Pastor Linda Settles
Green Trails Church statement on proposed UMC separation
Dear Friends of Green Trails,
Since 2016, The United Methodist Church has been at a crossroads regarding the status of the current Church, and particularly the Church’s stance on acceptance and the connectional ministry of LGBTQ+ members and clergy. In 2019, a special called General Conference occurred here in St. Louis that recommitted to a culture of welcoming to LGBTQ+ members and clergy, but extended punishments for those that violated tenants, such as conducting weddings of LGBTQ+ members. This decision put a further line of division into the denomination that pointed to separation of the church between the “progressives” (those advocating full, unconditional acceptance of LGBTQ+ members and clergy) and the “traditionalists” (those advocating for welcome, but conditional acceptance).
On Friday, January 3, the United Methodist Church announced a plan for separation, entitled, “A Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation.” The plan was conceived by a diverse group of respected United Methodist Church members that represented the largest groups advocating both sides of the issue, and members from our international membership. The group was mediated by Kenneth Feinberg, who was the mediator of the 9-11 Victim’s Fund, and respected by many as a keen and fair leader. The full press release regarding this plan in available at this link: https://www.umnews.org/en/news/diverse-leaders-group-offers-separation-plan
That same day, the Bishop of the Missouri Annual Conference, Robert Farr, released a statement regarding Missouri's status on the announcement, which can be found here. https://www.moumethodist.org/newsdetail/missouri-statement-on-protocol-of-separation-13135201?fbclid=IwAR2uKfx6vWVQdRkvge2njl-Yw7TBFmBRMYHht22f0UWz5KZqyA-m7PSD3jM
There is much to absorb, but the most important point is that no decision or plan is final until passed by the General Conference in May 2020. Our denomination is governed by the General Conference (similar to a Congress or Legislature), and as such, is the only body that can make decisions for the whole Church. Should this plan, or some amended form, pass in May 2020, it’s timeline for full implementation extends through 2024.
So, what does this mean for Green Trails Church at the corner of Ladue and Green Trails North Road, on January 7, 2020? It means, we shall continue our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the World. We shall continue our local missions and mission partnerships with Green Trails Elementary, Circle of Concern, LifeWise (formerly Kingdom House), Parkway Pantry, and Epworth. We will continue our amazing efforts at Dondo Orphanage in Mozambique through our Christmas Eve offering (Green Trails Church provides ALL operating funds for the Orphanage), with the Mozambique Initiative. We will continue our missions with Feed the 5000, Mobile Summer Camp, Trunk or Treat and Spring Festival. And we will continue to serve the children and youth of our congregation with ministry. Most importantly, we will continue to find ways to serve our community as a Church body. All are welcome here, as they have always been, and we continue to serve all.