An LGBTQ+ Perspective on Annual Conference

Attending annual conference this year was such an odd experience. I’m no longer a member of the Virginia Conference so I was really here for the family reunion aspect, as well as to see long-time friends be ordained. 

As someone who has been “practicing homosexuality openly” (and frankly nailing it for some time now), conference and conversation about my compatibility with Christ often causes high blood pressure and anxiety. But this year the spirit moved us to and beyond a new place. 

I found the conversation at the rally at Bonsack UMC on Wednesday to be very encouraging, and the Spirit to be overflowing from that place. As we moved into nominations and elections on Thursday, I waited with great anticipation and then holy joy as the results came. And I was continuously encouraged by motions, conversations, supportive t-shirts and buttons. 

I want to say that I know there are things that are not perfect about the process. But please friends, from one Christ-loving person to another, stay encouraged. We will continue to have hard, educational and joy-filled conversations. And we must keep Christ at the center of these conversations. 

I will be praying for each of the Virginia delegates, as well as the ones in all conferences and I hope you will join me in that. May God bless and keep each of you until we meet again. 

Emily Howdyshell (she/her/hers), self-identified Lesbian, former member of the Virginia Conference, current member of the Northern Illinois Conference.  

Emily Howdyshell