A Note from the Pastor


During the season of Lent, all 3 services, various classes and some groups are using Uncertain Times  by Rev. Magrey Da Vega to guide discussions and as a framework for considering those things that disturb the peace Christ promised us.

Embracing the Uncertain: A Lenten Study for Unsteady Times [Large Print]  -     By: Magrey deVega

Last week, we talked about desperation, such as the father experienced in Mark 9:14-29.  Many of us know what it is like to be at the end of our rope, to be desperate for answers, for some bit of hope or good news. In Jesus’ response to the father, we found hope and help for moving ahead in our lives.

This week, we think about our need to forgive and to be forgiven.  In Matthew 18:21-22, we are reminded that forgiveness is not to be hoarded and doled out like little trinkets or prizes, but to be given extravagantly. Jesus said we are to forgive 77 times, 70 times or 490 times, depending on your translation. Whatever the number is, the idea is that forgiveness is needed and given time after time that we may be made whole again.

Sometimes though, we refuse to forgive, and we hang onto our lists of slights and our grudges until we may not even remember what hurt us in the first place.  We just know we do not like someone or some people. May there be time this week for you to reflect upon the grudges and angers you carry, and may there be forgiveness.

At our Church Council meeting Monday night, we considered the fallout of General Conference 2019.  I shared the following:

The Traditional Plan was approved by a vote of 438 to 384 by the special called General Conference.  

At its most basic understanding, consequences and increased accountability have been added to sections of the Discipline related to homosexuality.   All along, clergy have been prohibited from presiding at same sex weddings.  We still are, but there are consequences for disobedience. All along, we have had prohibitions against “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals” as clergy.  That remains, but now the examination process is more stringent and demanding. It is a short explanation, I know, and there are longer, more detailed explanations available to you at 


The fallout from GC2019  is muddled.

Prior to General Conference the Judicial Council had indicated that portions of the Traditional Plan may be ruled unconstitutional when they meet in April. (Yes, the UMC has a Constitution. It is in the Discipline.)

According to www.umc.org, the Judicial Council will rule on those portions concerning due process, episcopal accountability, composition and responsibilities of Boards of Ordained Ministry, and so forth.  

The Traditional Plan will go into effect January 1, 2020, except for those portions of the Plan that are unconstitutional.  

Yes, some clergy, some churches and some candidates have left or are leaving the UMC.   Some seminaries associated with the United Methodist Church (especially public ones) are caught in the middle between UMC and US Law and may choose to leave, as the Law requires inclusivity.

In 2020, the next General Conference will be held in Minneapolis.  Growing membership in Africa has resulted in a 18 delegate increase for Africa and a decline in membership means a 22 delegate decrease.  (The delegates are allotted based on membership numbers.) Considering that the African and Russians delegates are overwhelmingly conservative, we might expect a continued conservative trend.

In June of 2019, Annual Conferences will elect delegates for the 2020 General Conference.

General Conferences are held every 4 years.  The one in 2019 was a “called” Conference.

So, for Surfside UMC?  Some have asked “When are we voting?”   We have nothing to vote on. Nothing at the conclusion of General Conference 2019 calls for local churches to take a vote.  

What we have is a mission from Jesus Christ to carry on, to make disciples, to love one another as he has loved us, and to trust that all of our tomorrows are in the palm of God’s hand.



Pastor Scarlett