First United Methodist Church of Upland, California
UMC General Conference 2019
Western Jurisdiction Update
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Rev. Donna Pritchard
At the 2019 Special Called Session of the General Conference, Rev. Donna Pritchard, chair of the Western Jurisdiction Leadership Team made this statement on behalf of Western Jurisdiction Leadership:
"We have long appreciated the richness of the global diversity of our United Methodist Church and have embraced opportunities to join with you all in the work of making disciples for the transformation of the world.
"We also understand the purpose of the Church to be in mission and ministry. Consequently, we in the West have been functioning for years as One Church committed to full inclusion, seeking to be a home for all God’s people.
"Today we acknowledge the fracture of this body, yet we worship a God who tells us that the body of Christ has many parts, all equally valued. Rooted in Wesleyan tradition, grounded in Scripture and committed to mission and ministry, the Western Jurisdiction intends to continue to be one church, fully inclusive and open to all God’s children, across the theological and social spectrum.
"We know from experience we are stronger when we live together as progressives, traditionalists and centrists in our Church. Many times during this Conference we have sung or prayed or blessed each other with the reminder that we need each other.
In two weeks, the leadership of the Western Jurisdiction will meet. We want to be clear that the leadership of the Western Jurisdiction believes in one church for all. Mission and ministry is too important. This is where we stand, we are not moving, we are not leaving, and we are not changing.
GC2019 Bishop's Reflection: Tuesday, February 26, 2019
I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ!
By now you have probably all heard that the General Conference Special Called Session is now over, and the Traditional Plan prevailed (53% - 438 votes to 47% - 384 votes). Although it does have repressive ramifications to our LGBTQI community, the Judicial Council has ruled much of it unconstitutional. At the same time, this decision is also symbolic in its implications because it signals a turn of the United Methodist Church to a more judgmental and political entity that is against inclusion and for exclusion.
With this conservative turn, I have been deeply conflicted. The question is, “can I stay in a repressive and oppressive church with integrity?” After a sleepless night, I came to a new resolve. I believe I must stay in the UMC and lead our people within the geographical context we find ourselves in the West. We have been living the One Church Plan for decades, and I don’t see why we should change that about us. We live and let live and it is totally consistent with the theology of John Wesley.
We cannot turn back at this point. We have come too far to make this conservative stance. In fact, I don’t think that it is possible for us. I believe that even our more traditional churches have a deep tolerance based on our geography. I believe they know that we accept their theology and hopefully, we treat them the same as everyone else: with respect and dignity.
Now that the General Conference Special Called Session is over, it is time that we focus on what God is calling us to: Our mission and ministry in the very name of Jesus Christ! Nothing is more important than this. Nothing must distract us from this central purpose. Nothing must stand in the way of our ministries of compassion and care!
What I am calling us to do is to learn what God is trying to teach us through this Special Called Session and get to the business of being the church. We need to focus on making disciples of Jesus Christ. We need to engage our local neighborhoods and surrounding communities. We need to feed the hungry, house the immigrant, heal the sick, and preach the Good News.
It is important for us to confess our sins and shortcomings: Too many have been hurt and harmed in our theological wars. Too many have been hurt and harmed by being objectified by the church. Too many have left the church because they have not been welcomed or cared for. If there has been anything I have done personally that has offended or harmed, intentionally or unintentionally, I ask for your forgiveness. I pray that we will all seek such confession and forgiveness.
Most of all, we must turn to each other for healing and care. It is time to put our arms around each other and heal from harming each other. It is time for us to have hearts of peace and not hearts of war. It is time for us to support each other and care for each other.
Being away so long in St. Louis has drained and exhausted me. I long to come home and be back in ministry with all of you. I long for home where I belong.
Be the Hope,
Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop
Connect - Learn - Serve
Connect: It is easy to feel disconnected from people and from God. We invite all people to engage in worship, Sunday School, fellowship activities and service, as ways to connect more deeply with God and with one another.
Learn: As United Methodists, we believe that going deeper in our faith has us examining scripture through the eyes of: tradition, reason, and experience.
Serve: As we learn and connect, it is natural that we want to live out our faith. A key way is loving our neighbor and serving others.
About FUMC Upland, CA
The First United Methodist Church of Upland, California is a diverse congregation representing all ages and cultures, bound together by our love of God and fellow Christians. As United Methodists, we embrace the mission of the global church to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
The First United Methodist Church of Upland is a local congregation of the California-Pacific Conference of The United Methodist Church. Our church family is happy to welcome you to FUMC Upland, both online and in person!
Sunday Worship at FUMC, Upland, CA
Worship service is every Sunday at 9:30 AM at First United Methodist Church of Upland, California. Everyone is welcome. Come as you are!
Large Print bulletins and hearing assistive devices are available.
Sign Language interpretation is available. Please contact the office ahead of time so we know to expect you!
02/28/2019: The text version of "A Difficult Sermon" is available. The audio will be available on Sunday 3/3/2019.
02/27/2019: March Newsletter is up!