Friday, November 22, 2013

Dear Foundry Members and Friends

Dear Foundry Members and Friends,

I was very proud of Foundry Church this past Monday and Tuesday when Foundry members provided a strong presence and witness during the trial of Rev. Frank Schaefer. Foundry leaders also responded quickly to the verdict and the sentence by preparing a strong statement that already has traveled widely around the nation via social media.

You should be aware that the possibility still exists for this verdict to be appealed or for the Board of Ordained Ministry of Frank’s conference to judge what it means to follow the Book of Discipline in its entirety. So options remain.

It was very painful for we who were present to watch a good pastor being tried because of his love for his gay son and for his commitment to minister to all people. I know it was painful for those of you observing the trial through the press and social media as well. In fact, it took me a couple of days to recover from the experience.

As sad as this is, it is also an opportunity. At least three more potential trials are in process. This is an opportunity for all of us who believe in inclusion to speak and act boldly, lovingly, and strategically. A letter writing campaign has begun to ask our United Methodist Bishops to stop the trials. Teams from every Annual Conference are meeting in person with their Bishops to ask them to stop the trials. Strategies to challenge the constitutionality of discriminatory language in the Book of Discipline are being developed. A campaign to have more and more congregations declare themselves reconciling is under way.

The nation and denomination look to Foundry Church to help lead the movement to be the kind of inclusive United Methodist Church that John Wesley began and that God wants us to be. It is important that we remain strong vital and committed. I am asking that each of you renew your commitment to vital participation in the life of our congregation.

A congregation with a growing Sunday school, transcendent and relevant worship, loving fellowship groups and small groups, and many missions serving our community and the world, is a very powerful witness.

I would like to thank those from Foundry who took vacation days to be present at the trial. I would like to thank our leaders who were in constant communication with us during the trial. I would like to thanks those who donated to Pastor Frank Schaefer’s defense fund. And I would like to thank our staff who managed the life of the church so well during my absence.

Please continue to support our LGBTQ Advocacy Team in your prayers, time, and talents as they continue to work for justice, reconciliation, and inclusion within our denomination and the world.

In God’s Love.

Dean Snyder
Senior Pastor
Foundry United Methodist Church

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