"Way Forward" update by Rev. Tommy Williams

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Dear St. Paul’s family,

From February 23­–26, the United Methodist Church will gather as a global body in St. Louis, Missouri for a Special Session of General Conference. Over the past couple of months, I have offered presentations to seven Sunday school classes, Church Council, and other groups to discuss this upcoming conference. If you didn’t get a chance to attend one of those presentations, I invite you to listen to this audio recording to gain an understanding of historical context and what I’ve discerned as my personal posture of leadership during this time.

At General Conference there will be several proposals (and amendments to those proposals) to address the United Methodist Church’s teaching on human sexuality and the ministry of the church with LGBT persons. It is hard to predict the outcome of this conference, but we continue to pray for God’s unifying and sustaining presence to be our guide.

While there is much we don’t know, there is more we do know. God is God. God came to us in Jesus Christ and still comes close in the Holy Spirit. The church has been given the vocation to reveal God’s love in the world. In our local context, St. Paul’s pursues this purpose: to be a “cathedral for Houston that embodies the city’s diversity, inspires faith, and leads change for the common good of all peoples and communities.” This we do know.

St. Paul’s has been a strong church for 113 years and is on firm ground to continue to flourish. The fruit of God’s good work is all around us through our everyday ministries of worship, faith formation, mission, and hospitality. We remain grateful that the Revive campaign is bearing fruit as we speak in the major renovations happening on our campus. These improvements position St. Paul’s to fulfill God’s vision for us far into the future. And, friends, we will remain connected to other churches––as we have before––through shared giving, mission work, and much more.

I will be attending General Conference, not as a voting member but as an observer, and when I return, I will be communicating with you about what transpires. In the meantime, continue to pray, welcome, worship, give, serve, and witness as the Spirit enables us.

Grace and peace,

Tommy