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Discernment

Dear Trinity family,

As I have shared before, many United Methodist Churches are in a time of discernment about denominational affiliation.  For some time there have been disagreements over sections in the Book of Discipline of the UMC that govern our life together. Those disagreements are well documented but not always well understood. The most discussed have to do with sexual ethics, but at the core, the debates are about Biblical interpretation, what it means to love our neighbors, and what it means to live and keep covenants together. For a long time, the UMC has operated as a “big tent” denomination, where varying views were debated while we maintained our agreed covenant together based on the voting decisions of elected delegates.

For many years now that covenant has broken apart. The UMC is not holding the covenant agreements together. Even after decisions are made at the General Conference of voting delegates, regions of the church and leaders within it are operating in independent ways and not following the will of the delegates. Regardless of one’s point of view on the issues, this lack of unity has led to the splitting we are now seeing. In many communities, including in Southeast Texas, local congregations are actively discerning what denominational affiliation helps or hurts the congregation’s ability to be in ministry and align with God’s will. You will hear of many churches in our area and others who are moving quickly toward voting decisions. There are certainly timelines to consider, and at the same time I am committed to a loving, responsible, considered, faithful journey in discernment. It is clear to me that we need to do intentional learning, listening, and sharing in our congregation. We will take the time necessary to follow God’s will and gather as much unity as possible for our congregation going forward.

Over the past 6 months, I have held informational meetings and shared resources so that all have the opportunity to be informed. We have now formed a Discernment Task Force to gather information, communicate with our congregation, and learn more about our membership. This task group is doing the methodical preliminary work that takes time and comes before any formal vote or process that may be initiated. This group will report to your Church Council.

  Please hold these members of the Discernment Task Force in your prayers. They are trusted Trinity members and leaders:

 

Debbie Saladin – Chair

Charles Starcke

Mary Moses

Devyn Mitchell

Joel Koehler

Cindy Dishman

Rev. Dr. Tommy Williams

 

Trinity is thriving in ministry. Thanks be to God, we are growing, and we are strong as we move forward. My door is always open for conversation. Join me in praying and trusting God for the future.

 

Peace of Christ, 

Pastor Tommy