General Conference

I See a ______Church! Round Table Discussion

Let’s eat, talk, pray, and dream together!
On Sunday, October 20, we’ll gather around tables in Simkins Hall following worship for a time of discussion and discernment. Led by our pastors, Lay Leadership Team, and Church Council, this will be a special time together to consider such things as:
• where we see new life emerging in our congregation
• how we dream a future for our United Methodist Church
• opportunities for mission and outreach in our community, nation and world
• how God might be calling you and me into new ministries of love and service
These discussions across the churches in our California-Pacific Annual Conference come at the request of our bishop and district superintendent.

Our reflections here at First UMC will include this congregation-wide conversation on October 20 as well as similar conversations with our youth, simple church, Open Space, and the Men’s Breakfast Bible Study. Our Lay Leadership Team (Sherry Erlandson, Todd Erlandson, Jocelyn Hicks-Garner, Mike Olsson and our pastors) will compile our reflections, hopes, questions, and dreams into an affirmation of renewal and rededication to be presented at our Church/Charge Conference with our superintendent, Mark Nakagawa, on Sunday, November 10.

Make plans now to stay after worship October 20 for this wonderful, enlivening time with one another!
Sunday, October 20, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00p.m. in Simkins Hall

Rev. Farris Responds to UM General Conference:

I have just returned from the Special Called Session of The United Methodist General Conference in St. Louis.  I am grateful for your expressions of love and concern in these recent days.

I know many of you have seen press accounts regarding the vote to continue a ban on gay clergy and gay marriage.  Though tired, and heart-broken that we fell 44 votes short of achieving a change in our official policies, I want to remind you today that our First UMC Church Council unanimously approved the affirmation that “all ministries of the church are open to all God’s children” in 2012.  We remain unwavering in this commitment.  In this, we are supported by our Western Jurisdiction and all our WJ bishops, active and retired.

What DID change in St.Louis is that it became abundantly clear that our inclusive, welcoming church is exactly what the great majority of United Methodists want the church to be.

The actions of the General Conference are now under review by our Judicial Council, the “Supreme Court” of The UMC.  As we await their ruling, WJ delegates are already sketching out options for possible models for a “New UMC.”  We don’t yet know how it will be structured, but we will build on the values we cherish of love, justices embracing our diversity, and love for all as beloved children of God.

May God continue to inspire and lead us in a spirit of reconciling love and unquenchable hope.  While the season of Lent is about to begin, we live even now as People of the Resurrection!

– Rev. Patricia Farris, Senior Minister   (February 27, 2019)

  • See the LA Times ad placed by the Cal-Pac Conference in response to the General Conference ruling. 
  • LA Times article: As United Methodist leaders tighten LGBTQ ban, churches struggle with path forward

  • Bishop Hagiya: Reflections from the Western Jurisdiction Meetings
    “…Of course, the huge reversal for me at General Conference was the death of the United Methodist Church that I love. We have always been the “big tent” where all people are welcome and affirmed.

  • Statement by Reverend Mark M. Nakagawa West District Superintendent, regarding the General Conference:
    Dear West District Clergy and Laity, 
    Last night I returned home from the special called General Conference in St. Louis, which was held to move the United Methodist Church forward on issues of LGBTQI inclusion.
    During the week I joined with fellow West District brethren to support the One Church plan that was itself was supported by the United Methodist Council of Bishops. 

  • Western Jurisdiction bishops offer a message of welcome
  • As the 2019 General Conference comes to a close the episcopal leaders of the Western Jurisdiction offer a video message to the church saying, “We will continue to be a home for all God’s people centered around a table of reconciliation and transformation. We are not going anywhere.”  

  • Message from United Methodist Insights:
    After an emotional day of prayers, amendments and delaying tactics, General Conference 2019 approved the constitutionally unsound Traditional Plan after a last-ditch effort to revive the One Church Plan. The margin of the vote was the closest in the 44-year history of debate over homosexuality, 438 to 384, a difference of 55 to 46 percent. What the decision portends for the unity of the global United Methodist Church remains to be seen.
    Since any legislation won’t become church law until Jan.1, 2020, the Council of Bishops has urged the denomination to remain focused on mission and ministry. The next General Conference in May 2020 in Minneapolis could reconsider the decisions of GC2019. Annual Conferences will elect their delegates to the 2020 assembly this year.

  • Western Juridiction Update:
    “We have long appreciated the richness of the global diversity of our United Methodist Church and have embraced opportunities to join with you all in the work of making disciples for the transformation of the world….READ FULL ARTICLE

  • President Kuan Responds to UMC General Conference 2019
    “After four days in St. Louis, MO, as one of 864 delegates to The United Methodist Church’s special Session of the General Conference, I am angry and heartbroken by the decision of the body not only to continue its injustices toward our LGBTQIA community but also to strengthen the prohibitions and punishments for those clergypersons who do not uphold the injustice.

  • General Secretary responds to General Conference 2019
    General Secretary Susan Henry-Crowe of the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church released the following statement after the 2019 General Conference of The United Methodist Church adopted the Traditionalist Plan: READ FULL ARTICLE