The Journey Toward Full Inclusion Continues

As our denomination continues to seek a "way forward" in our ongoing sense of division over full inclusion of our
LGBTQIA+ brothers and sisters, there are a number of efforts underway in the life of our own New England Annual Conference to address our concerns both as laity and clergy about the direction the general church has taken.

Posted on this page going forward you will find updates and information about next steps following the actions of General Conference and the rulings of the Judicial Council. None of the items posted on this page is intended to speak for everyone
in our family of faith here at Cox Memorial UMC but is simply shared as signposts along the way on this journey.

What is true for our entire family of faith is that we are a welcoming congregation, open to all without exception and that we see each person as a child of God and of infinite worth and value and, to be fully included in the life of faith as expressed here in this
place.

 

Read the full text of the New England Annual Conference's Laity Statement HERE

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Feb. 26, 2019

God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
    though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble with tumult.

Psalm 46:1-3

Dear Beloved in Christ,
 
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
 
We have just concluded the special session of the General Conference in St Louis. During this gathering of the global church, we worshiped and prayed together and spent time in Christian conferencing, but much remains unresolved and unknown.
 
Though the actions of the General Conference are still subject to review by the Judicial Council, we return with a Book of Discipline that moves us further from full inclusion. This is disheartening at best and despairing at worst.
 
While our call as United Methodists is to do good, do no harm, and stay in love with God ... I suspect we have fallen far shorter on the first two than the last. I ask that we spend time in prayerful confession of the ways our church has caused deep pain to beloved children of God, particularly LGBTQIA and their allies. No matter what plan you supported for the way forward, remember that when one part of the body suffers, so do we all - and so now we are all in need of healing.
 
My prayers continue for our church and for each of you in this covenantal community, for all LGBTQIA children of God and their allies, as well as for those who are listening to our words and watching our actions.
 
I continue to pray for a day when we can live together in the unified Spirit in a fully inclusive church. I  celebrate the beauty and rich variety of gifts that God has created, and I have faith that God will create, in and through us, a beautiful incarnation of the Body of Christ for the transformation of the whole world. 
 
As you gather with your congregations this Sunday, I pray you will build up one another in love, caring for each other’s needs, and praying for God’s spirit to inspire you to witness to Christ’s love in your communities.
 
In the next two weeks, your superintendents, in coordination with our delegation to this special session of¬†General Conference,¬†have scheduled opportunities for you to gather for support, prayer, and ‚ÄúCourageous Conversations‚ÄĚ with one another as we process the actions - and inactions - of the general church and seek a faithful response. I hope and pray these will be opportunities for us to do good and begin to heal while we stay in love with God and each other.¬†
 
May our faithful God hold us in strength as we witness to the powerful love of Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, for such a time as this.
 
In Christ’s Love,


Bishop Devadhar


Bishop's Office

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar

Erica Robinson-Johnson Assistant to the Bishop/DCM Phone: (978) 682-7555 ext. 251
erica@neumc.org

Brenda Borchers
Administrative Assistant
Phone: (978) 682-7555 ext. 250
Fax: (978) 682-9555
BishopsOffice@neumc.org

Transformed by the Holy Spirit, united in trust,
we will boldly proclaim Christ to the world.

 

 

 

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A Message from the pastor, Rev. Bischoff

     For both clergy and laity in our local United Methodist Churches we find ourselves wondering what this week's action by the General Conference might really mean for us. For us at Cox Memorial UMC, being a welcoming and inclusive congregation has never been at issue. And for most of us, ministry is largely defined at the local church level.
     But this week, a "bell has been rung" at the denominational level that we cannot easily "un-ring" as local United Methodist pastors and congregations. No matter how welcoming and loving we will be toward all children of God, a message has been sent forth from the larger church that suggests our denominiation withholds             full-inclusion from some of our brothers and sisters. 
     I believe it is critically important to note that the Traditional Plan passed by a narrow margin of only 54 Votes!  But that data point has been lost in the headlines and the news reports. And, there is much yet to be decided about certain petitions included in the Traditional Plan as the Judicial Council (think highest court of the United Methodist Church) begins its final review.
     Today, I believe we must remain focused on the mission and ministry to which Jesus Christ has called us as the Cox Memorial United Methodist Church in Hallowell, Maine. Today I believe we must proclaim boldly our love and acceptance of the richness and diversity of God's people. Today, I believe we must use every human interaction we have in the days and weeks ahead to show that all God's beloved children are of inifinte worth and value to us and to the church that we love.
     This Sunday, March 3rd, we will gather at the Table of Grace to share in Communion. Is there someone from the Community you would like to invite to the Table?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Please click on the image above to read the most up to date news about this week's General Conference

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