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Commitment to Inclusivity

We seek to remove all barriers that prohibit LGBTQ+ persons from answering God’s call to ministry or experiencing the joys of marriage.

Open Letter to the Congregation of Woodlake UMC

Just like peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, or chips and salsa, some combinations are just meant to be. Here’s another pairing to consider: evangelicalism and inclusion. Yes, you read that right—evangelicalism and inclusion. Often, when we hear these words together, we instinctively change the connection from “and” to “or.” It becomes either evangelicalism or inclusion.


As the Senior Pastor at Woodlake UMC, my vision for our church is different. I envision a both/and approach instead of an either/or mindset. I want our church to be evangelical and inclusive.


When I talk about Woodlake being evangelical and orthodox, I mean it profoundly. To be evangelical and orthodox for us signifies a belief in the entirety of scripture as the inspired word of God. We acknowledge Jesus not just as a moral guide, but as the crucified Son of God, the one who forgives our sins through his death and grants us life through his resurrection. We recognize humanity as sinners in need of repentance, forgiveness, conversion, redemption, and sanctification through the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus. Our deep desire is to share the life-transforming message of Jesus with everyone. We are fervent about witnessing the church's growth in both breadth and depth as it partners with God to change the world. We affirm the tenets of both the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds.


When I talk about Woodlake UMC being fully inclusive of the LGBTQ community, I mean every word of it. Regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, I want all people to be welcomed into our church community and encouraged to live a life following Jesus. I want the LGBTQ community to become part of our church family, to baptize their children, volunteer, work with our youth, and lead small groups.


Evangelical and inclusive. Orthodox and accepting. Firm belief in the divinity of Christ and an understanding that Jesus loves every individual for who they are, regardless of their gender identity or sexual preference. We are passionate about the authority of scripture and firmly believe that these scriptures welcome the LGBTQ community into the Kingdom of God through faith in Christ, without requiring them to deny their true selves. This, I believe, is what the Bible calls us to be.


I am convinced that this represents the future of the universal church and the United Methodist Church. We need more of both: more progressivism rooted in evangelicalism, more reverence for the Bible, and more enthusiasm for inviting new souls to find life in Jesus Christ. Progressivism cannot exist solely as a social justice initiative. Similarly, evangelicalism must extend its message to queer individuals and include them in the promises of Christ and the fellowship of the church including being able to answer God’s call to ministry and the joy of marriage. We need their unique gifts, their service, and their testimony to maintain relevance and authenticity.


We don’t have to choose sides. We are called, and we need, to embody both. We are called to be fervent followers of Jesus, devoted to the entirety of scripture, and eager to share the abundant life found in Christ with all. Simultaneously, we are called to extend a robust, fearless, and unapologetic invitation to the LGBTQ community to be actively involved at all levels within our churches. These two aspects are not contradictory; they are not mutually exclusive. They do not compromise our strong beliefs in God, scripture, or Christ.


The resolution to our present conflicts on these matters will not come from one side triumphing over the other. Instead, it will emerge when we realize that God calls us to embrace both.


With faith and hope,

Pastor Gordon

Open Letter from the Church Leadership Committee

In response to God's unconditional love, we, the Church Leadership Council of Woodlake United Methodist Church, adopt the following statement as a sign of support for all God’s people. We affirm that all people are created in the image of God, and as beloved children of God, we are all worthy of God’s love and grace. We are supportive and active in reform efforts in the United Methodist Church that seek to remove all barriers that prohibit LGBTQ+ persons from answering God's call to ministry or experiencing the joys of marriage.  We believe God created our human family and called it good… 

  • whatever your race, ethnicity, or heritage;  

  • whether you are young, old, or somewhere in-between;  

  • whether you are married, divorced, widowed, or single; 

  • whatever your sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or gender expression; 

  • whether you are gay or straight, lesbian or bisexual, transgender or questioning. 

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to build a community that is loving, just, welcoming, and inclusive for all. 

- Woodlake UMC Church Leadership Committee

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