A word from Reverend, Dr. Allison Byerley, Senior Pastor
A number of years ago, I returned to the church I served in Houston for their 60th anniversary worship. A pastor from its early years returned to preach the sermon and he told a story about the impact that church had had on the city of Houston.
Methodist Hospital in Houston, like most hospitals in the 1960s, was segregated. As the civil rights movement gained momentum, the church lay leader, who was a local federal judge, came to the pastor and asked, "Does the conference still own Methodist Hospital?" When assured that it did, Woodrow Seals proposed submitting a resolution at the next Annual Conference session to end that practice and integrate Methodist Hospital.
Talk about bold! At the next session of Annual Conference, St. Stephen's Methodist Church proposed fully integrating Methodist Hospital, and it passed. Methodist became the first integrated hospital in Houston.
And it started with one church who had a passion for open doors, open hearts and open minds.
No, that wasn't our slogan then, but that church lived it already.
At Annual Conferences around the US, including here in California-Nevada, churches are reacting against the exclusionary, punitive legislation passed at General Conference in February. Delegates who believe in open hearts, doors, and minds have been elected for the next General Conference in 2020. And churches submitted resolutions calling for the repeal of the Traditional Plan and affirming their welcome of all persons.
Sometimes, problems can seem too big for one person or one small church to tackle. But we have to remember that Jesus came to a small, insignificant part of the huge Roman Empire, and, in a day without social media or TV, radio, or newspapers, the gospel spread around the world. God has a way of taking the seemingly insignificant and working through it to accomplish God's plans.
I am so glad that I am returning to Mariposa UMC where God is using this small church to accomplish big things.