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!

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

You can read the pastors' position in the top section of this webpage or find it in this pastoral letter sent out to the congregation on February 27th.
If a pastor were caught performing a same-sex marriage, s/he would incur a one-year unpaid suspension. If s/he were caught performing a same-sex marriage a second time, s/he would be defrocked. Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of the largest United Methodist church in the country, the Church of the Resurrection, discussed the penalties in detail in this video (cued up automatically). Jay Brim, one of the voting Delegates to the General Conference, also briefly addressed the penalties for pastors during the town hall meeting (the video will cue up automatically).
This is another question that Jay Brim addressed during the town hall meeting. You can listen to his answer in this segment of the town hall meeting recording (the video will cue up automatically).

Questions Related to Homosexuality

Questions Related to the Vote at General Conference

Questions about Rev. Adam Hamilton

Adam Hamilton supported the One Church Plan. He has been very vocal on this issue. You can read his blog post here and watch a detailed hour-long discussion he had with his congregation.
Adam Hamilton is the senior pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, where he preaches to more than 8,000 per week. He has written a number of books, some of which we have studied here at Oak Hill UMC. Our last sermon series was based on his book "Unafraid." For more info on Rev. Hamilton, please see his bio.
Here's what the Church of the Resurrection is planning on doing. We will keep you posted on what we decide to do.

Questions Received through our Online Form

I attended the town hall meeting and was disappointed and dismayed. Despite the cute remarks made by Don Inbody, I still feel that there is a small group within oakhillumc forcing their agenda on the majority. I failed to see how the statement welcoming everyone to attend church here translates to permitting gay marriage ceremonies and ordaining gay pastors. If the paid ministers at Oak Hill truly believe that homosexuality is indeed compatible with Christian teaching, I feel they should be replaced. I reference only one scripture, Matthew 19, 3-6: Jesus defines marriage succinctly as between one man and one woman. Gay couples are free to have civil unions and are protected, if not an overprotected class of citizens. However, a Christian marriage ceremony is a sacrament. Again, using Jesus as our example, he would not have performed a marriage ceremony for a gay couple. Obviously he would have loved them, treated them with respect and dignity. I also take issue with comments made that it was only the international representatives who voted for the traditional plan and that the US favors the more liberal plan. Was his comment intended to influence us, to say that well, since it’s heading that way, we should just along with it? As Christians aren’t we called to be diffferent than the sinful world?— Or in this case, the sinful United States? Don made a point of stating that in many countries homosexuality is against the law. Many countries are predominantly Muslim. Their view of homosexuality is far from the one reflected in our welcome statement. Again, welcoming everyone to the body of Christ is our mission. But, It is not our directive to decide to ignore the Word of God as it defines marriage. I asked questions at the meeting which were not addressed. It seemed that questions were cherry picked by the presenters. How does this congregation, the majority of members feel about this issue?
Answer to be posted

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.

A Call to Repentance

A statement written by members of the United Methodist Young Clergywomen Collective. Click for the full statement.

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