Friends, as many of you know this last Sunday UBC announced its decision with regards to her discernment process with the LGBTQ community. The following is the formal letter that was drafted and read by the leadership team on Sunday. An audio version of the letter and the sermon that followed can be found here.
UBC Policy Announcement
Four months ago, the leadership team stood before you and asked for your prayers and your voices regarding building use and pastoral autonomy for same sex marriages. We believed then, as we do now, that UBC is a place that celebrates intellectual and theological diversity, but felt that our ambiguity on these policies had the potential to create harm for those in the LGBTQ community.
It has felt, somehow, like both a long and short amount of time to spend in prayerful contemplation and action on such important matters—but, In these months we have been touched, time after time, as we have received your prayers and heard the many, and varied, perspectives of the people who call UBC home.
In this season of devoted listening—as your leadership team
We have tried to hear God through prayer and presence
We have tried to hear new perspectives from experts on our resource list and in our learning sessions
We have tried to hear the heart and the desires of the pastors and the people of UBC
In the midst of this, we have experienced so much charity for differences and so much, hope for unity --without uniformity. And still, we imagine our process in this season of discernment has been imperfect –and so we mourn for any voiced or unspoken hurt, we may have contributed to.
Today though, we enter a new phase of this conversation as we come to you with the decisions you have been waiting to hear.
On the matter of building use for same sex marriages, we have voted yes
On the matter of pastoral autonomy with regard to performing LGBTQ marriages we have voted yes.
Though it is not our polity at UBC to take congregational votes, In January we said that it was our aim to come to our best collectivetheological conclusions on these decisions, and so it is important to share that our votes were consistent with both congregational and pastoral feedback.
We know that for some this announcement comes with great joy and we sit with and among you today.
We know that for some this announcement comes with loss, and we sit with and among you today,
We know that for many this is a day of uncertainty or ambiguity, too much, not enough, or some other singular or mixed emotional highs and lows --and we sit with and among you too.
Our work here is not done, and no one, no leadership team member, nor pastor understands it to be. In fact, the pastors will talk later about dates and times for meetings and plans moving forward, so know that timelines and logistics will be addressed today.
But for now, as we enter the teaching moment, we would like to leave you with a blessing –the message of which might feel very near or very far today, for any number of reasons, but I will speak it over you now, that we might hear the truth of it together.
We are thankful today, for a God who sees us,
our comings and our goings,
our fears and our longings,
our convictions and confusion
our whole selves our broken selves.
We are not invisible, overlooked, or alone.
We are believers and receivers of Immanuel—God with us.
May we, in our humanness- minds, mouths, bodies, be now the physical manifestations to one another of these spiritual truths –
today, and each day, moving forward.