Dear North Texas United Methodists,
The recent action by a colleague, Reverend Bill McElvaney, a retired United Methodist clergyperson in the North Texas Conference, in officiating a same-sex union has intensified our denomination's ongoing conversation about human sexuality and same-sex unions. His actions initiated a supervisory process required by P. 363 of the 2012 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church. Suspension as part of this process is not being pursued.
As we move forward, the Conference's response to this personnel issue is guided by The United Methodist Book of Discipline. Administrative and pastoral in nature, this process seeks a just resolution in which God’s work of justice, reconciliation, and healing may be realized in the body of Christ. It is my prayer that our members, both clergy and laity, affirm the goals of this process with their prayers and respect for the confidential nature of this process which seeks reconciliation as its ultimate goal.
As a bishop of The United Methodist Church, I realize that our denomination often finds itself in conversations about a number of social issues, including the evolving discussions regarding the church and human sexuality. Like any other body with a diverse membership, there will always be a wide range of deeply held ideas and ideologies.
My hope is that we will not simply focus on the differences with which we wrestle. Rather, by honoring the great diversity found in our churches and pews, United Methodists in North Texas will always remain connected to our most deeply held commitment to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with all people.
Together, let us be in prayer for our conference as we seek to engage in constructive conversations about the issues that face our denomination, the body of Christ, our cities, and most of all our neighbors. Let us also pray for our church as it looks to the Holy Spirit to help us navigate through differing points of view, understandings of the gospel, and commitment to our covenant together as United Methodists.