Dear friend in Christ, I am writing in support of a new proposal that has been put forth by a diverse group of representatives from United Methodist advocacy groups with contrasting views and bishops from around the world have collaborated on a proposed agreement for the separation of The United Methodist Church (UMC) that has the unanimous support of all the parties involved. The agreement, the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, was achieved on December 17, 2019, and announced January 3, 2020. The action comes amid heightened tensions in the church over conflicting views related to human sexuality after the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference failed to resolve differences among church members. Legislation to implement the Protocol statement — an eight-page document detailing the terms of a split of the 13+ million-member denomination — is expected to come before the United Methodist General Conference for a vote at their legislative meeting in Minneapolis, Minn. in May 2020. Full information regarding this proposal is posted on the website for “East Ohio Annual Conference United Methodist Church.” Please go to the website for further information.
What follows is my personal view of our current situation given with a view toward hope, healing, reconciliation, and peaceful resolution among all of us called United Methodists.
I have been a pastor in the EUB/UMC connection since 1963. Have served as a lead pastor (35 years), a district superintendent (seven years) and a visitation pastor (11 years). I have a strong commitment to the local United Methodist Church in which I hold membership and will remain a member of that church regardless of the outcome of General Conference 2020 or any future decisions my local church might make as a result. I believe strongly in an inclusive church that welcomes all persons to be full members and elected leaders regardless of race, color, national origin, economic condition, or sexual orientation. Personally, I am a life long “Traditionalist” and cannot bring myself to the point of performing same sex marriages. Nevertheless, I am very open to same sex married couples being full members and leaders in the local church where I belong. Is it not just and right that I too should be included, as a Traditionalist, in the church?
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Dale R. Turner|
Wadsworth UMC, Wadsworth Ohio