Since the conclusion of the Called General Conference, questions and concerns have been raised about the future of the United Methodist Church. We are now in a waiting game of what is to happen with the future concerning the church and the unity of the UMC.
While this is happening, Cave Spring UMC and its pastors wanted to insure our church family and friends that while this period of unknown is happening, CSUMC will continue to be the church that it always has been.
This was reinforced by a letter sent out to the church congregation from our Pastors to make it known the intention and welcoming spirit of CSUMC.
We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health and spirit.
Over these last two days since the ending of General Conference our hearts have been heavy. Like our Bishop, we prayed for a miracle that would expand our UMC connection to embrace all of God’s children fully. Like many of you, we are pained and disappointed that GC 2019 failed to do that. For others, the decision of the General Conference was not a disappointment, but a proper alignment. However, like all of you, we love Jesus and our church family.
As one of our clergy colleagues said, “this will be lived out in the pews, not in a conference”. This is so very true. While the global General Conference is the only body that can speak for the UMC, and the only body to legislate our policy, the mission and ministry of the UMC originates in God and is lived out in and through the people. The Cave Spring church family is a people seeking to “become LOVE (the love of Christ) to share LOVE (this same love of Christ). God’s love for us, embodied in Jesus, is agape. Agape is the Greek word for love with “no strings attached”. That is how God loves us. That is how we are to love. That is how Jesus lived. That is how we are to live.
At Cave Spring UMC we get that. That is how we live together, loving each other, welcoming all. Nothing is going to change that because that is who CSUMC is. For our LGBTQI+ brothers and sisters, both inside and outside the church, we love you, and pray you feel that love from your church family. Even though at this time, from a denominational perspective, it seems to come with a “but”, know that for your pastors and for your church family, our love for you (and for all) is agape—no strings attached.
This is the same message of love that we have witnessed being sent via social media from United Methodist church families all over our conference and connection. There are many issues and questions still to be answered, even though GC2019 has concluded. The Traditional Plan, which passed 53% to 47%, is headed to the Judicial Council in April to rule on its constitutionality. Churches, pastors and laity are questioning whether this “connection” is going to hold, and if they can faithfully remain connected to it. Please know that your pastors are here for you for conversation, questions or even just a hug.
You know though, God isn’t done with us yet. God does the very best work in the midst of our mess. There is much to pray about in the days ahead of us, and pray we must. There is much work to do, in reaching out to our neighbors. There are children who will be needing their “backpack” of food for the weekend and dinner to be served at the Rescue Mission. There are families who will need dinner and fellowship at Kids Soar and care to be shared with the homebound and sick. There are songs to be sung and Scripture to be read. There are hands to be held, stories to be heard, and tears to be shared. And, most of all, there is Jesus, who is standing in this rocky boat with us, and will see us safe to shore. In the meantime, let us love as Jesus commands us to: “Love one another, as I have loved you. By this, they will know you follow me.” (John 13:34-35).
Loving like Jesus, together with you,
Pastor Denise, Pastor Joanna, and Pastor