A CALL TO LOVE
Statement of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC) On the Plans for General Conference 2019
WHO WE ARE?
The Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC) is a group of organizations and individuals who aim to love our neighbors around the world and within our church. We follow John Wesley’s calls to do no harm, do good, and attend to the ordinances of God. LYNC takes its name from Matthew 22:36-40, in which Jesus calls his followers to love God and their neighbors:
Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (NIV)
As we consider plans proposed by the Commission on a Way Forward, we seek to do no harm to anyone in our church and community who is oppressed by racism, colonialism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, or any other discrimination that threatens the integrity of the Gospel. We seek to remove any language in the Book of Discipline that discriminates against any of God’s beloved children.
Our values are grounded in our Wesleyan theology: grace, dignity, relationships, justice, and solidarity. All plans under consideration fall short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23) We grieve systems of oppression, including the harm that the church is doing to LGBTQ+ people in our congregations and communities. The imperfections of the plans leave us with important questions from our values:
Grace: What expresses God’s grace and move us on toward perfection? Dignity: What brings dignity to God’s beloved people currently living in oppression? Relationships: What helps us respond to Christ’s call to be in relationship to transform the world? Justice: Can we work with the plans on the table to seek justice for all of God’s children Solidarity: How do we stand side-by-side to resist colonialism and support each other?
A CALL TO LOVE:
For generations, we have named God’s grace for all of God’s children and cried out for justice. We call the denomination to end harm in every place where the Gospel of love is preached. We commit to love each other and stay in relationship with the global Body of Christ. We trust in the wisdom of God and the power of the Holy Spirit as our sustaining hope for unity. We seek to remain in our beloved United Methodist Church with our siblings in Christ throughout the world. The unity of the Body of Christ has sacred value.
Just as Jesus prayed for all believers in John 17:20-23, we pray without ceasing for our beloved church and God’s beloved people. The world needs love, healing, reconciliation, and restoration. The world needs to see the love we preach so they may believe. Our baptismal vows and the freedom song of Mary which she sang as she carried Jesus in her womb invite us to boldly proclaim the Gospel of liberation for all the oppressed and declare that all God’s children belong to God’s table of grace.