First do no harm.
Stay in love with God.
—Reuben Job’s interpretation of John Wesley’s Three Simple Rules
In passing the Traditional Plan, The United Methodist Church has violated the Simple Rules put forth by John Wesley. The plan does harm, it does not do good, and it violates the love of God.
Recently, Mainstream UMC invited United Methodists to sign onto a letter “calling for a moratorium on all complaints, charges, and trials of LGBTQ clergy and for clergy performing same-gender weddings pending the outcome of the May 2020 General Conference.” This very popular idea has been supported by Bishop Ken Carter, the outgoing president of the Council of Bishops, among many others. In addition, Bishop John Schol of the Greater New Jersey Conference and the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops have released statements saying that they will not enforce unjust laws.
That is, bishops have a choice about if they follow the laws of God’s grace, or the unjust laws of the church.
In June, the Upper New York Annual Conference repeatedly voted its choice not to participate in the harmful and punitive policies of the Traditional Plan. This was our choice to make, whether or not it was ruled out of order. We also have choices about if we follow the laws of God’s grace or the unjust laws of the church, and we clearly picked God’s grace.
We call on all United Methodists in the Upper New York Annual Conference to continue to stand on the authority of God’s grace, and God’s grace alone. Our Social Principles say, “Therefore, we recognize the right of individuals to dissent when acting under the constraint of conscience and, after having exhausted all legal recourse, to resist or disobey laws that they deem to be unjust or that are discriminately enforced” (164.F). If any are asked to participate in punitive measures, we encourage resistance. We will not be moved, because our Resurrection story is that God’s love always wins in the end.
We, as Upper New York for Full Inclusion, ask you to stand in solidarity with the bishops doing no harm by signing the Support the United Methodist LGBTQ+ Safe Harbor Declaration.
We, as Upper New York for Full Inclusion, continue to urge Bishop Webb to follow the will of the conference and join his colleagues in doing no harm.