Love Wins!!!

Dear Church Family,

What a week it has been!  General Conference has come to a close and we make our way back home to you.  While for many years, we have returned from these conferences with heavy hearts and deep disappointments, we come home hopeful, bringing with us some very good news indeed.  History was made, pointing us to the possibility of a much more inclusive and just church.  

All harmful language against queer persons like the incompatibility clause or the reductive and hurtful definitions of queer identity as “self-avowed” or “practicing” have been removed from the Discipline.  All oppressive or restrictive structures of exclusion directed towards queer persons like marriage bans, ordination bans, immorality charges, and wedding bans on church property, have been lifted from the Discipline.  Hooray!  Hallelujah!  It was thrilling to be there, to witness justice being built back, one small piece at a time. 

In addition to what was removed, there was a great deal of constructive work done.  Here are a few important pieces that were added to the Discipline:

        • an expanded and more wholistic sexual ethic
        • a pathway to the reinstatement of revoked clergy orders for those who were defrocked for either being queer or for marrying a same-sex couple
        • an updated call to racial justice and the obstacles in its way within the church
        • sacramental authority for deacons
        • the inclusion of gender as a characteristic of sacred worth
        • the approval of regionalization (more on this to come)

It is all cause for celebration.  And we will celebrate! We promise you that. But with each gain, there was a palpably felt absence for all those ancestors who did not get to experience this reinstatement of welcome and inclusion.  There are many for whom this has come too late.  We grieve those losses and we hold them with us, even as we take in the joy.  It is hard to hold both, but we must.  

The victories we can begin to enjoy now were only made by the tireless work of queer persons, justice-builders, pioneers, organizers, and allies who pushed the institutional church to a breaking point and then kept pushing beyond that.  With hope, with resilience, with pain, and with unshakeable faith, the collective of folks on the margins made this miracle happen.  And those of us inheriting this moment must be vigilant in continuing the work, aligning action with intention.  

We vow to be a part of that.
In fact, we can’t wait to be a part of that!

To all of you, thank you.  For your work, your commitment, and your faith in a God who loves us all…thank you.

Celebrate the new day!

Your queerfully and wonderfully made pastor, Lea 



UPDATE St. Paul & St. Andrew Church Council Proclamation on the Occasion of the Removal of Harmful Language from the United Methodist Book of Discipline and Social Principles at the May 2024 United Methodist General Conference.

With gratitude to God, and our pastors, who along with a host of others have long labored to seek justice for LGBQTI+ persons in the United Methodist Church, we give thanks. For K and Lea, who risked their own ministries and roles in the denomination, gave of themselves in leadership and collaboration to us as a congregation, the annual conference, and to the queer community, we proclaim our profound gratitude.

Let us, therefore, this evening during this gathering of our Church Council, May 6, 2024, offer this proclamation of gratitude – and renew our commitment as a congregation to be a community of radical welcome where all are valued because of who they are and the talents, gifts, and energy they bring. As a congregation, let’s continue to challenge ourselves to follow Jesus into the streets of the city to increase the amount of love and justice in the world through worship, inclusive relationship building and putting progressive Christian values into action.

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