The United Methodist Church is in the midst of a once-in-a-generation opportunity. A life-threatening harm has been named within the body and brought to light. How we respond will define our future. There are responses that will promote healing, restore relationships, restore our ubuntu, and lead to this struggle being remembered as a restorative struggle. And there are other responses that will amplify the pain. It is time to banish this period of legislated discrimination to the dustbins of our history. Therefore, the Love Your Neighbor Coalition calls upon the Commission on a Way Forward and the Council of Bishops to develop a plan that maintains the UM connection and removes all forms of language that discriminates against LGBTQ+ persons from the Book of Discipline. We call upon the delegates to the 2019 special session of General Conference to act to maintain the UM connection and remove all forms of language that discriminates against LGBTQ+ persons from the Book of Discipline. Furthermore, we call upon all United Methodists to join together in love, grace, and compassion, to recognize “us” reflected in each other, and to work to strengthen our relationships and our United Methodist connection and restore our ubuntu, regardless of where we stand on the theological or political spectrums. Finally, as we look beyond the 2019 General Conference, we call on those who become delegates to the 2020 General Conference and upon all United Methodists to careful examination of other ways in which we harm our ubuntu, other ways in which we perpetuate new and historic injustices against one another and our planet, and to join together to work toward our continuing restoration and sanctification in those regards as well.Read More
The General Commission on Delays and Procrastination (GCODAP) arrived Saturday morning in Portland with very little fanfare.
“We were told there would be folks in green vests at the airport, but there were only hipsters,” said Martin ‘Tardy Marty’ Smith, general secretary. “That should have been our first clue.”
Crystal balls and fermentation equipment were the next clues. When the GCODAP contingent arrived at the Oregon Convention Center, they found themselves attending not General Conference 2016, but Portland’s 14th annual “Home Brewing for Fortune Tellers” event...Read More
Who would have known? I went to Tampa, Florida in 2012 as a first-time General Conference clergy delegate with one mindset on the issue of human sexuality... and came back home with another.
Prior to the General Conference, I heard stories of the LGBTQI people - a DS with wife and children who killed himself because he couldn’t live with the conflict between his sexual identity and the church’s expectation, teenagers who couldn’t take it any more in a society where they were ostracized, shunned, and attacked and who killed themselves, and more. I thought, “If it leads to a life and death situation, it is serious.”
There came an eye-opening moment at the General Conference...Read More
We’re grateful to the Council of Bishops for making a recommendation to the body. While many of us believe that this should have happened decades ago, we know that it took guts to do it yesterday. “Business-as-usual” isn’t working. We’re glad for an alternative. And we are especially grateful for the recommendation to defer voting on discriminatory legislation.
Our two major concerns are...
In the century before Jesus was crucified, the general Crassus defeated a great slave rebellion. As he entered Rome, the road was lined with 6000 slaves hanging on crosses. The message of that moment was clear: FEAR. Fear the consequences if you break the rules and the chains of your bondage.
Fear is a familiar companion to LGBTQI people who are called by God into ministry in our denomination. Fear of rejection, fear of being outed, fear of losing income and health insurance for their families. The 150+ crosses lining the walk into the Convention Center this morning challenge us all to remember the fear that our church imposes on LGBTQI people everyday. Each cross contains a stole from the Shower of Stoles project and represents LGBTQI people called to ordained ministry, and barred from ministerial service or asked to contribute to a church that asked them to be silent about their sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as, those who have ministered to LGBTQI at great cost...Read More
In light of recent discussions, LYNC is releasing this statement one day early. We've always held a strong and principled position against splintering the church-- this essay by Rev. Frank Wulf describes why.
Christ is our peace. He made both Jews and Gentiles into one group. With his body, he broke down the barrier of hatred that divided us. He canceled the detailed rules of the Law so that he could create one new person out of the two groups, making peace. He reconciled them both as one body to God by the cross, which ended the hostility to God. (Ephesians 2:14-16)
There is no secret to the fact that The United Methodist Church is anything but united. We are perpetually roiled by theological and social conflicts ranging from bitter disagreements about the nature of God and the authority of the Bible to all-out battles concerning the proper exercise of sexuality and the church’s role in addressing economic/political injustices. These conflicts have always raised the specter of schism. The idea has long been entertained in back-room conversations among people of various theological perspectives who despair that the Church will ever be able to achieve a common mind on the crucial and profoundly challenging matters that divide it. What was once spoken in private, however, is now being shouted from the rooftops. The call for schism is being proclaimed with passion and urgency by groups and individuals who believe that conflicts over theology and moral teaching are irresolvable, that they are causing harm to the ongoing mission of Christ’s church, and that the only way to achieve resolution is for those with differing theological perspectives (primarily with regard to sexual orientation) to go their separate ways.
