A word from Dr. Darren M. McClellan:

In my recent years of serving as a district superintendent in the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference, I appreciate the challenges surrounding the issue of human sexuality for United Methodists in what has become an ever-widening spectrum of interpretation.  Now, we realize, the denomination at large has reached a point of legitimate crisis as it continues to wrestle with the persistent dialectics of love and justice, grace and truth, and the question of their appropriate place in our present reality.

As we navigate these unchartered waters at the local church level, my intent is to host multiple sessions with no more than 20 persons at a time.

For the sake of consistency, I will be leading each gathering with the following agenda:

  1. A brief history of the issue of homosexuality in the United Methodist Church from 1968 to the present, with specific attention to the prevailing debate over ordination and same-sex marriage. (10 minutes)

  2. A brief synopsis of the various plans that will likely be voted upon at General Conference and an exploratory discussion of their various implications for the general and local church . (10-15 minutes)

  3. Two Questions: How does this information make you feel?  In light of this information, what is your hope for Fairhope UMC?

The goal of each session is simply to make sure that everyone is heard; that whatever fears or aspirations we may have can be named so that we might continue to move together in good faith with the love of God and neighbor.  In doing so, the intent is that we, the body of Christ here at Fairhope UMC, can build the resiliency necessary to affirm our witness and live the mission to “love boldly, casting the light of Jesus Christ into the world.”

In the interest of coherence, registration will be necessary and is available by clicking the link on the right.  All members of FUMC are welcome, with the understanding that there will be one session per person.  Sessions will be hosted in individual homes, with locations confirmed upon registration.  Additional sessions may also be forthcoming as necessary. 

The work of discovery, discernment, and engagement is not always as simple as we would like it to be, but I believe that these are important disciplines for the church of Jesus Christ.  Regardless of whether or not you feel compelled to participate in this particular conversation, I earnestly ask you to pray for those who do:

may the Spirit of wisdom and understanding rest upon us (Isaiah 11:2).