WHAT CAN WE DO?

The Trump administration has threatened mass deportations of immigrants residing in this country.

So, what can we, as a community of faith, do?

  1. Join CHIRLA (The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles), CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice), the Immigration Task Force of the California-Pacific Conference of The United Methodist Church, and others in taking to the streets to protest this proposed action:

PLEASE NOTE:  

Due to the apparent postponement of Trump’s raids on immigrant communities, the remaining CHIRLA/ CLUE rallies planned for this week have been postponed. 

Please remain on-alert for the possibility of emergency mobilizations as CHIRLA and CLUE monitor the situation.

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2. “Know Your Rights”!

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3. Attend a “Know Your Rights” seminar!

CARECEN KYR

4. Know the phone number of the Rapid Response Network in your area, and – in the event of an immigration-related emergency – use it!

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A Call to Prayer and Confession (June 11)

BishopGrantHagiya

Greetings,

I am so grateful for your joining me in this season of prayer and confession as we make our way, both physically for many of us and spiritually for all of us, to our 35th Annual Session of the California-Pacific Conference.

In my first letter, we reflected upon what has happened since the Special Called Session of General Conference 2019. In my second letter, we heard the voices of those who have been engaged in different areas of our church. In this third and final letter, we will continue on in prayer and confession in a spirit of courage.

We have to acknowledge for a moment that it is difficult to be in a place like the wilderness. There are, obviously, all of the feelings that we feel inside. There are also questions about our next steps. We often pray, “Lord, show me what to do.” Today, I would ask that we whisper one additional prayer: “Lord, let me have the courage to follow you.”

In times of being unsure of the path ahead, we often want to know what to do. But, we also need to be willing to go where God is leading us. Knowing might lessen our anxiety and that would be a good thing, of course. But, being willing will raise our confidence in what lies ahead because of our assurance that the Lord is leading us.

What is clear to me is that God has been leading our California-Pacific Conference since its beginning. Yes, God is leading us to see a new church and we have been seeing glimpses of it in the church that we have long been.

Below is a statement from our Extended Cabinet of the California-Pacific Conference, a group of leaders that I mentioned in my first letter. I share this statement with you as a reminder of the kind of willingness our leadership has shown. When we meet with each other once again in Redlands, let us be together as one body in Christ, seeing a new church, following in the way that God is leading us.

“Dear Beloved Siblings of the California-Pacific Conference,

As we continue in our season of prayer and confession, we in the California-Pacific Conference must take a moment to acknowledge the real and lasting pain we as The United Methodist Church have caused our children, friends, pastors, and fellow members who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, and asexual; confess our complicity in their suffering whether by what we have said and done or what we have left unsaid or undone; and seek a new way guided by the Spirit in love towards healing, out of despair, and towards fullness of life.

General Conference is the highest legislative body of The United Methodist Church made up of 800+ people from across the global Connection who usually meet every four years. The decisions of this past Special Called Session of General Conference 2019 which focused on matters of human sexuality, as well as the Judicial Council ruling, and now the many ways our Church has responded have built a ministry environment of tension, grief, and uncertainty. Today, we the Extended Cabinet of the California-Pacific Conference would like to convey to you our awareness of, and sharing in, this reality.

We also acknowledge that, we, as a Conference, are not of one mind. We are a family knit together across a broad diversity of theological and social perspectives, races, ethnicities, cultures, generations, languages, gender and sexual identities, abilities, and other such reflections of the image of God. While we celebrate this richness afforded to us in our complex particularity, we must confess that we have not always engaged our difference faithfully– lovingly. We have not always listened deeply enough to the cries of our siblings. We have not always paid careful attention to the voices and perspectives absent from the table. We have not always reflected honestly about those we may have unwittingly left behind. We must repent, and humbly confess.

Yet, in this of prayer and confession, may we strive to be of one spirit, unified in the effort to welcome all at Christ’s table and for all to move onwards towards perfection in our discipleship. Our history is one of pioneering – always being able to see and build the new church that is emerging. As many decisions are yet to be made in all areas of The United Methodist Church, may we continue in our identity as the California-Pacific Conference without fear as the Lord, our God, is leading us.

