Special Session 2019 delegates’ letter to the UNY Conference
March 6, 2019 / By Rev. Bill Allen and Greg Forrester
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As the leaders of the Upper New York delegation to General Conference 2019, we write with heavy hearts concerning the pain and anguish that our beloved Church is experiencing at this time. We have witnessed the division and disunity among those who are Christ followers, members of the same UMC family, yet who disagree about the future direction of the church. It is hard to experience the struggle of a church engaged in intense conflict. We want to strongly emphasize our deep love and commitment to all our LGBTQ+ siblings in the faith. You are precious in the sight of God and of us. You are loved, respected, and welcome.
We also strongly affirm the intentional relationship building and love exhibited by the delegates from Upper New York. Everyone, no matter what their position, went out of their way to treat their fellow delegates with respect and grace. Yes, we were passionate. Yes, we cared deeply about our various beliefs. Yes, we challenged each other in meaningful and reflective conversations. And in the midst of all that, we cared enough to tell each other that we loved each other, that we desired good for each other, and that we wanted relationships with everyone.
Upper New York was well represented by our delegates. We prepared thoroughly by reading the important material sent to us several months ahead of time. We listened carefully to multiple opinions shared with us in person as well as via emails, letters, phone calls, texts, etc. In Saint Louis, we worked hard to attend every worship service, every discussion, and every vote. We shared our thoughts and reflections on social media. Two of us attended additional meetings to prepare (if elected) to lead the legislative committee on Monday. Five of us spoke from the floor (possibly more than any other delegation). All of us prayed for wisdom and guidance from God.
We cannot thank you enough for all the prayers offered on our behalf and on behalf of the whole church. We truly appreciate your gracious actions and encouraging words. We will offer a report to Annual Conference that will incorporate more voices from our delegation. We are available to any who wish to share their thoughts and reflections. We were privileged to represent Upper New York at an historic gathering of the United Methodist Church. We were proud to be there on your behalf. We acted with integrity and honesty. We love God and we love you all.
Rev. Dr. Bill Allen – Head of Delegation
Greg Forrester – Assistant Head of Delegation