May 17, 2023

First United Methodist Church Lexington began working through a process of discernment toward our future denominational affiliation beginning June 2022. There was a first phase of podcasts, teaching times, and conversations through the fall of 2022. Since January, the second phase of our process saw our Vision Team and Administrative Council work diligently on a Theological Document that brings the teaching, podcasts, and many conversations together in one place. On Tuesday, May 30, the Administrative Council will gather to consider adopting the Theological Document as our foundational statement for today and the future. If you would like a copy of the document, please feel free to email me or any of our pastors. It is still in a draft form and changes are being made but we are happy to share it if that would be helpful for you. This document, once finalized and adopted, will be widely disseminated and much time with be given for the congregation to digest it fully. It will, at that point, guide our steps toward General Conference in May of 2024 and beyond.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in a study, sent an email, dropped by for a visit, and overall helped get us to this point. Many hands have made the work manageable. Many prayers have given the process a discernible sense of God’s work being done. Many conversations have shed light on and helped craft a document that lines out who we are as a congregation. While we have not taken a congregational vote, nor do we intend to, we have had vital input from the congregation: conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between. We have even heard clearly from part of the congregation who wishes we would get on with it already. Thank you all!

An update about the Kentucky Annual Conference which sets to begin on June 4. Approximately half of the churches in the Kentucky Annual Conference will be leaving the UMC at that time. That is not a typo! Many will be joining the Global Methodist Church while others will become independent. At some point the media is going to get wind of the split and I want you to be prepared and not surprised. We will be doing a public thank you to the Lexington churches leaving (St. Luke, Trinity Hill, Christ Church, and Centenary). It is only right to be grateful for their witness and our work together through the decades and in some cases centuries we have been together. While the names on the buildings may be changing, our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ and love for our sisters and brothers never will.

And finally, I invite the church to a day of prayer and fasting on Tuesday, May 30. Some have been praying and fasting on Fridays this spring, but I feel it important to invite everyone into a time of seeking God’s will for the direction of First Church. If you have questions or concerns or just want to talk, your pastoral team stands ready to do just that with you. Please reach out and let us know how we can help.

All my best,