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Why UMC?

Holy Trinity United Methodist Church follows God’s directive to love all and welcome all with open arms. We celebrate God’s gift of diversity and value the wholeness made possible in community equally shared and shepherded by all. We welcome and affirm people of every gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, who are also of every age, race, ethnicity, physical and mental ability, level of education, and family structure, and of every economic, immigration, marital, and social status, and so much more. We acknowledge that we live in a world of profound social, economic, and political inequities. As followers of Jesus, we commit ourselves to the pursuit of justice and pledge to stand in solidarity with all who are marginalized and oppressed.

At Holy Trinity United Methodist Church (UMC), in the early spring of 2022 we began a deep conversation about a few controversial lines written into our global denomination’s guiding rules, the Book of Discipline, in 1972. For over 50 years opponents to the wording “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching,” have been pushing back against that language, advocating for the full participation of people who are LGBTQ+ in church life, including being able to be ordained as pastors. As same-sex marriage became legal, advocacy grew to incorporate that as well. But the wheels turned slowly. There were many cultural hurdles to cross, and even within the United States there was division. Most recently, the pressure to change and affirm our LGBTQ+ siblings within the church has caused a splintering, a seismic shift that has led more conservative congregations to disaffiliate from the UMC and become part of the new Global Methodist Church (GMC), or simply leave the Methodist church altogether. Other UMC congregations have had to consider if they will simply continue supporting the current Book of Discipline, or go a step further and, rather than wait for the UMC to change the language, openly affirm and welcome all people regardless of gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, (also age, race, ethnicity, physical and mental ability, level of education, family structure, who are of every economic, immigration, marital, and social status, and so much more.) A team at Holy Trinity, invested in affirming all, worked hard for a year sharing information, having conversations, listening to concerns, and praying. Some had concerns about the Biblical basis of affirming LGBTQ+ people. Some who loved our church worried how things would change if we voted to affirm. Some felt we were already welcoming to everyone and that explicitly stating that we are affirming would invite unnecessary problems. Some wondered why it was taking so long, because to them affirmation was obvious. Some beloved people left over these concerns even before the vote. But to many, it was vital for Holy Trinity to move forward, to say definitively ALL are welcome, are of sacred worth, and called equally to be in community, regardless of what they may have heard elsewhere. On March 5th Holy Trinity asked our congregation to choose where they stood on the question of fully affirming. Over 92% of the vote was in favor. We are still United Methodist, but now we are also part of the Reconciling Ministry Network, advocating for change to our Book of Discipline, and opposed to limitations on the ways our LGBTQ+ siblings can be involved in church life, including ordination and marriage. You can see our entry on the Minnesota Reconciling Congregations website at https://www.mnrcumc.org/priorlake/.

We are not the first denomination, or even the first UMC congregation in Minnesota to do this, but we are grateful to be at this point of loving God and loving others as we have been called to do.

The Methodist church developed from the British Methodist revival movement led by John Wesley, and was brought to the American colonies in the 1760s. The contemporary United Methodist Church continues Wesley’s original ideals of study, service to others, and work on social issues, especially those connected with race, poverty, and peace. Women have been accepted for full ordination since 1956 and the first woman bishop was elected in 1980. Holy Trinity is part of the River Valley District (District Superintendent Rev. Michelle Hargrave), in the Minnesota Annual Conference (Bishop Lanette Plambeck), in the North Central Jurisdiction (Bishop David Bard, President.)