We are leaders of a United Methodist Church that has stood at the crossroads of King Street and I-395 for 75 years. Just as those two roads have grown, like the Alexandria community we serve, our church have been transformed over those 75 years. We have become larger and more diverse and have worked to live in the promise that all God’s children are welcome.
Unfortunately, the global denomination has not moved forward with us.
Our recent General Conference brought us to a new, unwelcomed crossroads. It imposed punitive rules against LGBT individuals serving as clergy and prohibited our pastors from performing same-sex marriages.
A form of these prohibitions has existed uneasily since the 1970s. As we fought to change them, we and others have variously tolerated, questioned, ignored, protested against, and defied these rules. The new rules would silence all dissent.
These new rules would force us to accept an intolerance and bigotry that is contrary to our fundamental understanding that Jesus mandates us to love every individual as a sacred child of God. We do not yet see the path ahead clearly, but we know for certain that we cannot and will not be forced down this road of intolerance and exclusion. Like many United Methodists across the United States, we are considering the steps we are called to take in expressing Christ’s inclusionary love of all. In the meantime, we remain fully committed to welcoming all people without reservation into the life of the church.
Mary Beth Blinn, Lead Pastor
Devon Earle, Associate Pastor
Christian White, Minister of Congregational Family Life
Janese Bechtol & Gerry Herbert co-lay leaders
Fairlington United Methodist Church