Louisiana UMC | A Pastoral Message from Bishop Delores J. Williamston

CHARLOTTE – Bishop Delores J. Williamston shares a pastoral message from the General Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. This statement follows the action on Thursday, May 2, when delegates voted to remove harmful language known as the “Incompatibility Clause” from the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church (¶161).

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From Bishop Delores J. Williamston

The General Conference has been a powerful and pivotal event for United Methodists around the world.

The delegations from around the world, including those from the Philippines, Africa, Europe and the United States, demonstrate God’s infinite grace, mercy and care.

Delegates voted to remove restrictive and harmful language from the United Methodist Book of Discipline after more than fifty years of intense and prayerful debate.

We all know how powerful language can be, as many people deal with hurtful and diminishing language on a daily basis.

However, we are reminded of Jesus’ words to the community when he says, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

And one day we will all be held accountable for our language or words.

And Wisdom says: ‘Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.’ (Proverbs 18:21)

Yet, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are to be bearers of good fruits.

No one is incompatible with Christ’s teachings to love one another.

Bishop Delores J. Williamston

At this historic moment in the life of our church, we must recognize the damaging language of the “incompatibility clause.”

These words have caused intense pain for our friends and families who identify as LQBTQIA+ people.

No one is incompatible with Christ’s teachings to love one another.

We, the United Methodist Church, weep for the exclusion, pain, and hurt that these words have inflicted and perpetrated for so long.

Yet there is hope! And we are at a pivotal moment in the life of our beloved United Methodist Church.

It is time to reconnect with each other as the body of Jesus Christ, redeemed by the blood of Christ, to answer God’s call, make new disciples in new places, and promote health and wholeness by compelling others to Jesus to come to know Christ.

Friends, it is time for us to move forward with hope, to build, to connect and to equip all of God’s children to become disciples of Jesus Christ, being mindful of the language we use as we seek to heal the wounded – spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to transform the world.

So let’s follow Jesus Christ and transform our neighborhoods, communities, cities, and the world together!