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General Conference Wrap-Up Conversation

On May 19th following worship, we will have a conversation in the Gathering Space about General Conference, hosted by First Church's delegates and attendees, Tracy Merrick, Anais Hussian, and Joshua Popson. Light lunch will be provided. Please call the office to RSVP.

Pastor's Response to General Conference

Thank you, First United Methodist of Pittsburgh, for living faithfully, courageously, into God’s kindom on earth. For decades, you have stepped into paths of justice. We celebrate all the legislation that was passed to include LGBTQIA+ siblings in ordination and marriage. We celebrate that Deacons have been given full sacramental rights. We are grateful for harmful language that is removed from the United Methodist Social Principles and Book of Discipline. We rejoice for the hope of equity in regionalization. Rejoice, my friends! Good has been done at General Conference! Hope is renewed! Hearts are energized! Joyful tears continue to flow into streams of justice.


Let us pause for a moment to give thanks to those who have come before us and advocated for justice for decades. Let us give thanks for those among who picked up the baton for love and justice and carried forth God’s declaration that all are beautifully created.  Let us not take for granted the hard work,and tears that have made this victory possible. Let us remember the lives that were harmed, the cruelty that The United Methodist Church has caused to siblings. Each of us may have particular feelings and emotions concerning the outcome of General Conference and every emotion and feeling is legitimate. I find myself in a spot, somewhere in the midst of “nothing has changed, and yet everything has changed…”


One of the most sacred moments in worship I have ever experienced is worshiping at First UMC Pittsburgh after the special called General Conference of 2019 ended, during which the traditional plan was passed. I had only been serving First Church for five months, and my steps were unsteady moving into month six. It took a few days of disbelief, disorientation, fear, and disappointment in 2019 for me to settle. But settle it did.


I remember welcoming all to worship, unsure of who was going to gather. In part of the welcome I said, “Nothing has changed here at First Church. There is no legislation that has been passed, there is no church law that can change who God has called First Church to be…” God’s faithfulness is where I landed. First Church did not stop working for full inclusion and justice in 2019.


This Sunday, unsure of who gathers, I will greet you with very similar words. “Nothing has changed here at First Church. There is no legislation that has been passed, there is no church law that can change who God has called First Church to be…” We remain in God’s faithfulness. We will not stop working for full inclusion. That’s who we are – a community that strives for love and justice.


So, nothing has changed, we remain the church God calls us to be – yet, EVERYTHING has changed, hope will do that. Wear your hope proud and loud First Church! Take steps forward. Remember all the stories of our history, good and bad. One foot in front of the other – we can do this.



Pastor Tracy


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