We ask you to write letters sharing your voice and respectfully disagreeing with the Bishop’s recent decision to follow through on all charges and complaints submitted to him.
On Monday November 11, Bishop Saenz issued a letter to the Great Plains conference regarding LGBTQ ordination, same-gender weddings, and the implementation of the Traditional Plan beginning January 1. He wrote about the process of charges, complaints, and trials to provide clarity and information. He does see the process of complaints and charges as divisive, having adverse impacts, and drawing us away from the mission. Even so, he writes that he is bound by the discipline and will “respond to all complaints that are submitted” according to the church processes he vowed to follow in his consecration.
We respect his episcopal authority. We empathize with the difficulty of guiding and pastoring the entirety of the Great Plains, the whole divided, beautiful, painful, transformative, and tense bunch of us. We also disagree with his decision to process complaints submitted around LGBTQ ordination and same-gender weddings. He asks all sides to have patience. He asks for folks to prayerfully consider before filing any charges and for folks to “wait with hope until after General Conference to celebrate same-gender marriages.” In twenty years, 5 months may feel like nothing. But we know it won’t really be 5 months. Most GC 2020 legislation submitted involves another called GC in the following years. Which General Conference are our LGBTQ siblings supposed to wait for to get married in the church that baptized them? Which General Conference is our LGBTQ siblings called into ministry supposed to wait for to have the permission to exist authentically? To quote the Rev. Dr. King, who knew the pain of the word ‘wait,’ “we must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”
We ask you to write letters respectfully disagreeing with Bishop Saenz’s decision. We believe the least harmful path and most fruitful use of time is not having trials and not receiving complaints centered on same-sex weddings and the sexual orientation of clergy. We have included a sample letter and writing guide for your use. While making the ask, the most important thing you can do in this letter is tell your story. Share your narrative. Give the Bishop your voice to hold in his heart and mind.
Please send letters to the address below, postmarked by December 20. The letters will be kept safe at that central hub and then hand delivered when the conference office opens after the start of the new year.
Letter Writing Campaign
c/o Countryside UMC
3221 S.W. Burlingame Rd.
Topeka, KS 66611
Link: Sample Letter and Guide