We as church leaders are committed to an open, inclusive, welcoming church!  Our hope is that our denomination will heed our Lord’s call to welcome everyone to His table and church and pulpit.  In the meantime, we are making these plans to keep our members and friends up to date on what all of this means to us and the church we love.
   What was “Commission on a Way Forward”?  >>CLICK HERE<<
FEBRUARY 23-26, 2019
A Way Forward Response…
It is hard to find the words that speak to the deep hole in my heart over the actions of the United Methodist Church yesterday. The actions of the General Conference to draw harder boundaries instead of opening wider doors to the LGBTQI+ community is nothing my Jesus would ever do. Jesus was all about making a place at the table, welcoming the outcast and preaching against judgment. The General Conference chose a different path. Though the US delegates voted 2-1 in favor of the One Church Plan, the Traditional Plan won the day – we will have to see what that means in the coming weeks and months, even as its constitutionality is challenged. 
What I do know is that a very broken religious institution inflicted tremendous harm in this decision. This is NOT of God. I believe God will do a new thing, and Epworth can be part of the new expression of Methodists who do all we can to resist evil and injustice of every kind.
Rev. Todd and I want to stand on these words – Epworth is Epworth. We will not change – except to be even more bold and more sure that God has placed us in the Rehoboth-Lewes area as a beacon of hope to ALL and All means All! When Epworth was located on Baltimore Avenue in downtown Rehoboth, the faithful people of God took a stand, opened our doors to all and became the only Reconciling U.M. Church in Delaware. We build on that legacy every day. We are the community of faith that is sure of the welcoming love of Jesus and whether or not the United Methodist Church agrees with that, doesn’t matter. Hold each other friends, show love and don’t lose hope. God will deliver us.
On Friday, March 22 Epworth ran a full-page ad in the Cape Gazette pronouncing our open position to welcoming all people to our church. If you’d like to see the ad, simply CLICK HERE.
In love and peace,
Rev. Vicky Starnes and Rev. Todd Shultz
Next Steps for Inclusion
On May 20-22, 10 persons from the Pen-Del Conference of the UMC joined clergy and laity from all over the US Methodist Church to work on strategy for an inclusive Methodist Church. Nominations were made from Epworth and 2 of our laity were selected: David Garrett and Glen Pruitt.
Rev. Adam Hamilton, along with other leaders in the denomination, are hosted and planned this event.
Pen-Del Annual Sessions
Each year our Conference meets… this year it was held May 29-June 1. The Epworth FIRE Team brought with them Resolution R:14 (CLICK HERE) which asked for the Pen-Del Conference to be inclusive of all persons.
to view the proceeding
Bishop Peggy Johnson’s Pen-Del Annual Sessions State of the Church Presentation
At the 2019 Pen-Del Annual Sessions, Bishop Peggy Johnson delivered a State of the Church message. She talked about many happenings in each of the 4 Districts as well as AC 2019 – the Traditional Plan (which was adopted) and the One Church Plan. She spoke of her desire for the One Church Plan to have been adopted and her desire for inclusion of all persons.
to view her presentation
On February 28 Epworth held a  SPECIAL PRAYER SERVICE
during which we prayed for Epworth & The United Methodist Church
CLICK HERE to view the service
Bishop’s Prayer…
by Bishop Susan Morrison, retired
Gracious Spirit.
Forgiving Spirit.
Comforting Spirit.
   We are hurting this evening. We are angry. We feel betrayed. We feel rejected. Our souls are bruised. AND YET … we know you are surrounding us/infusing us with your grace-filled acceptance
   Help us remember the gift of love you bring to each person. EVERY PERSON! Help us remember that we are to love as you have loved us. That is our call. Please forgive our resistance to forgiving others who differ. Please forgive their righteous resistance and rejection in seeing life and faith through our eyes. Your healing presence flows over us. Over and over it comes. We can stand up and shout we are a resurrection people. WE ARE A RESURRECTION PEOPLE!       This is a new day:
We will survive in faith.
We will love others as ourselves!
We will listen and learn.
We will share our joy.
We will support others,
We will share hugs and high fives,

We will speak and be heard. We will be Epworth. We as a church will not go away. For we will love as you have taught us to love. And we will live in your love. Thank you, O Gracious One. And thank you for this beloved community called Epworth. Amen.

More info…
Watch Rev Adam Hamilton’s Town Hall Meeting that he hosted just after General Conference. Adam explains to his church in great detail what was asked of the Conference and what direction he believes the United Methodist Church will go.
Please write to our District Superintendent (DS), Rev Dr Kyung-Hee Sa, and let her know your feelings. Dr Sa is one of four DSs in the Peninsula-Delaware. She works for Bishop Johnson.  kyungheesa@gmail.com


Additionally, you may write to our Bishop, Peggy Johnson. Bishop Johnson is the Bishop for the Peninsula-Delaware Conference as well as the South-Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.
In The News…
WRDE-COAST TV, our local NBC affiliate,  interviewed Rev Vicky and Rev Todd on March 3rd. Here is the news report…
Things to Know…
1) The Traditional Plan, as amended, was adopted by a vote of 438-384. Due to take effect on January 1, 2020.
2) The One Church Plan, which was endorsed by Bishop Johnson and the Council of Bishops, was not adopted.
Individual stories for further reading include: