February 26, 2019

Dear Belmont Friends,

As the General Conference of the United Methodist Church was concluding, our executive committee gathered Tuesday night at Belmont to begin discerning how to respond to the actions taken in Saint Louis.  Although we are still reviewing the full implications of what transpired, we believe that the Traditional Plan is incompatible with Belmont's mission, our Welcoming Statement and the Gospel.  Frankly, we, like many UMC leaders, are utterly stunned and deeply saddened, and we share in the hurt, anger and sorrow that we know many of you are feeling.  Perhaps God's prevenient grace placed General Conference a week before Lent, for surely the special session on human sexuality and church unity gives us much to repent and turn away from.

Our take away from tonight's discussion is our commitment to Belmont and our witness of God's inclusive love to ALL people.  Our Welcome Statement is unchanged.  We will not stop advocating, fighting and working until our church is able to welcome all people fully with no reservation.  We continue to believe in our core that all means all.  It will take time and prayer to figure out how we live out that mission whether within, or apart from, the denomination that we scarcely seemed to recognize this week.  We are disheartened but we will not waiver from our understanding of what Jesus calls us to do.

We need you to continue to stand with Belmont, worship with Belmont and support your church home as we offer a witness of full inclusivity to our village, our city, and our world.  The best way for Belmont to come out of our denominational struggle still being Belmont is for us to support our congregation with our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.

When tragic events occur, families come together.  Tomorrow evening, after our Midweek meal at 6:15pm, we invite our church family to gather in the Community Center to share, reflect and be in fellowship as we process what occurred.  Members of the executive committee will be on hand to help process our hurt and share our feelings - and most importantly to listen to all.  We are still Belmonters.  We still believe in fully including every single person in God's grace and love, and that is a constant that will not change.  Let us gather together and begin our own way forward.

Rick Keuler
Chair of the Administrative Board

Paul Purdue
Senior Pastor