A Pastoral Letter to Oak Hill
As you may know, a Special Session of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church was held in St. Louis in late February. The purpose of this meeting was to address our denomination’s ministry to and with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. This is something we have been wrestling with in our own church for years.
The Church we love, were baptized, confirmed, and ordained in — this imperfect body of faith may no longer be united. The General Conference rejected an option called the “One Church Plan.” This was a compromise plan, recommended by the Council of Bishops, that would allow annual conferences and local churches to choose for themselves whether to accept gay clergy and officiate same-sex weddings.
We, your pastors supported this “One Church Plan.” However, it failed. In its place the General Conference chose another option called the “Traditional Plan.” This plan strengthens the anti-gay language in the current Book of Discipline and calls for mandatory punishment for clergy who do not comply. As we understand it, clergy may be asked to sign a statement confirming they agree with the Discipline’s statement that being gay “is incompatible with Christian teaching.”
We, in good consciousness, cannot sign such a statement. We have seen too many people, many of them young, harmed by this attitude.
We realize that some in our church may disagree with our theology and convictions. Know that we love and respect you. It’s because of this that we feel compelled to be up front and clear about where we stand on this matter. We feel grief that our denomination will cease to exist as it currently does. We don’t yet have all the answers of what this will mean and look like, but we’re figuring it out as information is available.
Regardless of what General Conference has decided, the ministry of our church must go on. Sunday is coming and we will all gather to worship our God. God is still faithful and has not left us or forsaken us. We will get through this as a family — it might be messy and even painful, but we will get through it. Please be in prayer for the United Methodist Church and for our beloved Oak Hill congregation.
Peace, Hope, and Love,
Jim, Katy, and Laura
Town Hall Meeting Presentation
The General Conference may have come to a close but many questions and fears linger. That's why it was so important for us to gather as a church family to discuss what happened at General Conference and where to go from here. To that end we held two town hall meetings on Sunday, March 10, in Fellowship Hall. If you were unable to attend, you can review the slides here.
If you have any questions or concerns, you can share them anonymously using the contact form at the bottom of this page.
Video of the Town Hall Presentation
Couldn't make it to the town hall meetings? We recorded the presentation and Q&A session for you!
A Lesson on Apportionments
In light of the vote at General Conference, some churches have started withholding apportionments. Before we make any decision on apportionments, we wanted to make sure everyone understands what apportionments are.
That's why the Church Council asked pastor Katy and our Financial Administrator, Angie Bragg, to provide a brief explanation which we recorded to share with all church members.
Questions Received From the Congregation
Below you will find a list of all of the questions received from the congregation - either handed in during one of the town hall meetings or submitted via the online feedback form at the bottom of this page. In order to be fully transparent, questions have not been edited and are displayed the way we received them. We will answer all of these questions as soon as possible. We will also publish answers in the Cornerstone Newsletter. If you are not yet signed up for our newsletter, please fill out this short form and we'll start sending that to you.
There are a lot of questions and few answers right now. As we figure out where to go from here, we promise to keep you informed!
Questions Related to Clergy
Questions Related to Homosexuality
Episcopal Church: In 1976, both the House of Deputies and House of Bishops voted for a fully inclusive Episcopal Church, stating, “homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the church.” Canon law includes “gender identity or expression” in its list of persons who are assured full access to the ministry of the church.
Presbyterian Church: In 2018, the 223rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to affirm its commitment to the full welcome, acceptance, and inclusion of transgender people, people who identify as gender non-binary, and people of all gender identities within the full life of the church and the world. It went further to lament "the ways that the policies and actions of the PC(USA) have caused gifted, faithful, LGBTQIA+ Christians to leave the Presbyterian church so that they could find a more welcoming place to serve, as they have been gifted and called by the Spirit.”
Questions Specifically Related to OHUMC
There once was a professor at a medical college who was lecturing his students about a very intricate life or death surgery. He said, “Once you have cut open the site for surgery you will have only two minutes to get in and do what you must do before getting out and closing the incision.” He concluded, “Since you only have two minutes, it’s very important that you go slowly.”
We understand the feelings of those who feel they must do something bold and significant. Whatever we do, let’s do it prayerfully and carefully. Let's think it through. Before jumping ship consider from where you are jumping and to where you will land.
Remember, we are not alone; God is with us. To borrow from the Taize liturgy, “All will be well, and all manner of things will be well.” We will make it through this.
Questions Related to the Vote at General Conference
Questions about Rev. Adam Hamilton
Questions Related to our Facilities
Questions Received through our Online Form
General Comments Received
Adam Hamilton's Discussion
Adam Hamilton, senior pastor at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, discusses what happened at General Conference, what questions it raises, and what the future of the United Methodist Church holds.
Share your questions or concerns
District & Rio Texas
Information on General Conference from the Capital District UMC and the Rio Texas Conference.
Information on General Conference from the United Methodist Church and its various bodies.
- • Ask the UMC: What happened at General Conference?
- • An overview of what did and didn't happen at General Conference
- • A repository of information on the Special Session of General Conference
- • A response from the General Board of Church and Society
- • Young People's Statement on General Conference
Information on General Conference from other United Methodist churches.
- • Adam Hamilton's Blog on a new United Methodism
- • Statement from Trinity Church of Austin
- • Statement from the Michigan Conference
- • Statement from the Executive Committee of the German Central Conference