The Special General Conference: How Will HUMC Respond?

The Special Session of the UMC is this weekend. Delegates from all across the globe will gather to examine church law concerning human sexuality and explore ways to maintain unity. Whatever the conclusion, many United Methodists will be angry and hurt.

If the UMC removes all language regarding homosexuality, many will feel we have lost  something very precious: the Bible. This is God’s Word to us, and to condone homosexuality is to ignore what God is saying to us.

If the language stays the same, the UMC will still consider homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching,” and the current restrictions regarding gay persons will stay the same. This will be painful for many in the pews. They will consider themselves members of a denomination that marginalizes a specific group of people.

I expect the Special Session’s decision will affect Huntingtown UMC, but to what extent?


Pentecost, by El Greco

I see HUMC as a theologically diverse congregation. Even though most people here do not wear labels, there are traditionalists, progressives and just about everything in between. HUMC does not live in perfect unity. I’m sure there have been many fist-pounding discussions over various church, theological, political and social issues.

But for the most part, that hasn’t kept us from being together. We serve on committees together. We serve area schools together. We partner with local ministries together. We repair homes in low income areas together. We support a community in Alemania Federal together. We prepare church meals together. We are family. None of this has to change.

Whatever the decision, I want to offer a few thoughts to Huntingtown UMC as we await General Conference’s decision:

  • There will be no “winners.” Many people will be hurt, angry and disappointed, regardless of the outcome.
  • HUMC can be a safe place for people to express their views: Let’s be quick to listen and slow to pass judgment.
  • Someone’s view on homosexuality should not be a litmus test: God has given the gifts of the Holy Spirit to everyone.
  • Talk to me. I’m your pastor and I want to listen to everyone.
  • The last one is the most important:

It’s okay to express our pain, anger, approval or disapproval at the General Council’s decision. But if that is all we ever do, then we lose focus on our God given mission: making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

I am very confident that whatever our denomination decides, Huntingtown United Methodist Church will still gather for powerful worship, our ministries will continue to transform lives, and we will still be a family that welcomes everyone.

About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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4 Responses to The Special General Conference: How Will HUMC Respond?

  1. Pat Miles says:

    So well and thoughtfully stayed. Thank you Pastir Corey for preparing all of us.

    • Carol Childers says:

      Does God in His Holy Word ever condone homosexual behavior? What does the Bible teach us? Has the UMC studied the repercussions of such movements in other mainline denominations to see the results in membership decline and loss of faith in leadership?
      Should we strive to make concessions to elevate man instead of our Maker? What other
      God-ordained protection will the church choose to discard next? Will we be encouraged to worship whomever, to lie, to steal, to murder, to commit adultery, to rewrite our Bible?
      I am one who remains in disbelief that my former denomination in which I was raised is still wrestling with this issue all these years. Navel gazing? Has it gotten us anywhere?
      Sola Scriptura.
      There are numerous fellowships that have not succumbed to the pressures that would
      please ……….who…..????
      Read. Think. Pray. Yes.

  2. eghoff777 says:

    I agree. The decision by the General counsel will produce no winners. People are going to feel let down on one side or the other. I think we should stick with what Jesus said. “Love one another.” and leave it at that.

  3. Pingback: The Special General Conference: How Will HUMC Respond? - HUNTINGTOWN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

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