Letter from Bishop Alsted
Bishop Alsted has written a letter to all of us to explain the situation after the General Conference 2019
Dear members and friends of the Nordic and Baltic area,
I am writing you after the closing of the called session of General Conference. Our church is divided over our understanding of human sexuality and over how we can best live and be in mission together with our LGBTQI brothers and sisters. This was true before the general conference, and it still is.
So many of you have been in prayer before and during this conference, and I sincerely want to thank you for your love and dedication to the church.
Our delegates together with the other delegates worked intensely and prayerfully, however, they were not able to come to a place of common understanding, and we remain divided.
The conference passed the so-called “Traditionalist Plan” with a small majority. This plan maintains the church’s current position on marriage and ordination, and it increases the accountability of annual conferences, boards of ordained ministry and bishops.
It is very important to note that the General Conference referred the entire Traditional Plan to the Judicial Council, and that the Judicial Council twice has declared significant parts of the plan unconstitutional. The Judicial Council will make its ruling later this spring, and at that time we will know which parts of the plan will be lawful.
I also want you to note that no decision made at this General Conference will be put into effect until after our Central Conference in the spring of 2021, where there will be an opportunity to make adaptations.
Some of you will be very disappointed with the decisions of the General Conference and find them to be unnecessarily restrictive and punitive, while others will find these decisions necessary and acceptable.
I wish to remind you that we have not decided on an issue or a question. Our conversation has been about sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, grand children, friends and members of our churches who identify themselves as LGBTQI persons. We have aimed at discovering how we as the body of Christ can follow and serve Christ with ALL people.
To you who identify as LGBTQI I wish to say the following: I am deeply sorry for the harm the debate in the church has inflicted upon you. We frequently speak about being a church of open hearts, open minds and open doors, and I realize that you may feel that this is not true. However, I assure you that your local church has not changed - LGBTQI brothers and sisters are still welcome as members in our churches, and we want to be in ministry with you and with all people. We are still church together.
I wish to say to all of us. This is a time to care for each other and to be careful with each other. This is a time for prayer, fellowship and conversation. I encourage all us to think carefully before we make a comment or an update on social media, and to avoid saying anything that may be offensive or polarizing.
This coming Sunday we will gather for worship in our churches, and we continue to engage is God's mission.
All pastors will have a pastoral letter from me to be read during the worship service on 3. March.
May Christ bless us all!