Navigating the DMC – the Divided Methodist Church
Pastor Rachel Billups | Senior Pastor | Ginghamsburg Church
Our purpose as the body of Christ is to love Jesus and do something about it.
At Ginghamsburg we believe that God has anointed us with the unique ability to invite everyone to the table for faith, family and food. We’ve spent two years developing a deep commitment to hard conversations through the peace-making practices of ask anything, listen well, freely disagree and love regardless. We are a people who are called to be known for our radical Christ-centered love, not only in what we say or write or think, but also in how we live our daily lives.
As Jesus said, we love God and our neighbors as ourselves.
At Ginghamsburg, we want to be known as a church for people: a bridge of reconciliation, a community of 17th chances, a tangible example of God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. We are a Jesus-centered people. This is who Ginghamsburg is; this is what Ginghamsburg does.
And yet in the middle of our work, there are hard conversations that bring clarity to the mission and laser-sharp focus on the vision.
We are part of a larger denomination known as The United Methodist Church (UMC). Many of you have heard rumblings in the news about the postponement of our quadrennial world-wide gathering known as General Conference. General Conference 2020 was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and has now been postponed until General Conference 2024. Approximately 800 delegates from throughout the world are elected by their Annual Conferences to serve as delegates. Currently, no one on the Ginghamsburg staff or leadership team has been elected to the West Ohio United Methodist delegation.
The most recent General Conference was convened in 2016, and then a special General Conference was held in February 2019 to address growing concerns around LGBTQ+ inclusion. The 2019 General Conference resulted in further tension and division within the denomination. You may have read recently that a new denomination is being formed, The Global Methodist Church. Because General Conference 2020 has now been delayed until 2024, this new denomination has announced its intention to move ahead with its departure from the UMC, publishing a separation date of May 1, 2022.
Ginghamsburg Church has no plans to become part of The Global Methodist denomination. There are two main reasons.
- If we pray that God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven, how can we participate in the splitting of a denomination? Division is not a kingdom reality!
- Ginghamsburg has never been, and I pray will never be known for what we are against, but rather for who and whom we are for!
“There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were called to one hope when you were called — one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)
Friends, I know that the kind of faith community we are attempting to create is different. We believe that people who don’t look like one another, vote like one another, or even understand human sexuality in the same way can gather to worship God together. It’s different, but different is good! We are better together. We are the church where people are welcome to come and wrestle with their faith, their identity, and their understanding of scripture. If Ginghamsburg isn’t the church in our community that welcomes everyone to the table, who will be?
We believe and live that Jesus eats with everyone! If you haven’t been to the beliefs’ page on the Ginghamsburg website, then today’s the day to remind yourself just why you are a part of God’s mission at Ginghamsburg Church.
Let’s love Jesus and do something about it!
On Mission with You,
Senior Pastor | Ginghamsburg Church