Rev. Jim Powell - Reflections on General Conference 2019

From: North District [
Sent: Friday, March 01, 2019 9:41 AM
To: North District
Subject: Words from DS, Bishop, and others


Church Leaders of the North District,

   As most of you know, the Special Called Session of the General Conference in St. Louis passed the Traditional Plan by 53% to 47%. The One Church Plan was defeated by the same margins.
   These 50 votes were mostly from our brothers and sisters from outside the United States where cultural differences arise.
   The Traditional Plan keeps the restrictive language regarding homosexuality and the ordination of homosexuals in the Book of Disciple.    This plan also attempts to implement stricter enforcement of these rules for Bishops, pastors, and boards of ordained ministry. My heart is saddened.

   I am not grieved just because a plan that has been ruled 40% unconstitutional passed.
   I am grieved because some persons will not experience the love and grace offered by our United Methodist local churches because of the news of this plan.

   The debate over these rules of the UMC will continue and our disagreement on human sexuality will not stop. However, the local church has learned to overcome these differences for generations. 
   You are the Body of Christ in action and you are setting the table for all. Meanwhile, our public debate just further separates UMC sisters and brothers around the country and around the world.

   My heart is grieving because people are being hurt. Perception becomes a reality.
   Our reality as the family of God will not be revealed in today’s news stories. There are younger generations who will not consider the UMC a place of spiritual community and reconciliation because we are still fighting over these issues.
   The very persons who need the church will not feel that they can approach the UMC.

   I grieve for family members who are faithful to the UMC and who love their relatives who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community.  

   However, I am also hopeful.

   We serve in a part of the world that is striving to open the doors of the UMC to all who would come.
   Our local church ministries and missions are full of people who love the Lord and seek to serve alongside all other persons. We do not walk alone.

   Therefore, I am hopeful because I recognize that we are prayerfully making an effort to be the One Church under the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ.

   We are holding a Special Cal-Pac Worship Service at Pasadena 1st UMC on this Sunday evening (3/3/19) at 6:00 pm
   This is a service of unity, confession, baptism by the Holy Spirit, and healing.
   The theme is a Church for All because we see a new church.
   We are going to praise our Lord Jesus amid sorrow, celebration, grief, and reconciliation.  Please join us in person or through 
Livestream at:

   May God bring healing to those who hurt this day.
   May God forgive our sins when we have moved against the Lord’s will or when we have moved against each other.
   May God give us the peace we need so we can be the peace of Christ for others.


Peace for the Journey,

Pastor Jim

Rev. James R. Powell

North District Superintendent

California- Pacific Annual Conference