The UMC General Conference

The General Conference of the United Methodist Church has been meeting this week in Dallas. They voted to retain current rules on homosexuality. They also approved Full Communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Someone had recently e-mailed to ask me about this latter. I don’t see that it’s any great change. Twenty years ago Methodist students were going to Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary–and teaching there. There has always been open communion between the two, and Methodist pastors have long been able to celebrate communion and preach in ELCA churches. So this is just a formality.

But it reminds me of something Cardinal Cassidy, the former Vatican official for ecumenism, once said about Lutheran ecumenism (and he may have been quoting Avery Dulles): “We’ll only know what your ‘yes’ means when you say ‘no’ to someone.”