As Holy Week and Easter approach, I realize that church life might look different next year. As some of you know, our denomination, The United Methodist Church, has been discerning its future for a long time. Our denomination goes back to the life and teachings of John and Charles Wesley in the 1700’s and was put together in its present form in 1968. We don’t know what the next few years will look like.

At issue is the gulf between progressive and traditionalists over LGBTQ rights, in particular the ordination of LGBTQ clergy and a clergy person’s authority to marry same-gender couples. Our denomination has always been made up of followers with different theological perspectives. The United Methodist Church was formed with a “big tent” mentality that embraces everyone, but it appears this arrangement will not hold.

Following news that our denomination’s General Conference, our governing body, will not meet again until 2024, a group has emerged that is looking to
begin a new denomination, the Global Methodist Church, on May 1. The Global Methodist Church is seen as a more conservative alternative to the mainline United Methodist Church. This new denomination will have guidelines that are restrictive in regards to LGBTQ rights. Some churches in the Iowa Annual Conference may choose to join this new denomination.

At Lovely Lane, our leadership remains committed to The United Methodist Church and the Iowa Annual Conference. We are not looking to make a change. We also remain committed to a theology that embraces everyone. As our welcoming statement affirms, our church “welcomes, accepts and affirms all people . . .”

In fact, as a congregation, we are looking forward to the future with great excitement and enthusiasm. In our 60th year as a congregation, we are looking
ahead to the next sixty years. Plans are in place for Lovely Lane to take a survey that will help us decide future actions as a church. More information on this survey is located inside this newsletter.

As more information comes along that pertains to our denomination, I will share with each of you. In the meantime, let us keep our denomination, and our local congregation, in our thoughts and prayers! God is good all the time!

Grace and faith to each of you, Scott