My Dear Siblings and Fellow Ministers in Christ,
Your love and prayers are most needed. When I signed the letter with 110 other LGBTIQ clergy and candidates I was afraid, I was risking my job and my future; I didn’t know how many others were going to sign but I knew that I needed to be one of the people to do it. I signed because I wanted my ministry to be steeped in integrity and honesty, no matter the cost. I feel safe saying that I and all of the 111 LGBTIQ UMC clergy that came out on Monday are so grateful for your standing in solidarity with us.
As fellow LGBTIQ clergy, I watched and prayed with the Episcopal Church last year, and the General Assembly of the PCUSA two years ago, and I will continue to hold you all in prayer as we all work to move our denominations toward better reflecting the beauty and diversity of the KinDom of God – we Wesleyans would call it “Christian Perfection”. I will pray for y’all and I covet your prayers, and should my denomination move to continue casting me out because it finds itself unable to live up to the calling of Christ Jesus; I pray you will make space for me in yours. Not space for me to flee, but space for me to send my LGBTIQ youth who need life-affirming ministry and couples that wish to be married whom I will be unable to serve faithfully. I have no intention of leaving my church, I will stay as long as I can and fight to make it a place where all can grow and all can experience the overwhelming love and grace of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of our God.
In baptism we all swore to “resist evil and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves”, and we LGBTIQ clergy have taken that call seriously and I am so thankful that even from a distance y’all are reminding that me that we are one body. We are many different expressions of one body, but we are still one, and your love and support is helping my part of the body be made stronger; I give thanks for y’all.
Grace and Peace to you all,
Pastor Jarell Wilson
Licensed-Local Pastor in the United Methodist Church
Certified Candidate for Ordained Ministry in the Rio Texas Annual Conference