The climate in our country is not only unhealthy, but dangerous. The Church in Ocean Park is actively engaged in helping to create a better world, but we know the stakes are high and we need to strengthen and expand. We have years of experience in organizing and have important local, regional, national and global connections. We are one of the few places where people of different faith traditions form one spiritual community that is dedicated to continuously fighting evil and working for justice. At the Church in Ocean Park, people of different faith traditions live together, learn together, make mistakes together, raise children together, sing each other's songs, participate in the Holy Days and festivals of one another as we organize for justice. We are a part of each other's lives and form deep connections.
At the Church in Ocean Park there is no requirement to participate in all aspects of the community. Some folks find their niche in fighting against systemic racism with the Committee for Racial Justice. Some experience healing in our Encouragement Group (for those experiencing loss). Others are involved in one of the Young People Creating Change (YPCC) programs for people who are particularly vulnerable right now (Kids with Disabilities, LGBTQIA+, Young Women, People of Color). Many are involved in Climate Action Santa Monica which has now launched from here. Others find this a place to express themselves through music or poetry, and some enjoy what these artists create. Many come to help make a difference in the world or for a spiritual community that understands and cares for them.
This year our connection to the United Methodist Church came to the forefront due to the fracturing of the denomination. We are grateful for those who were a part of the historic vote on November 10th, which gives us more options than we otherwise would have had.
There are more vital, historic decisions to make about who we will connect with and what we will agree to be a part of. You are invited to participate in our periodic Community Town Halls to give input as we move forward.
One mother whose child is on the autism spectrum said that she never thought her family would be welcome in a church, and now he feels at home and she feels supported. The family knows they are loved. We are witnessing an open disdain, fear and hatred of other people. As hate crimes are escalating especially for people who are Jewish, Muslim, Black, Native, LGBTQIA+ or who have a disability, our work is vital. Last month, especially on Transgender Remembrance Day, we were reminded that churches are complicit in the deaths of far too many trans people, especially women of color. We provide an alternative voice and an alternative space. We are saving lives. For the justice work ahead and for our future without the United Methodist Church, we need financial strength. We are asking for your help.
Please donate what you can.
Results from Charge Conference
(annual meeting) on November 10, 2019
The United Methodist Church is no more.
No matter what happens in 2020.
No matter what happens in 2075.
No matter what happens in 4791.
The United Methodist Church is no more.*
This grieves my heart, but it's a fact.
The church that I know and love is gone.
It is fractured and what happens next is unknown.
What I do know is this:
The Church in Ocean Park is strong and is not going anywhere!
You all demonstrated the character of the Church in Ocean Park on Sunday.
You showed up when it (literally) counted!
Thank you for unanimously passing the following motion:
"The position of the United Methodist Church regarding human sexuality
is in direct conflict with the faith and understandings of the members of the
Church in Ocean Park United Methodist Church.
Therefore, the Church in Ocean Park UMC declares its intention to
disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church
per paragraph 2553.3 as amended by General Conference 2019.
We understand that this is the first step in a three part process. Disaffiliating will allow us to more fully live into our calling
to help create a more beloved community for all people."
We are not living in fear of the future. The future is wide open.
This is an exciting time of rebirth.
Many institutions become focused on institutional survival after a while and lose their focus and their ability to be who they claim and want to be. Organizations and Institutions fight to stay alive even when they are no longer providing the service they were originally created for. It's difficult for the people who created the organizations or those who are invested in them to see what's happening. It's clear to me that the UMC is not functioning in a way that reflects who they believe themselves to be or who they want to be. There is no "way back" at this point, but there is a "way forward".
The UMC is fracturing. The Church in Ocean Park is not. We are strong and we are working with others to create new connectional opportunities that are relevant, viable and true to who we are as the Church in Ocean Park.
All of you who were here
All of you who are members
will be kept up to date as things unfold.
When decisions need to be made, you will be invited to the table.
If you want to be a part of any of the working groups, please let me know.
Nothing will happen TO the Church in Ocean Park.
Together we will make the decisions about the future.
You are the Church in Ocean Park.
We cherish your input and we are grateful that you're a part of this community!
Pastor Janet G McKeithen
(Photo by Linda Laisure)
*(Note: The Church in Ocean Park is interfaith, but is hosted by the UMC.
So what happens with the UMC directly impacts the Church in Ocean Park)