February 26, 2019

A Statement on the United Methodist Special General Conference from President Jay Rundell

President Rundell sent the statement below to the MTSO community on Feb. 26, 2019. At its regularly scheduled meeting on March 1, 2019, the MTSO Board of Trustees voted unanimously to affirm his statement.


The 2019 United Methodist Special General Conference concluded earlier this evening here in St. Louis. We have experienced difficult days as delegates representing the great breadth of our global church struggled to determine crucial aspects of our common life and connection. In a very real sense, they wrestled for the soul of our church. While there are still important details that need clarification from the denomination’s judicial council in the months ahead, the gist of where we stand now is that the church has reinforced its exclusive language regarding the place of LGBTQ people in our denomination and have added what I believe to be draconian enforcement provisions.

The body defeated legislation that would have made our church fully inclusive and also resisted passing a compromise plan that would have created space for differing approaches in different contexts. Once again, I believe our church did great harm under the auspices of doctrinal fidelity and in the name of Jesus. Additional items were addressed concerning details of how some churches might depart the denomination in the future and many details are yet in need of clarification. In addition to the deep hurt committed to individuals, the results of this conference will likely have extensive implications for the church’s boards, agencies, institutions and schools. We will keep you posted as to how we are affected and how we can move forward together.

MTSO has a long history with the United Methodist Church. We also have a long history of speaking and acting for justice. We will redouble our efforts to teach and preach a gospel of love and inclusion. We will stand with our LGBTQ students, staff, faculty, alumni, trustees and friends. We will actively resist the misuse of scripture, tradition, reason and experience in fostering discrimination and division. We are committed to providing theological education for a just, sustainable and generative world. By that, we mean the whole of God’s world and all of God’s people. More now than ever, all means all.