Open Letter Of Commitment
Pastor Justin Douglas and Pastor Alyson Wert
As many of you are likely already aware, we have resigned our Pastoral positions at The Bridge. This was a very hard decision for us both as we desired and sought out a different outcome. Ultimately, it is heartbreaking for us. It has been a privilege to serve as your Pastor’s. Our love for this community grows more and more with each passing year and we hope and pray that you have felt that from us.
We believe strongly that LGBT individuals should be included in the life of the church. As Pastors we often become aware of the painful realities individuals journey through as they reach out for prayer or counsel. As we have journeyed with LGBT individuals and educated ourselves with a variety of resources, we have come to see the harm that the church’s posture (at-large) often causes.
We both got into ministry to love people and champion the way of Jesus. After all, the Scriptures say, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) For us, “Above all” isn’t a suggestion, but instead a command. We are also told that the greatest, of many great things, is love. We desire, as Pastors, to be agents of love. For some, our way of loving may come across as reckless or even heretical—however, we know that erring on the side of love and grace embodies the way of Jesus.
While we are resigning from our Pastoral positions we are committed to this church family. We are not moving away or moving on, but instead we are moving forward. The vision God has given us for a community of belonging for all people here in the Central PA area will continue. Ultimately, we are committed to those of you who have caught the vision of a church that leads with belonging for all. We look forward to cultivating that community alongside you. The name of this new community is The Belong Collective and you can find out more at www.thebelongcollective.org
We would both like to thank Bishop Bryan Hoke for his time serving as our Bishop. While our concerns with the leadership of the Brethren In Christ are well documented, we have always seen Bryan as fair, honest, and respectable. We know this hasn’t been easy for Bryan, and we are truly sorry for the many difficult positions you’ve been placed in because of our convictions.
We would like to thank the Strategic Leadership Team (governing board) of The Bridge for their steadfast love, care, and commitment to us as Pastors. We couldn’t ask for a better team to journey with through this and we look forward to continuing that journey with you as The Belong Collective grows.
Finally, we are so thankful for each and every one of you who call yourselves Bridge Builders. You have supported us through encouraging texts, acts of service, hugs when you knew we needed them, consistent prayers, and so much more. We need you all to know that we have felt your love and we are so thankful for you.
Grace and Peace,
Justin Douglas & Alyson Wert