On September 9, 2018 the leadership of Bethel UMC is holding a town hall meeting. Any who consider Bethel UMC their church home are invited to attend, listen, and ask questions. The following issues will be discussed:
The United Methodist Church is at a crossroads concerning the issue of human sexuality. In April of this year, the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church called for a Special Session of General Conference* to take place in February of 2019. This General Conference “will be ‘limited to receiving and acting on a report from the Council of Bishops based on the recommendations of the Commission on a Way Forward.’ The 32-member Commission was appointed by the Council of Bishops to assist the bishops in their charge to lead the church forward amid the impasse related to homosexuality. The Commission’s task includes examining paragraphs in The Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and exploring options to strengthen the unity of the church.”**
The legislation being put before General Conference delegates is the “One Church Plan”*** which seeks to keep the United Methodist Church in tact by allowing conferences and churches to decide how to handle the matter of homosexuality for themselves.
Two other plans will be considered – the Traditionalist Plan (keep the Book of Discipline wording the same with stronger enforcement) and the Connectional-Conference Plan (a mixture of several different solutions aimed at keeping the denomination intact).
Only the Lord knows what February holds for the United Methodist Church. If the One Church Plan is approved, we will have a decision to make concerning our stance on homosexuality. At the town hall meeting, we are not voting or deciding anything, rather it is an opportunity to know more about the issue at hand. Please come with a humble and discerning heart.
Thanks be to God for ministry happening at and through Bethel! Children, students, and adults are moving the mission to make disciples of Jesus who make disciples of Jesus forward. Each Sunday morning we have new guests at worship. We are engaged in mission and ministry in Mascoutah. God is moving through Bethel to make a transforming difference in our community!
Many of the ministries through Bethel relate back to our facility. Children, students, and adults gather at different times throughout the week (the facility is used 5-7 days every week). We host Classical Conversations, a home schooling group. They used the facility weekly for several hours for structured, communal learning time. We also host several Girl Scout troops throughout the school year.
We are incredibly blessed with our facility, though there have some significant challenges. Perhaps the easiest to identify is our lack of handicap accessibility to various parts of the building. These challenges need to be addressed. The town hall meeting will give us opportunity to identify and discuss potential solutions.
When you come to the town hall meeting, have in mind one way our building is helpful to the mission and one way our building could be improved to be more helpful to the mission. Again, please come with a humble and discerning heart.
Please put September 9 Bethel Town Hall Meeting in your calendar now. Thank you!
Andy Anthony, Senior Pastor
*For more information on what General Conference is and why it is important go here: http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/general-conference. For the press release calling for the special session go here: http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/umc-bishops-call-special-session-of-general-conference-for-2019
**For the full Book of Discipline Statements regarding Homosexuality go here: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/homosexuality-full-book-of-discipline-statements
***For more information on the One Church Plan go here: http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/bishops-propose-plan-for-way-forward