First Phoenix Forward
The Book of Discipline, United Methodists’ law and doctrine guide states in section 304.4, “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching”. It goes on to forbid ordination of LGBTQIA pastors and bishops, bans pastors from performing same-sex weddings and the church’s property from being used for same-sex weddings. The language has long been debated at general conferences every four years and an agreement about how to change the section was never reached. A special meeting earlier this year convened to vote on three plans. The ‘Traditional Plan’ which kept section 304.4 and added penalties for non-compliance was approved and upheld by the UMC’s judiciary.
The Traditional Plan Summary:
- Effective January 1st, 2020
- No LGBTQIA clergy or bishops.
- One year suspension without pay for clergy who perform same-sex weddings-first offense; termination for repeat offense.
- Provides process for churches to disaffiliate with UMC and keep their church property.
Action Timeline and Process:
There are multiple groups across the denomination formulating plans to challenge the Traditional Plan and/or create a new inclusive denomination. All UMC churches that vote to disaffiliate “for reasons of conscience regarding issues of human sexuality” must complete the entire process by December 31st, 2023. They must be up-to-date with their apportionments and pay an additional year’s worth of apportionments at the time of exit. The disaffiliation process starts with a 2/3 majority church vote, then separation terms and dates are reviewed by the annual conference board and the disaffiliation is approved after a majority vote at our annual conference. Once disaffiliation is approved, churches can choose to become affiliated with a new denomination.
Here at First Church:
Our church will continue to live what we believe as an inclusive congregation regardless of the passage of the Traditional Plan. Because there is currently a lot happening within the denomination’s move forward with regards to inclusivity, our church has established a task force to collect information, keep the congregation informed and to listen to any concerns. Our church will be voting to either remain in the United Methodist Church or to disaffiliate from the denomination. A date for our church vote has not yet been determined.
What You Can Do:
Pray for our church. Stay informed via our website, newsletter, bulletin, pastor, task force members and church meetings. Read a summary of what happened at the 2019 conference from UM News at:
http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/what-happened-and-what-didnt-at-general-conference-2019 and about the UMC Next Plan at:
Sunday Morning Coffee Lounge
Adults, want a spot to wait for your kids or significant other, or just to hang out? Head to Wesley Lounge between 8 a.m – 11 a.m on Sundays for a break, chit-chat or just to relax. This is not a class, just a chance to hang out in the air conditioning and maybe grab a coffee. A Keurig will be available for serve-your-own coffee.
Is God Calling You to Louisiana?
Join Sarg and Pat Magyar as they lead a mission team to Baldwin/UMCOR/New Orleans March 15-20, 2020. With extra day(s) to enjoy the sights and tastes of New Orleans, this is an experience none of you will forget. Come and be a part of our church in action at the UMCOR Depot Warehouse located on a bayou in Baldwin. UMCOR stands for United Methodist Committee on Relief. The work of receiving, sorting and packing emergency supplies is not difficult. Standing and sitting jobs are available. It will be the best $1,200 you spend next year. There are still a few spots on our First Church team. Please contact Pat Magyar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, there is a needle stick, but knowing your donation of blood is a true gift of life makes it easy to do. The next Vitalant Blood Drive at First Church takes place in the north parking lot on Sunday, November 17. You may schedule your appointment between 8:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Please look for the easel outside on the Friendship Patio or contact Robin Spencer. And remember, you will be rewarded with a salty snack afterwards!
Are you looking for an easy way to make contributions to First Church? Do you want a simple and secure way to make your gifts? There are a few ways you can get started.
Visit our website www.firstchurch.church and click on the “Give Online” link at the bottom of the home page. You may also click the direct link to the giving site. You can set up a recurring frequency or give when you want to just by making a “one time gift”.
You may also give electronically using your bank’s “bill pay” service. Many banks offer this service as a feature with checking accounts.
*All of these methods of giving electronically are safe and secure.