The Covenantal Unity Plan (CUP) proposed by Dr. Bill Arnold is more likely to escalate the 44 year civil war in the United Methodist Church over LGBTQ inclusion than to lessen it. This General Conference legislation would enact severe mandatory sentences for pastors who officiate at same gender weddings. Many clergy would face immediate dismissal and loss of their credentials. This would only lead to greater conflict in our denomination.
Dr. Arnold is a professor at multi-denominational Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. I’ll be bringing my Tent Witness to the Asbury campus on Friday, April 15 to protest discrimination in our church and Dr. Arnold’s CUP proposal. I’ve been sleeping outside in a tent for the past 140 nights to symbolize how our church is pushing LGBTQ persons outside into the cold.
I will be directly affected if the CUP legislation is approved. I officiated at the same gender wedding for my daughter Sarah and Ali (pictured) in 2014. Last summer I officiated at the wedding of Rev. Hutchison, a gay pastor forced to resign from serving his United Methodist church. Because I officiated at two same gender weddings, I would lose my ministerial credentials and never be able to pastor in the United Methodist Church.
I love the United Methodist Church and have been faithfully serving the church as a pastor for 35 years. I’ve appreciated the theological diversity in our “Big Tent”. Unfortunately, the CUP legislation authored by Dr. Arnold’s would lead our church away from this. Instead, it would lead to four more years of a more intensified civil war. As I often say, “Lord, help us.”