ST. STEPHEN’S UMC STATEMENT OF RESPONSE TO GENERAL CONFERENCE 2019

BACKGROUND

The 2019 General Conference of the United Methodist Church recently adopted the Traditional Plan.
The Traditional Plan maintains language in the UMC Book of Discipline stating that the practice of
homosexuality is inconsistent with Christian teaching and continues the church’s long-standing
prohibition of the ordination of homosexual clergy and the performance of same-sex marriages. It also
made enforcement of those rules more strict, due to past violations of the rules.
Many at St. Stephen’s felt moved to respond to this decision and so the church embarked on a process
of discernment. We conducted a survey and held a series of small group meetings and, as a result, have
arrived at the following sense of who we are.

RESPONSE

St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church is a highly diverse group of individuals and families, from all ages,
races, and sexual orientations. We believe that all people are loved by God, and therefore we love and
care for everyone, no matter their background or sexual orientation. We love St. Stephen’s deeply; our
church family is a priority in our lives. There is a place for everyone here, and we want everyone to feel
welcomed and to participate. We share a passion for the Scriptures. We are committed to Christ, to
service, to growing in our faith, and to passing our faith on to the next generation. We desire to serve as
Christ’s light to the community.

In the survey conducted by the church, the majority of those who responded disagreed with the General
Conference’s decision to adopt the Traditional Plan. At the same time, however, many who responded
endorsed the General Conference’s decision. Some who responded were unsure. Our interpretations of
Scripture differ, but despite these differences, the responses to our group meetings demonstrated
overwhelmingly that we are, above all, loving and accepting toward one another and to all of God’s
people without regard to their sexual orientation. As a congregation with a long history as a church
family, this congregation believes that we can mutually agree to disagree with each other in a loving
manner, and with the utmost respect for each other’s opinions on the matter.

We resolve that St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church will continue to accept, love, and embrace our
LGBTQ members. We will continue to invite people of all sexual orientations into our church family,
as we always have. We will continue to discuss and engage in this issue as we follow developments in
the larger church. Finally, we pray for our church family, that we will continue to love and respect one
another, and that God may continue to be glorified through St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church.
Adopted by St. Stephen’s UMC Church Council on June 12, 2019

For more information on the development of this statement, including the survey, go to
www.ststephensfairfax.org/gc2019