Update March 23, 2020
Due to current health and safety guidelines because of COVID-19 (coronavirus) against people meeting in large groups, the United Methodist General Conference has been postponed.
Keep up to date with the current news.
Church leaders postpone 2020 General Conference.
Church leaders see need for pause
Post Dialogue group from February 27, 2020
Some additional resources to refer to.
This was a handout at the Dialogue meeting
VA delegation heads if you'd like to write to with concerns or prayers for them:
Tom Berlin (clergy lead delegate):
Warren Harper (laity lead delegate):
a link concerning the potential financial impact of GC 2020 - HERE
The next meeting of FUMC's Dialogue Group to hear from Pastors Gina, Josh and Jim on the Protocol and gain insight and understanding to the issues at hand, is scheduled for Thursday February 27, 2020 at 6:30 pm, in the Fellowship Hall.
Faithful & Inclusive Study group forming!
The Bible, Sexuality, and the UMC
Based on a desire to learn and understand more a Faithful & Inclusive study group will be running for 6 weeks, starting on March 4th at 5:30 pm in room 210. Join us for all or one of this 6-week class that seeks to take us beyond easy answers and provides us with a safe and gracious forum to consider new perspectives on the lives of those who are in our families, neighborhoods and churches. Through facilitated discussion, video teaching and the study of scripture, participants will join in a quest for deeper understanding. It does not seek to convince anyone of any particular view; rather it seeks to provide a method that allows participants to come to their own perspective. Sign up for the Wednesday dinner, pick it up, and bring it to the class (or bring your own, if preferred)
Questions? Email Dr. Rev. Mochel Morris
1: How United Methodists Interpret Scripture
2: Old Testament Passages
3: The Influence of Culture on How We Read the Bible
4: New Testament Passages
5: The Jesus Ethic: What Did Christ Say?
6: Where Does the United Methodist Church Go From Here?
NOTICE of LAITY SESSION regarding the Protocol
The meeting will be Sunday, March 22 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm at Wright's Chapel.
February 10, 2020
Rappahannock River District Laity,
As you may be aware, a Protocol of Grace and Reconciliation through Separation was brought forth as a plan to be presented at General Conference 2020 in May. There have been so many questions regarding what this will mean for the denomination, the conference, the local church, laity, and Clergy.
We, the Clergy Association along with our District Superintendent Charles Bates, want to make sure that you have accurate information, and can have as many of your questions answered as possible.
We will be hosting a laity session with presentations and Q&A with Ms. Martha Stokes and the Rev. Keith Boyette.
If you are unable to attend this event on our district, we invite you to attend one at another district. You can find a list here.
Grace and Peace,
Clergy Association President
Rappahannock River District
February 7, 2020
Meeting Summary of the Dialogue Group Session held on January 30, 2020. Facilitated by our Pastoral Team in Preparation for UMC General Conference 2020
Close to 100 people gathered in the Fellowship Hall for FUMC’s first Dialogue Group on January 30th. Pastor Gina opened the conversation with a prayer from John Wesley about wholeness in heart and likeness of Christ and she shared Scripture from Romans chapter 1 focused on the call within the church to mutually encourage one another in trying times. This Group was reminded it is made up of those who love this church and the UMC, and it will be a place for mutual encouragement. The Dialogue Group answered questions like, “What is the Book of Discipline,” “What is General Conference,” “Where is FUMC housing information” about this year’s General Conference and “What are the current plans” addressing LGBTQ marriage and ordination in preparation for General Conference. General Conference will meet from May 5th - 15th in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In comment during the information sharing, church members heard concerns and personal sharing from some LGBTQ members, as well as to had time to have questions addressed. Pastor Jim shared in closing about his hopefulness in God’s plan for the church, and Pastor Josh closed the meeting with prayer.
Between now and then, members of this group are researching and creating prayer ministries to help equip us for General Conference and beyond. Possible Bible and/or Book Studies that assist in our understanding of the issues before the UMC, and a potential support group for members of the church community may be formed. Please reach out if this is something you'd be interested in helping with.
The Dialogue Group will meet next on February 27th at 6:30, in the Fellowship Hall. It is open to all who attend our church. The goal of this group is to foster prayer and to offer education, mutual support, dialogue and preparedness for working together in love as we receive denominational decisions.
Documents you may find useful that pertain to the General Conference and current proposals.
Go here for a response from the Resident Bishop of the Virginia Annual Conference, Bishop Sharma D. Lewis.
Go here for information regarding location and details about attending the General Conference in Minneapolis, MN.
