General Conference 2020

My experience of life is a connected series of seasons – seasons of clarity, seasons of unknowns, seasons of peace, seasons of excitement, seasons of scarcity, seasons of plenty, etc… Life has been a series of everchanging seasons for me.

In one of those seasons of unknowns, I remember my Grandfather saying, “Marky, everything will be ok. Things have a way of working out.” From my perspective, I couldn’t see how things would work out, but I trusted my Grandfather’s hope and it turns out that he was right.

Once again, I find myself in a season of unknowns as we await the arrival of General Conference 2020 (May 5-15) where we will again try to determine a path forward in a denomination with different understandings around human sexuality.

There are many different perspectives, many different plans, many different approaches that will be considered at General Conference. The most recently publicized concept is referred to as the “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation” referred to as the Protocol. It is the result of a professionally mediated conversation between 16 people who approach this topic from completely different theological positions. Like all plans at this point, it’s a conversation starter. You can read it here.

The Protocol is a concept that allows for our one denomination to become two or more denominations. There is also an hour-long video that created showing a panel discussion with the members from different theological perspectives who came up with the Protocol. You can watch that video here.

I continue to encourage you to stay informed as this conversation unfolds. If you have questions, feel free to schedule time with me. I will do my best to answer your questions to the best of my ability.

As your Lead Pastor, I ask that we all be intentionally respectful of each other as this conversation unfolds. I think the most underappreciated fruit of the Spirit that Paul gives us in his letter to Galatians is “gentleness.” We can still be “gentle” in our conversations with others who believe differently. I think we need to get better at that because (just in case you have not noticed) we are living in a world that does not agree on many topics. I am going to choose to live my life in a spirit of peace – not angst.

In that spirit of peace, I would like to tell you about two events happening in March that I think you should know about:

First, there is a North Georgia Conference General Conference Delegate Listening Session at Griffin FUMC on Saturday, March 21. Go through this link to register for a few minutes to speak to the delegation as a whole.

Second, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson is holding a town hall meeting at Fayetteville FUMC on Sunday, March 29 at 3:30 pm on the future of the United Methodist Church here in North Georgia and beyond. United Methodist laity and clergy are invited to attend.

As my beloved Grandfather said long ago, “Things have a way of working out.” In the meantime, I will walk with all of you as your lead pastor in a spirit of peace as we navigate this journey together. I will strive to bring clarity and focus to our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world during 2020. And I actually do have great hope that things will work out – but not just because of my Grandfather. It’s because I know God is bigger than us. That brings me great comfort. Thanks be to God!

See you Sunday!