The Extended Cabinet of the California-Pacific Conference”

Be the Hope,

Bishop Grant J. Hagiya

Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop

The United Methodist Church

A Call to Prayer and Confession (June 4)

BishopGrantHagiya

Greetings,

As we continue in this season of prayer and confession, let us keep in our prayers the voices of those who have been hard at work away from our California-Pacific Conference in recent gatherings led by others as well as the voices of those who have engaged in Holy Conference at our own gatherings.

I believe that within each voice, within every sentence that is shared by every one of us, is a prayer for our church and our world to be fashioned in a certain way. As we pray, let us hear the prayers of others. In this way, we are one body in Christ.

One such prayer comes from the UM Forward event in the form of a proclamation entitled, “Loved and Liberated: A Proclamation from Our Movement Forward Summit,” which persons from our own California-Pacific Conference were involved in producing.  The entire proclamation is of greater length than the space that we have in this letter. But, I would like to highlight this portion for our own prayers:

“The Holy Spirit has been unleashed, and we are no longer captive to unjust systems in our denomination that oppress and crucify marginalized bodies. Time and again, these systems fail to live out the rules of the Wesleyan way. In fact, they have repeatedly broken the first rule to do no harm. This betrayal of Methodism catalyzes the unraveling of the UMC. As the connection crumbles, we no longer settle for crumbs.”

Another prayer comes from persons from our own California-Pacific Conference who attended and participated in the UMC Next event. Those persons decided to form a joint statement in reflecting upon the meeting itself. I would like to highlight this portion for our own prayers:

“The success of our forward movement also entails taking our diversity into account. The California-Pacific Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church is one of the most diverse annual conferences in the U.S. – diverse in race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, language, national origin, theology, citizenship status, and more. This diversity is a gift and a strength for our current moment. Any plans for the future must engage the diverse people and contexts of our conference. These plans must also attend to already present systemic injustices around race, class, language, ability, and more, or else this “new thing” risks further institutionalizing white supremacy and oppression. We refuse the politics that pit liberation for one group of people against liberation for another; instead, we work for the liberation of all.”

Our District Conferences were certainly houses of prayer as we gathered together to faithfully articulate what was stirring in our hearts as well as in the hearts of those in our churches. I had shared a number of questions to frame our time together through a videoand our District Superintendents helped lead that time. What came about were a number of different topics and approaches, a selection of which I would like to highlight here:

  • How congregations stand currently – In general, there was much mention of a sense of sadness and disappointment in light of the recent decision. Some of our churches have expressed that they have been “inclusive” for a long time now and that this would not change. Some churches have expressed that individuals from either side of the matter of our church and inclusion have left because of this decision.
  • Human sexuality as a topic of discipleship – One aspect of human sexuality and discipleship that was mentioned was how it has not been a topic of much study, discernment, and discussion as a congregation in some of our local churches. One of the reasons named was how some persons would rather not bring up the matter at all.
  • Our clergy – There was also mention about some of our clergy and how they might need to be protected.
  • The “brand” of the United Methodist Church – Some of our churches have considered not using the name “United Methodist” in their church name because of what the brand might convey in terms of LGBTQIA+ exclusion.
  • Next steps – There was a sense of urgency as well as a great desire to know how things would go from here on out. Some churches have expressed a willingness to wait and see while others have considered taking action by themselves.

Before we get to the end of this letter, I would also like to note a comment from Rev. Tom Kendall who had expressed at a District Conference that it seemed to him that reflections from a Traditionalist perspective on the recent decision was missing in our Conference communications around the Special Called Session. From a letter that Rev. Kendall wrote, I would like to highlight this portion here:

“In all these communications from our Cal-Pac Conference we have yet to hear reflections on the GC2019 from the Traditionalist point of view. If we truly are a ‘Big Tent’ when it comes to our theological perspectives, then we must give equal opportunity to all those perspectives, including those of the minority opinion in our Cal-Pac Conference.”

Prayer is one of the ways by which we are heard by our God. In our prayers, we can ask powerful questions to God.  But, remember, that we can also hear the powerful questions that God has for us.  This week, my prayer for all of us is that we might sense such powerful questions stirring inside of us.

Next week, I will be sending my final letter before our 35th Annual Session of the California-Pacific Conference begins.  In that letter, I will share with you the prayer and confession of some of our Conference leadership. My hope is that it would lead and guide us into a genuine spirit of Holy Conferencing in Redlands, CA.

Be the Hope,

Bishop Grant J. Hagiya

Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop

The United Methodist Church