I am sending you a brief video with some thoughts and a response to the recent developments within the United Methodist Church. Last week, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church voted to rescind the restrictive language in our Book of Discipline related to the ordination of persons within the LGBTQ+ community and the prohibitive language related to same-gender weddings officiated by UM pastors. As you know, the denomination has been debating its stance on these issues for 50-plus years.

Given this historical development, I’ve spent the past few days working through these rulings with the various lay committees of the church as well as our staff. We are extraordinarily blessed to be a part of a church that welcomes thoughts and opinions from such varied perspectives. I know of few remaining places—particularly in today’s hostile and combative world—where disagreement in thought does not lead to division in the institution. Praise God, Highland Park UMC is one of those places. We will always prioritize mutual concern over mutual agreement.

I have also included a short video from Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr., our resident bishop of the North Texas Conference. I am particularly grateful for Bishop Saenz’s acknowledgment and assurance that all churches will be allowed to continue to serve their respective mission fields as they choose. There are neither mandates nor open requests to change our current organizational culture.

Take a look at both videos, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Paul Rasmussen