Wednesday, March 20, 2019

UMC's Feb.2019 General Conference has not Finalized the Issues of
their LGBTQIA Members

The final vote of the specially-called General Conference of the United Methodist [Global] Church was a close one, but it continued to favor the policy of limiting the total faith experience of those of its members who are LGBTQIA and those who fully support those members. The plan which was approved was known as the "Traditional Plan."  Restrictions and limitations for LGBTQIA members first appeared in the UMC Book of Discipline in 1972 and it has festered ever since.

Of recent years, this quadrennial debate brought more and more talk of division and separation within the church. This General Conference was supposed to be the final say on the issue. Unfortunately, charges of bogus voting, mainly by alleged unauthorized and alternate representatives to the Conference has caused the very vote itself to be suspect in determining the outcome. One African Bishop actually authorized his son, serving as an alternate-representative, to vote, even though alternates are not authorized when the principle representative is present and voting. This is now being investigated.


Others are now questioning the constitutionality of the "Traditional Plan" based on the restrictions toward one group of people while stating that all persons are of "sacred worth." This has created yet another investigation. Conservatives remain on the brink of walking out of  UMC membership if the Traditional Plan does not hold up under constitutional scrutiny. The "One Church" Plan was based on allowing the Annual Conference level of organization to be the entity to determine for itself, issues of human sexuality, marriage, and issues of clergy and ordination. This plan did not receive enough support to win the "final" vote.

Progressives found the open and accepting attitudes of the Western Jurisdiction as a remaining hope that no matter what the total and combined church may decide, there will always be an alternative "connection" within Methodism for  a more loving approach to LGBTQIA members.

Since the Asbury Retreat Center (ARC) is literally a part of the United Methodist Church (UMC), the Silver Lake Daily Newsletter considers both obvious and not-so-obvious public issues of the UMC as a legitimate part of ARC considerations as a long time member of the Silver Lake Community and worthy of news coverage (ARC and SLI first acreage purchased from the Chapman family in 1872; religious programming begun in 1873; original charter given to SLI in 1857 while located in Bergen, NY by the NYS Legislature)

Although the Silver Lake Institute (SLI) legally separated from the UMC in February 2013, both the ARC and SLI biennially cooperate in, plan, and host the very popular 4-day mini-Chautauqua event known as the Silver Lake Experience (SLE). The SLE is well represented by WNY and Wyoming County residents; UMC members share in supporting this biennial event, the next of which will take place this summer, August 8-11, 2019 on the grounds of both ARC and SLI. The SLE is not a religious event, but nevertheless has been spoken of by those who attend as "inspirational," very helpful, and immensely enjoyable with special events planned as fun for all ages of the family.

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