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News from General Conference: Let the Church Bells Ring!

Friends of Eastport United Methodist-

Exciting news has emerged from the UMC General Conference, our worldwide quadrennial legislative session, this week. These developments move our denomination significantly closer to the values we hold dear at Eastport UMC: radical welcome and love for all.

Here's a breakdown of the key changes:

  • Harmful Language Removed: Discriminatory language targeting LGBTQ+ individuals has been eliminated from our Book of Discipline. This is a victory decades in the making!

  • Clergy Equality: Clergy who perform or officiate same-sex marriages will no longer face punishment.

  • Local Church Autonomy: Churches that choose not to perform same-sex marriages are also protected from repercussions.

  • Funding Ban Lifted: Remember the "mythical gay agenda" excuse used to block funding for suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ youth in 2016? That's finally over! This funding will make a world of difference in supporting young lives.

  • Traditional Plan Rejected: The harsh penalties proposed for LGBTQ+ clergy in 2019 and those officiating same-sex marriages have been completely removed.

  • Ordination of LGBTQ+ Clergy: Restrictions on LGBTQ+ clergy ordination have also been eliminated.

These changes represent a historic step towards inclusivity and justice within the UMC. They align perfectly with our core values at Eastport UMC, where we believe in "a place at the table for everyone born."

We remember the disappointment of 2019's discriminatory legislation. Today, we celebrate the progress made and the opportunity to build a more welcoming and affirming church.

Importantly, these changes allow individual churches and clergy to follow their faith and interpretations of scripture while respecting the beliefs of others.

Eastport UMC remains steadfast in our commitment to actively welcoming and affirming people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. If you have any questions or want to learn more, please don't hesitate to reach out to me personally, our Annual Conference Delegate Michael Keller, or our Administrative Council Chairperson Jill Peddicord.

We'll celebrate this evening as the General Conference adjourns by ringing the church bells, today, May 3 at 6:30 pm. Nothing too formal, but you are welcome to gather on the church lawn for prayer. Let us rejoice in this progress and continue building a church where everyone feels loved and valued as we follow Jesus.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Chris

Below is video of Pastor Jenna leading prayer following a session at General Conference.

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