Discerning a Way Forward
The United Methodist Church has been debating questions regarding our views of human sexuality since the late 1960s. In February 2019, a special called General Conference was held to review proposals and determine how we might move beyond this complicated theological issue. At the special called General Conference, a decision was made to maintain the restrictive language in our Book of Discipline that prohibits marriage and ordination for self-avowed and practicing homosexuals and added stricter accountability for violating these policies; this was adopted by a vote of 53% to 47%.
The people of the United Methodist Church, especially members in the United States were and continue to be divided over the decision made during the special called General Conference. Plans were made to continue working towards a way forward during the regularly scheduled General Conference in 2020. However, that meeting was postponed several times due to the global pandemic and has been pushed once again to the regularly scheduled General Conference to be held in 2024.
In November 2021 the Church Council of Trinity United Methodist Church approved the creation of a twelve-person Discernment Team to help guide the congregation through a time of exploration and information gathering to determine who we are as a church body and who we hope to be in relation to the United Methodist Church. The Trinity United Methodist Church Discernment Team has been formed to prayerfully consider our way forward for the future of our church in the framework of this current context for our denomination. Please be in prayer with and for our church as we discern our way forward.
Trinity’s Discernment Team
- Mark Limbaugh, Chairperson
- Meredith Buchanan
- Dan Carter
- Vickie Curtis
- Brian Erickson
- Cindy Geer
- Ruth Lee
- Fred McCallum
- Duane Shroyer
- David Siegel
- Nathan Smith
- Susan Wiedeman
In September 2022, Pastor Brian Erickson and the Discernment Team will lead a 4-week study and information session on the issues affecting The United Methodist Church and the way Trinity is discerning a way forward. Join us every Wednesday in September, 6:00-7:00 pm in the Sanctuary.
- September 7: Define spiritual discernment, and how it differs from arriving at conclusions or forming opinions. Give the most accurate and relevant information regarding the state of our denomination, and the history of our conflict on human sexuality.
- September 14: Explore the Biblical and theological underpinnings of our disagreements, and why these disagreements strike at the heart of our most deeply held convictions. Examine the Wesleyan approach to “our theological task,” and how that might inform the work before us.
- September 21: Discuss the New Testament images for the church, how the Bible instructs us to make decisions, and what those teachings might mean for us as we discern our future in ministry. Define the challenges faced by a “big tent” church like Trinity.
- September 28: Talk concretely about the current options before us as a church, and what each pathway could possibly look like for a church like ours.
- October 5: We are happy to announce that we are adding one final gathering that will be led by Bishop Deborah Wallace-Padgett! Make plans to come listen in the Oxmoor Campus Sanctuary as we all continue to understand the time ahead for the United Methodist Church.