Like many United Methodist Churches in the national capital area and across the United States of America, the United Christian Parish of Reston is anguished by The UMC's decision last month to adopt a model that denies full inclusion to our LGBTQ+ siblings in Christ. The Traditional Plan, which passed at the special session by a vote of 438-384, affirms many of the statements about homosexuality adopted by The UMC in 2016 — which, under Article IV of its Book of Disciplines, states that “all persons are of sacred worth,” and prohibits the exclusion of LGBTQ+ people or anyone else from worship, baptism, receiving the sacrament, or participating in fellowship within the church. Nevertheless, the Traditional Plan strengthens the church’s ban on LGBTQ+ ordination and marriage.
UCP is an ecumenical parish comprising four denominations, three of which — Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ — have already declared and affirmed their commitment to the full inclusion of people who identify as LGBTQ+. We will continue to accord the same rights and opportunities to all who chose to serve, worship, marry, lead, and fellowship with us. UCP's current pastors are not Methodist, so UCP is happily able to offer the sacrament of marriage to any LGBTQ+ couple that seeks to hold a wedding in our church..
The decision passed by the The UMC last month won’t be instituted until January 2020. Between now and then, UCP will join thousands of sister churches across the globe in a time of prayerful discernment for a way forward.
Many UCP members share the distress our Methodist LGBTQ+ siblings are feeling over these developments. The pastors and ministries of UCP will continue to be available to minister to the needs of all people As an ecumenical parish that is a participating member of the Arlington District of The UMC, we will continue working to create the kingdom on earth that Jesus inspires us to pursue. God is still speaking!