An elderly woman, an old-school Presbyterian, took a tumble down her stairs at home one day. She bounced and slid her way to the bottom landing. There she gingerly got up, brushed herself off, looked heavenward, and said, “I’m certainly glad that’s over with!”
I am not a Predestinarian Baptist, so whether God foreordained University Baptist Church to consider at this moment in its history the question now upon us, I won’t answer. The question now upon us is how UBC’s membership policy applies to openly gay persons, especially openly gay Christians.
How God works in the details of our lives may elude precise description, but this I can say without hesitation: God expects us to be faithful stewards of the Gospel in the day and time in which we live. A large majority of UBC’s Deacons discern that this congregation’s faithful stewardship means finding clarity about church membership and gay persons. This is why they are sponsoring the five-week Congregational Conversation on this topic beginning Sunday, September 18, and concluding on Sunday, October 23, as recommended by their Openness Task Force.
Letters went out on June 6 and June 29 detailing the work of the Openness Task Force, which the Deacons appointed. The June 6 mailing included a four-page “Questions & Answers” insert. If you have access to the internet, you will find a link on our church web site to where you can read these documents. If you prefer to receive paper copies, please contact Sue or Stephanie in the Church Office.
I became aware of the Openness Task Force’s work prior to being considered as a candidate for Senior Minister in the Interim. As a candidate, and then in the early weeks of my interim ministry with you, I said to church leaders that my goal was to serve the congregation in addressing whatever they described to me as needing attending to in these transition months.
Knowing of the Task Force’s work, I expressed that if the Deacons thought it best to leave this conversation to the next Senior Minister’s discretion, I was fine with that. Alternatively, if the Deacons believed it wiser to address this question during the interim, I was fine with that as well. My commitment was and continues to be, to assist you in doing in the interim whatever needs doing in the best possible ways that I know how. This continues to be my commitment as we approach this five-week conversation.
By October 23rd, we all may join the Presbyterian lady in lifting our eyes heavenward and saying, “I’m certainly glad that’s over with!” Why? Not because this will be a tumbling, slipping fall on our interim journey. Not at all. But it will be a challenge, won’t it? No doubt about it. It will be a challenge. So please join me in making this your personal commitment, too: I will help University Baptist Church do this in the best possible ways I know how. I am confident that in this mutual agreement we will do fine
Your Senior Minister in the Interim,