Dear Sisters and Brothers of the New York Annual Conference,
Grace and peace in the precious name of Jesus Christ!
A statement issued today by 15 pastors and candidates for ministry in the New York Annual Conference who are part of the LGBTQI community brings a new reality to an issue which is on the hearts of many United Methodists. We are not of one mind on this issue.
I am bishop of all United Methodists in the New York Annual Conference, no matter where they stand on this and other issues that divide us. Therefore, I plead for patience, understanding and a spirit of love among all persons: those who have made this declaration, the congregations whom they serve and who love them, those who believe they are wrong, and all of us who love God, love the United Methodist Church, and care about our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
I also suggest that we must call upon the historic wisdom of the church as represented by Bishop Francis Asbury who wrote, “If the church is ever healed of its wounds, it must be by the peaceable disposition of the pastors and people.” [The Causes, Evils, and Cures of Heart and Church Divisions]
I hope and pray that there will be a new day in the United Methodist Church where all persons are welcomed and fully accepted. As we continue to live together with our differences, let us remember the words of Paul, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” [1 Corinthians 13:13]
In Christ's love,
Bishop Jane Allen Middleton