United Methodist General Conference ‘Draws the Circle Wide’

This morning word began spreading through the Eden faculty, staff, and students that the United Methodist General Conference, meeting in Charlotte, NC, had just voted to eliminate the ban on “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy.  The conference voted to remove penalties against clergy who perform “same-sex marriages.”  Derrek Belase, delegate and Eden D.Min. student, texted, “We’ve removed harmful language and restrictions from the Book of Discipline!”  Matt Miofsky, delegate and member of the Eden Board of Trustees, posted a live video of the celebration outside the business hall showing the impromptu singing of “Draw the Circle Wide” and a brief speech of gratitude by leaders of the Reconciling Ministries Network. They recognized the long journey and the shoulders upon whom we stand in this moment. Throughout this week of meeting, the General Conference has been reversing many longtime restrictions against LGBTQ members. More potential changes are to come.

The reaction at Eden joins the celebration and recognizes this sacred moment.

Eden’s President, Rev. Dr. Deborah Krause:
“Eden Seminary, proud to be authorized by the UMC as school for educating their candidates for ministry, celebrates this important decision of the UMC’s General Conference to step boldly toward God’s justice for LGBTQIA people seeking ordained ministries. With prayers of gratitude for all who have worked and kept this hope alive, especially the directly impacted, we pray for the church and its people to move with joy into the grace filled future this day promises. With this historic decision, Eden is inspired anew for the church’s call always to be reforming toward God’s redemptive love and saving purpose we know in Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God!

Rev. Dr. Kristen Leslie, Eden’s Professor of Pastoral Theology and Care (Harold Peters Schultz Professor of Pastoral Theology and Care) and leader in the United Methodist Church,  invites us to join in her prayer. “Today the United Methodist world community opens its arms to full inclusion by affirming the worth and grace of our LGBTQAI+ members and seekers.  Today I:

  1. Grieve for those who we have harmed with our exclusionary policies
  2. Ask for forgiveness from those we have harmed
  3. Repent for our sin supported by exclusionary policies
  4. Celebrate with open arms my Queer colleagues in ministry who have taught me so much about resilience and refusing to give up on the UMC community.
  5. Look forward to openly celebrating weddings for queer-loving friends seeking to show us that love is love is love.”

Keep up-to-date on the General Conference through United Methodist News https://www.umnews.org/.