On February 20, we had the first meeting of the newly-minted LGBTQ study team, 9 of us from all over Canada meeting together by Zoom to talk, to plan, and especially to pray over our mandate as a committee. It was a very moving time for me, to hear everyone share their desire to help our movement become better-equipped to respond well to the LGBTQ people in our churches and in our neighbourhoods. A big chunk of our time was spent praying, as together we brought this task to the Lord and asked him to give us all the wisdom, discernment, grace and unity we will need to carry it out well.
Our committee is comprised of the following members, each of whom brings their unique experiences and perspectives to the table: Joan Stonehouse, Evan Garst, Cathleen Gletchell, Dustin Schellenberg, Greg Pulham, Alan Guenther, Amy Bratton, Derek Spink, and Dale Harris.
The mandate of our group, as we received it from the BOA, is “to develop a strategic plan for equipping FMC churches to engage with LGBTQ matters more effectively.” Our goal is to come up with a three-to-five-year plan that will include concrete steps for us to take as a movement, to help us better navigate the unique challenges and particular ministry opportunities that arise when we seek authentically to engage LGBTQ people with the Gospel of Jesus and the love of God.
The idea for this committee came out of the most recent meeting of the Study Commission on Doctrine in October 2018. At this meeting, there was a general consensus that our movement’s engagement with LGBTQ issues often comes as a reaction to cultural trends or a response to presenting issues, and is not especially proactive or intentional. Rather than “one more position papers on the LGBTQ question,” SCOD felt, what was most needful was a plan for engaging with these issues in more practical and proactive ways.
Please pray for the work of this committee. Pray that its members would remain always open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, that we would have our ears tuned in attentively to Jesus whenever we ask him what is the best way to show LGBTQ people that God loves them, and that our work would make a positive difference in our movement for the glory of God.