Jesus.

In the midst of pain and anger, it is tempting to walk away, withhold giving, or make decisions before understanding the big picture. It is important, now more than ever, that our community stay committed to the values we have lived since St. Luke's was formed, and to the ministries that offer care and love to those inside and outside our walls. We remain committed to St. Luke's and hope you will as well.

Please know that we are here and available for anyone needing to process what has happened.

Grace and Blessings,
Revs. Jessica, Sallie and Ryan