A transcript of the statement from Bishop Saenz is available below the video player. To download and share the video, visit the CTC Vimeo page.
Faithful sisters and brothers in Christ, the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.The heart-breaking but inevitable announcement of the launch of the Global Methodist denomination on May 1 prompts each of us to prayerfully consider whether to stay in The United Methodist Church.I want to be absolutely clear that I will remain with The United Methodist Church. My decision comes after much prayer, serious reflection on scripture, my experience of God’s grace, and the present state of human knowledge, dialogue and discernment. I pray you also will continue your faith journey with us in the UMC.The United Methodist Church is the only church I have ever known. It has been my home and the place where I was nurtured in the Christian faith in the Wesleyan tradition. Maye and I chose to be United Methodist when we were newly married, young adults in our early 20s. Together, we raised our four children in the ministry of local churches we attended and served in Rio Grande City, Dallas, Oak Cliff, El Paso, Edinburg, and San Antonio, Texas. Our four children, their spouses, and our nine grandchildren are active today in United Methodist Churches in Harlingen, Houston, and San Antonio. Two of our sons and our daughter-in-law are pastors of United Methodist congregations.Throughout the years, The United Methodist Church has embraced and given me and my family the space and encouragement to grow in love and service to God and neighbor. Our Church’s grace-filled Christian teachings and social principles have equipped and nurtured us to participate in God’s liberating and saving action in the world through our discipleship by helping us to better know God, proclaim Christ, serve others, and seek justice.The United Methodist Church I know, love, and belong to has a “hard” Jesus-center but is “soft” around the edges, allowing people with differing views the room and time to move at their own pace toward an authentic and transforming encounter and understanding of God in Jesus Christ.So, on May 1 and beyond, I will remain committed to The United Methodist Church as a Christ-follower, bishop and good ancestor to tomorrow’s generation of faithful disciples.You know, in November of 2016, just months after being elected to the episcopacy, Maye and I welcomed our first grandchild. I met my grandson a couple of weeks after he was born. As I held his fragile little body, one of my first thoughts was, “Now that I am a bishop and have a unique level of influence, what kind of a church am I going to leave for his generation and beyond?”I know what church I want to leave: A United Methodist Church, indeed a church that leads people to accept and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and live their daily lives in the world under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I believe our God-honoring, Christ-centered, Spirit-led Church will be a vessel for personal salvation that unites love for God with love for neighbor and a passion for goodness, peace, mercy, justice and reconciliation in the life of the world as it is in heaven.Fellow believers in our risen Lord, please be assured that as your bishop, I will do all in my capacity, so help me God, to shepherd the conferences I work with and The United Methodist Church as a whole toward a fruitful future that gives witness to God’s redeeming grace and love for the world through Christ.This includes working with mission-minded United Methodists to create new faith communities. It also includes providing creative solutions to keep people connected with a United Methodist witness if they become displaced because their congregation fulfills all disaffiliation provisions and votes to leave the denomination.Regardless of where we find ourselves at this time on the topic of human sexuality, Jesus entrusts all of us with a vital mission: To make new disciples for him that transform the world. We will continue to focus on this clear mission given to us as a connected, committed, diverse, prayerful, Spirit-filled, world changing and Christ-centered people of God, our differences notwithstanding.Let us pray for each other and encourage each other while seeking the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace under one Lord, and one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.I believe that Christ who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it.I AM UMC and grateful for it! Let’s Be UMC together!PeaceRuben Saenz Jr.Resident Bishop of the Central Texas ConferenceThe United Methodist Church