Making Sense of it All: Rev. Sarah Moody Varnell Talks About the United Methodist Church

by Monica Hoel

The United Methodist Church has been in the news recently.

Members are at odds over governing doctrine regarding the LGBTQ community, and recently headlines told the story that more than 250 churches left the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. (Emory & Henry is one of two colleges associated with the Holston Conference.)

Rev. Sarah Moody Varnell admits that the story has had some twists and turns that no one saw coming, and the issues have still not been entirely sorted out. But she is hopeful that, in the end, the teachings of Christ will inform all decisions. “For Jesus, no people are ‘issues.’ All people are God’s people.”

To have a better understanding of the issue, take a moment to listen to an interview with Sarah on the Duck Pond Wall.

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2044-homecoming-eamph-author-book-signing-features-a"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,76,2131,2208/10365_PXL_20210924_183619348.rev.1633712942.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,76,2131,2208/10365_PXL_20210924_183619348.rev.1633712942.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,76,2131,2208/10365_PXL_20210924_183619348.rev.1633712942.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,76,2131,2208/10365_PXL_20210924_183619348.rev.1633712942.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,76,2131,2208/10365_PXL_20210924_183619348.rev.1633712942.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,76,2131,2208/10365_PXL_20210924_183619348.rev.1633712942.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,76,2131,2208/10365_PXL_20210924_183619348.rev.1633712942.jpg" alt="Lincoln McCarthy HIMSELF will be at the second annual E&H Homecoming E&H Author Book Signing, Oct. 16, 11 am-Noon, in front of th..." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,76,2131,2208/10365_PXL_20210924_183619348.rev.1633712942.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,76,2131,2208/10365_PXL_20210924_183619348.rev.1633712942.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2131" data-max-h="2132" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2044-homecoming-eamph-author-book-signing-features-a">Homecoming E&H Author Book-Signing Features A Crime-Solving Doodle</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Four E&H authors will ply their pens at the second annual E&H Alumni Authors Book-Signing event on Homecoming day, Sat. Oct. 16, 11 am-Noon. You’ll find them in front of the bookstore. <a href="/live/news/2044-homecoming-eamph-author-book-signing-features-a" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/660-how-do-you-love-your-neighbor-in-the-midst-of"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,750,845/5907_Wil-CasMug_2.5_inches.rev.1548777885.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,750,845/5907_Wil-CasMug_2.5_inches.rev.1548777885.webp 2x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,750,845/5907_Wil-CasMug_2.5_inches.rev.1548777885.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,750,845/5907_Wil-CasMug_2.5_inches.rev.1548777885.jpg 2x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,750,845/5907_Wil-CasMug_2.5_inches.rev.1548777885.jpg" alt="Rev. Wil Cantrell, E&H Class of 2001." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,750,845/5907_Wil-CasMug_2.5_inches.rev.1548777885.jpg 2x" data-max-w="750" data-max-h="845" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/660-how-do-you-love-your-neighbor-in-the-midst-of">How do you love your neighbor in the midst of conflict?</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> A book by Rev. Wil Cantrell (E&H ’01) intends to help United Methodists remain committed to the Church during a contentious debate. <a href="/live/news/660-how-do-you-love-your-neighbor-in-the-midst-of" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1338-got-a-minute-get-to-know-susannah-davis-eamph-92"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/140,0,2272,2128/8423_DSC_0087.rev.1597088838.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/140,0,2272,2128/8423_DSC_0087.rev.1597088838.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/140,0,2272,2128/8423_DSC_0087.rev.1597088838.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/140,0,2272,2128/8423_DSC_0087.rev.1597088838.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/140,0,2272,2128/8423_DSC_0087.rev.1597088838.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/140,0,2272,2128/8423_DSC_0087.rev.1597088838.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/140,0,2272,2128/8423_DSC_0087.rev.1597088838.jpg" alt="Susannah Davis, E&H Class of 1992" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/140,0,2272,2128/8423_DSC_0087.rev.1597088838.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/140,0,2272,2128/8423_DSC_0087.rev.1597088838.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2132" data-max-h="2128" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1338-got-a-minute-get-to-know-susannah-davis-eamph-92">Got a minute? Get to know Susannah Davis, E&H ’92</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Find out what it means to welcome “everyone, everyone, everyone.” <a href="/live/news/1338-got-a-minute-get-to-know-susannah-davis-eamph-92" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2782-dr-rosemary-gray-honored-with-2023-carl-and-ruth"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,18,200,218/13443_Rosemary_Gray.rev.1677542353.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,18,200,218/13443_Rosemary_Gray.rev.1677542353.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,18,200,218/13443_Rosemary_Gray.rev.1677542353.jpg" alt="Smiling woman" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="200" data-max-h="200" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2782-dr-rosemary-gray-honored-with-2023-carl-and-ruth">Dr. Rosemary Gray Honored with 2023 Carl and Ruth Looney Humanitarian Award</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p>This award is given to an individual who has demonstrated special service in a volunteer or professional manner, has made unusual personal sacrifice, or has shown a long and dedicated commitment to service that benefits humanity. <em>This award is named for Rev. Carl and Ruth Looney and their family who excelled at using humble means to achieve amazing service.</em></p><a href="/live/news/2782-dr-rosemary-gray-honored-with-2023-carl-and-ruth" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1756-despite-the-headlines-ed-davis-is-hopeful-about"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,400,400/9708_ed_davis.rev.1618447628.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,400,400/9708_ed_davis.rev.1618447628.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,400,400/9708_ed_davis.rev.1618447628.jpg" alt="Dr. Ed Davis, E&H Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="400" data-max-h="400" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1756-despite-the-headlines-ed-davis-is-hopeful-about">Despite the Headlines, Ed Davis is Hopeful About the Planet</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Dr. Ed Davis has been a professor at Emory & Henry for more than 30 years, and in that time he has cultivated a reputation for many things. He is known for having a great sense of comedic timing. He’s a stand-out stand-up bass player. He’s an accomplished gardener, a decorated academician, an author of multiple books, and he is one of the country’s leading experts on collard greens.<br/><br/>Also, he’s a committed conservationist. <a href="/live/news/1756-despite-the-headlines-ed-davis-is-hopeful-about" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/520-super-heroes-and-princesses"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,12,214,226/4535_41368297_705985249770551_4194188508329410560_n.rev.1536365207.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,12,214,226/4535_41368297_705985249770551_4194188508329410560_n.rev.1536365207.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,12,214,226/4535_41368297_705985249770551_4194188508329410560_n.rev.1536365207.jpg" alt="Cathy Bottrell, E&H '82" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="214" data-max-h="214" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/520-super-heroes-and-princesses">Super heroes and princesses?</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> It’s all in a day’s work for Cathy Bottrell (E&H ’82). <a href="/live/news/520-super-heroes-and-princesses" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>