"To: The Congregation
and Pastor of the Prophetstown UMC"
I write to thank you for your many expressions of concern regarding the Creech verdict. I respect your commitment.
While your campaign is obviously the result of well-intended orchestration, I affirm your willingness to stand and be counted on an issue about which you have strong opinions. Your integrity is noted with favor.
Obviously, I am at a different place than you both as regards the issue of homosexuality and whether or not a special sesssion of General Conference should be called. I have stated clearly my personal position on homosexuality and my intent to honor "The Book of Discipline" in "The Reporter". But, I cannot in Christian conscience support spending upwards of $1 million for a special session to address one issue, while children starve, new churches need to be planted, many parishes need to be revitalized, etc., etc., etc.
I shall support open hearing, sponsored by the Council of Bishops, at which all sides of the issue could be heard both in preparation for the General Conference in 2000 and as a way for us to listen to one another and to the Spirit's leading. I believe that he Holy Spirit can lead us out of the present quagmire and preserve our unity in the midst of vast differences of convictions.
I respect the high road most of your letters have taken; however, I regret the low road taken by a very few writers among you, who chose toattack me. I regret the pain I must have engendered to cause the few in question to write in the way they did. To them I reply, 'Please know that this whole matter is but one small issue among a constellation of larger issues facing the church. Therefore, until I retire at a ripe, old age, for as long as I have strength of body, clarity of mind, reverence of spirit and peace of soul, I intend to serve as an active and, I pray, faithful Bishop of The United Methodist Church.
Grace and peace are yours in Christ's name. Thank you.
Submitted to the Confessing Movement by Carson Lauffer.
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