A LETTER FROM OUR SENIOR PASTOR
January 10, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
With recent events within United Methodism, I wanted to reach out to you as senior pastor of our church. I returned last weekend from a few vacation days following Christmas, in which my family worked on moving my in-laws into assisted living in our area from across the state, to news released on January 3rd about a plan for “separation” within the United Methodist Church, which made national news. This plan relating to ongoing division regarding marriage and ordination of LBGTQ persons proceeds the scheduled General Conference of the UMC in May 2020. With this news, it is important to remember that no formal action has been taken or can be taken outside of the UMC General Conference.
In an effort to keep our congregation informed, I would like to share with you links to the separation plan protocol and other official news from the UMC on this topic, as well as to ask you to be prayerful as we approach what I believe to be a critical time for the UMC. In addition, I offer invitation to interested members to join me in a group here at FUMC that will be in dialogue about this plan (and perhaps others) and that will commit to prayer and mutual support as General Conference 2020 approaches no matter what our opinion on the plan(s). My goal is to lead the church forward in the ministry of Christ, no matter what happens related to General Conference 2020. I will say more about the group I plan to form at the end of this letter, and we will also share information about the group through our church communications.
- The first link is to the issued protocol for separation . This is the actual document signed by 16 leaders across differing opinions within the UMC.
- The next link - News Service Announcement - provides information issued by our bishop and through the United Methodist News Services explaining the protocol.
- Finally, this article, from the UM News Service, offers a summary of some reactions to the protocol from across the UMC: UMC Response .
- On Monday, January 13th at 9:30am, the UM News Services moderated a conversation with leaders from those who back the protocol for separation. The link provided for this livestream can be found here: Livestream .
I encourage you to read these documents, as well as official UMC statements that will be forthcoming. I understand both our District and Conference will be providing further information as well.
Again, I provide the sources above to help keep you informed as the national news has had its own spin on our denominational situation since January 3 rd . I also want to reiterate that this information proposes a plan only. There can be no action outside of the General Conference of the UMC which convenes this May with worldwide delegates representing both clergy and laity. Leaders in our denomination estimate that if this protocol passes, it will not cause a “split” of the UMC. It will be more like a splintering if passed. The numbers I have heard associated of those worldwide congregations that may exit with this plan’s approval are between 6% and 20% at the most. However, these are estimates. Moreover, this exiting or “separation” may not only be from those who align as “traditionalist,” as “progressive” churches may decide to separate as well. Even with differing opinions concerning LBGTQ ordination and marriage (which are the central points of difference), reports say that many United Methodists feel strong allegiance to the mission of the UMC, its heritage, and a long-lived commitment to transforming the world for the sake of Jesus Christ.
As your senior pastor, I cannot say that our current situation in the UMC does not pose heartbreak for me. I see and feel pain. I hear the division. I have counseled lifelong friends at odds on these issues. I have served in the work of Christ in our Annual Conference with Rev. Keith Boyette and Rev. Tom Berlin who have found themselves on opposite sides of this long-held debate and now have both signed the protocol for separation, thinking it best for both traditionalists and progressives. All of this comes from the church of my infancy, my baptism, my marriage, my children’s adoption (through UMFS) and my ordination. Like so many of you, I love my church, its people, and our mission. Yet, above all else, I have allegiance to Christ.
In the early community of faith, the Apostle Paul struggled with the real and hard divisions between Jews and Gentiles, and in sharing that the Gospel of Christ was for all, Paul wrote, in Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” It is amazing to me that he wrote this in addressing the wide span of division between Jew and Gentile. I am sure he did not know fully how things would be resolved because they were so grossly opposed. However, he did put his hope and their hope in the right place -- in the power of God through the Holy Spirit. That is where I turn and lay my concerns, my own brokenness and even anxiety about the church, and with this, I look to a future of God’s kingdom advancing with hope in whatever form it takes.
In the interim, I will offer what I am calling “A Dialogue Group on the Future of the UMC” as place for holy conversation, study and reflection, prayer and potential planning from anyone interested in working with our pastoral leadership as we guide our church forward in these times. With love for their church, both Pastor Josh and Pastor Jim are coming alongside me in this effort. This group is open to traditionalists, progressives, moderates, and the uncertain or inquiring, if you are a member of our body here at FUMC. Last fall, I shared with our church council chair that I had plans for this group after the beginning of the year, with no knowledge that news of this protocol would come forth with January. I believe God was preparing us to come together and lead forward in this New Year. The “Dialogue Group” will first convene on Thursday, January 30th at 6:30pm in the church fellowship hall. This will not be a place to argue with each other or the pastoral team. I see this group as a place to come together in the love of Christ, to move a church we love forward in that same love, to seek the guidance of God’s Spirit, and to be prepared as well as we can for changes should they come.
Please know that I continue to look forward to our joined year of ministry together in year 2020. God is doing wonderful things through Fredericksburg UMC, and God certainly has plans we can trust for the future.
Much grace and peace in Christ Jesus,
Rev. Gina Anderson-Cloud
Fredericksburg United Methodist Church