St. Luke's Lead Pastor Jennifer Stiles Williams shares a message of LOVE.
Posted by St. Luke's UMC in Orlando on Tuesday, February 26, 2019
A Statement from St. Luke’s United Methodist Church Council
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church Council, having already voiced support for the One Church Plan, finds itself aggrieved that the General Conference of the United Methodist Church voted to adopt the Traditional Plan, further restricting conferences, local churches, and clergy from being in ministry of full inclusion with those whom Jesus loved and called us to love: all our neighbors. This love was modeled in the totality of Christ’s ministry and teaching.
The Traditional Plan affirms the language in the United Methodist Church’s governing guide, the Book of Discipline, that was added beginning in 1972 surrounding weddings and ordination of LGBTQ+ persons and will strengthen enforcement for violations of church law.
Over thirty years ago, St. Luke’s was founded to reach as many people as possible in Central Florida sharing the unconditional nature of God’s love. St. Luke’s still stands for those values today rooted in Christ-centered love expressed through Acceptance, Hospitality, Community, Discipleship, and Service.
We are heartbroken for everyone who calls themselves a St. Luker, the communities we serve, and our clergy. The Church Council prayerfully finds this decision incongruent with St. Luke’s core values, and most importantly, Jesus’ mandate to love God and others and to go and make disciples of all nations. This incongruence narrows our space and grace to be a theologically diverse congregation and calls us to apologize to our LGBTQ+ community and allies for the hurt which this decision has caused. St. Luke’s is centered in Christ’s love and we believe all are loved, worthy, and affirmed.
We covet prayers from all corners of our faith communities both for St. Luke’s as well as the United Methodist Church. This denominational impasse has been a stumbling block for too long, diverting focus from our mission and undermining our message of God’s love for all humanity. St. Luke’s endeavors to be a source of light and love for all people and we are encouraged by the outpouring of support from our congregation and local and global partners who embrace our calling to be in ministry with all God’s children. We look forward to emerging from this challenging time in our denomination’s history stronger and more steadfast in our convictions to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and love our neighbors as ourselves.
St. Luke’s worship services and ministries have and will continue to be environments where all of God’s children are welcome to discover what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and grow in faith. St. Luke’s will continue to stand as a beacon of help, hope, and healing for Central Florida and beyond. We trust that God is sovereign and while we do not have all the answers, God does. In the coming weeks and months, St. Luke’s leaders and members will begin navigating our way forward and will seek guidance from conference leaders. This work will include the following involvement opportunities:
– Wednesday, February 27 at 6:00 p.m., gather in the Sanctuary for prayer and healing.
– Friday, March 1 at 11:00 a.m., in Founder’s Hall or wherever you are, watch Bishop Carter’s address to the Florida Conference via flumc.org
– Sunday, March 3, worship as one church family in the Sanctuary at 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., with all of St. Luke’s pastors and music ministries.
– In the coming weeks, The Church Council will host a town hall to listen and hear from the collective voice of St. Lukers. Click here to submit questions for St. Luke’s Church Council.