The Wesley Foundation is the campus ministry of the United Methodist Church and Cullowhee UMC. It is approaching its 75th anniversary of work with the students of Western Carolina University. The ministry and students have been a champion for civil rights, social justice, and loving their neighbor during regular days and during many times of trial and tribulation throughout our country’s turbulent 20th and 21st century history.
Now we face new adversity that comes from within our own denomination. Let it be known that we will continue to be the same welcoming body of Christians where every person who comes to this place is welcomed, loved, and honored similarly. Every person will be valued for being a child of God. Considering full equality and inclusion; EVERYONE will have opportunities to grow closer to God through worship, study, and prayer, enjoy the fellowship of other students and church members, and contribute to their community and ministry. The Wesley Foundation has been and always will remain a campus ministry for ALL students.
Jay Hinton, Campus Minister/Director
I was not prepared for the shock and grief I would feel or the ripple effective of heart brokenness and suffering of my brothers and sisters after General Conference voted, by a slim margin, to uphold the Traditional Plan and to more strictly enforce church law. For months prior I had been in dialogue with my church family and my fellow colleagues who, while from different walks of life with different views on human sexuality, were committed to a united way forward that would allow every person to be a part of God’s big, messy family. It is what we have been hoping and praying for, but the institutional church voted for a way that has instead sown deep pain and deep division. When one part of our body suffers, we all suffer, too (1 Cor 12:26).
Yet in the midst of so much profound suffering, I am grateful that this vote does not define who we choose to be as the Body of Christ in Cullowhee. My prayer for all of us is that we can move forward as one family who will continue to love outside of the bounds and that all people – LGBTQIA+ persons, people who fall across the traditionalist-progressive continuum, people of every color and place of origin and creed and affiliation – can come find a home amongst us. Jesus has called us to love our neighbors, and that is exactly what we’ll continue to do. It is now more important than ever for us to faithfully witness to the Good News of the gospel and to continue working hard, as a unified body, to build up the Kingdom of God on earth.
As we grieve this decision and stand uncertain of the future of our United Methodist Church, who will continue to debate this vote and will come together again as a global voting body in 2020, may we find hope in God’s promise that love wins in the end.
Peace, Julia Trantham, Pastor
Friends: (ALL friends!)
Right now, the United Methodist Church is trying to find it’s way after a General Conference vote hardening language against LGBTQ+ persons. I regret the harm and pain that this action has brought to all of you.
At Cullowhee UMC we are carefully trying to plot our course so we can continue to be a place where ALL people can be a part of God’s family.
Right now, please know that I believe that the General Conference Resolution is incompatible with Christian teaching. There are thousands of us working hard to set this right.
I have always been grateful that Jesus did not seem to be selective about helping and welcoming people. In fact, he was pretty reckless with his love. I thank God for that.
David Reeves, Pastor