To the Kewaunee County Community,

Elected leaders, staff and members of Algoma and West Kewaunee United Methodist Churches have been in almost continuous dialog discussing how our congregations will move forward in light of a significant vote during the recent UMC’s General Conference, where global delegates voted 438-384 to continue the prohibition on same-gender marriages and the ordination of gay and lesbian pastors.

I can plainly and confidently state that Algoma and West Kewaunee UMCs do not agree with what we believe to be a discriminatory and unacceptable stance approved by our governing board. We want to publicly reach out to LGBTQIA+ individuals, their families and friends to assure them that our congregations will continue to live by our Values Statement of “embracing and honoring all cultures, all genders, all sexualities, and all abilities.” We steadfastly believe that all humanity is created in the image of God; sexual orientation and gender identity are simply parts of human diversity and therefore are to be celebrated. Regardless of the consequences, we will continue to do our work which is Inclusive, Relevant, and Spiritual.

To those who are hurting because of the global church’s action, please know we love you and we hurt with you. We have wept over this. While the vote has garnered national headlines, we refuse to allow our local congregations to be defined by it. We want you to know that if you come through the doors of Algoma or West Kewaunee UMCs you will be welcomed for your authentic self and like everyone is welcomed; with love, respect and acceptance. If you want a place to connect and be loved, not judged, we welcome you to be a part of our community!

After washing his disciples’ feet on the night before he died, Jesus told them, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). The people of Algoma and Kewaunee UMCs are here to show the world love.

—Written on behalf of the Algoma UMC Church Council by their pastor, Rev. Jennifer Emert