Christ’s message is one of unity, not division

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I am a United Methodist since birth. I am so saddened by recent events at the 2019 General Conference.

As a young child, I was impressed by the fact that my church allowed all people to come to the altar for communion. As a young adult, I believed that Methodists were forward-thinking, loving and accepting people. As a middle-ager, I am more of a realist.

I understand we all have different interpretations of the Bible, God and faith generally. But I thought by this day and age armed with the facts of science, psychology, historical perspective, human empathy and the overwhelmingly inclusive demand from Christ’s own mouth that we love one another, we Methodists could not get this one wrong. I guess I’ll never grow up.

A former college pastor of mine, the Rev. Vernon Tyson, preached inclusion and love of one’s fellow man all his life. At his funeral, Ned Hill emphasized that Reverend Tyson sought to erase the lines among us, he sought to unify and not divide. This is the essence of Jesus Christ.

I want all LGBTQ people to know that not all Methodists feel the same way. Many of us believe all of us are equally loved and accepted by God. Many of us want you to know that you are welcome in our church. Many of us want the church to get on with the business of loving one another instead of keeping a rulebook of what’s accepted and what’s not.

Please understand that you are loved fully and completely and wonderfully as you are. You are welcome in the United Methodist Church. I pray that my childhood church will grow and change to become a better version of itself soon.

Teresa Hales Peacock