Service 8:30 am in Chapel and 10:45 am in Sanctuary.
WOW Service in Wesley Center, Sunday at 10:35.
Letter From Pastor Earl
May 2, 2019
A pastoral letter to the People of First United Methodist Church:
The Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church ruled that the continuation of discrimination against LGBTQ people who want to be clergy is constitutional in our denomination. Further, the ban on same-sex marriages being performed by our clergy and in our churches was also ruled constitutional and that discrimination will also continue.
HOWEVER, before someone starts writing articles and talking about this locally without me as the pastor of First UMC being part of the discussion, I want to make something clear. This will change NOTHING at First UMC. At FUMC, as long as I am pastor, we will continue to welcome ALL PEOPLE regardless of race, social standing, gender identity, sexual orientation, OR ANY OTHER THING SOMEONE CAN COME UP WITH TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST PEOPLE.
Our vows that we take when we become United Methodists said that we would “resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.” I believed these words when I spoke them. I believe them every time I have reaffirmed them. I will continue to do my best to honor them. No matter what the cost.
As long as I am pastor of FUMC, not only will LGBTQ people be welcomed as the children of God they are, they will be 100% included in the life of the church as any other person. Paul made it clear in his writings that there are many parts to the Body of Christ and I believe that if we exclude ANY parts of God’s children we are not being the full Body of Christ we have been called to be. That said, I cannot perform same sex weddings because I took a vow that says that too. However, I do have friends who can and will and so we will make sure your love is celebrated as it should be. Further, if you feel God has called you to be clergy, I will gladly help you answer that call, although it cannot be in the United Methodist Church at this time.
This decision by the Judicial Council is not unexpected, but it is disappointing. It appears from many conversations happening that change will happen. It also appears that will not happen through the old methods of being United Methodist. Please keep praying with me. Please keep loving EVERYONE with me. And please keep serving the Independence mission field with me, as we live out the call God has put on our lives. The vision at FUMC is and will remain, We Come to know God – and we Go to Love People! And this we shall do.
Earl J. Haggard, Sr. Pastor