|Many of our MFSA members and supporters continue to be appalled at the mean-spirited cloud that surrounded the recent UMC General Conference in Tampa. There was a need to recognize the pain that was created there, particularly toward our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender brothers and sisters, but also to all who believe God’s love extends to all persons. We continued at Annual Conference with the “Southwest Texas Love Your Neighbor Fellowship”, providing intentional witness through wearing of stoles and sharing resources between our conference MFSA and RMN teams.On Friday evening, over 45 of us gathered (over some great seafood) to share our concerns for our church family.Then on Saturday morning, Rev. Georjean Blanton and Rev. John Wright conducted a communion service of “Lament and Hope” that was very meaningful.
Before Saturday afternoon’s business session, a Justice Candle liturgy included the following: “We remind ourselves that all are children of God, regardless of age, race, creed, economic status, sexual orientation or ideological position. We seek the assurance of your love as we remember those who feel excluded by our denomination because of their sexual orientation, and we humbly seek to be in a dialogue of love and understanding to resolve the hurt that prevails on all sides. Our challenge is to be reconciled with all of our brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Following the report to the Annual Conference by the delegates to General Conference, Mr. Jeff Sturgeon of Travis Park UMC-San Antonio asked to speak as a point of personal privilege. Mr. Sturgeon spoke of the hurt and pain he personally feels as a result of GC2012, and asked all the delegates assembled “How will you express God’s love? What will be your Christ-like response to my family and those like me?” (full text) Then the Bishop offered a prayer asking for healing. During much of the afternoon session, our SWTX Coalition stood in quiet witness with signs expressing our concerns.