Recognizing that it is always difficult to live together against the backdrop of our differences and disagreements, the Love Your Neighbor Coalition has taken a strong and principled stand against schism...Read More
Today marks the halfway point of General Conference 2016. This is my first General Conference, and I’ve heard that weeks one and two are very different from each other. Before we dive into the voting tomorrow, here’s week one in review...Read More
Growing up in a United Methodist Church in the Midwest, my twin sister and I, blind from birth, were an oddity. While we participated in everything from Sunday School to choir to camp, much of the time we were left to ourselves. Sure, everyone told us how inspiring we were, but being an inspiration is not the same as belonging...Read More
“Love Your Neighbor is not an option. It’s a commandment. Not to love is a sin. Christ is calling us to be neighbors to immigrants.” The Rev. Rosanna Panizo, academic dean of the Methodist Seminary in Peru, made these comments during her statement yesterday at the Immigration Vigil, which was held to emphasize the importance of immigration to the United Methodist Church as its leaders gather to vote on related legislation. 14 United Methodist Bishops were present at the rally, along with more than a hundred demonstrators...Read More
Most of my life I’ve felt like an outsider. But over the years, I have noticed that most of the true advancement in science, medicine and culture were made by those who perceive themselves to be outsiders and outcasts. The margins can be a very creative place. All of us who feel marginalized and invisible in the United Methodist Church can understand each other and empathize with joy, pain, frustration, passion and calling to serve as a disciple of Christ with integrity.
The term “Methodist” was originally used to mock John Wesley who was considered to be a spiritual outsider. This guy was riding a horse back and forth across the country believing he can build a faith community based on scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. What a wacky idea! At some point in time, John was able to embrace the term “Methodist” that was intended to mock him. It became the name of his movement. The huge growth of our church in the early days can be attributed to the meeting of many who saw themselves as marginalized by the religious establishment of the day...Read More
I am the 1%. According to the Pew Research Center “Religious Landscape Survey” of 2015, within the United Methodist Church 94% of Methodists identify as white, and among the remaining 6%, 1% identify as black. While this of course does not account for the rapid growth of the UMC in Africa (about 30% of the 864 delegates at this year’s General Conference come from the continent), it does place Black American United Methodists in a unique minority position within the Church.
As a black and queer person within the UMC, that demographic gets even smaller as the historical tensions underlying our relationship with the Church increase. The relationship between the Black community in the United States and the United Methodist Church is long and fraught with tension - combined with the intersection of queerness it becomes even more complex...Read More
God is asking us to be good stewards of this earth and all the life that lives on it. And the United Methodist Church is answering. Last night at the General Conference Climate Vigil, we came together in solidarity. We prayed for all of God’s creation, grieved the ways that climate change is already impacting us, and rejoiced in the beauty of the world around us.
United Methodists from the Pacific Northwest had decorated hundreds of handmade lanterns to light the night. These lanterns were lit with solar powered LED lights. After the vigil, the lights were distributed to partners in the global south with limited or no energy access and to Central Washington families living without electricity as they recover from extreme wildfires...Read More
Tich’s parents divorced when he was two years old. He was the third born of four children. After some years, his mother remarried. She was married as a second wife (to a man who had one other wife already). Soon after his mother’s marriage, Tich was called to ministry. Soon after his case was reviewed by the official board for clergy candidacy, some members of the board told him his candidacy could not be considered due to his mother being a second wife.
Tich’s name was submitted to the board repeatedly by his local pastor, who believed Tich could make a difference as a minister of the gospel. Finally, one of the board members had the courage to pose the question. Who are we recommending for candidacy: the young man who was president of the UMYF, lay leader, and a district youth representative… or his mother? And what difference does it make in the grand scheme of things?Read More
I was serving my first parish out of seminary in a small, farming and brickmaking, community. When one of the members of the church I served heard I was interested in sexuality education for high school age kids, his quick comment was, “Just bring them out to my farm. I’ll teach them all they need to know.”
Reproduction is only one aspect of sexuality, however. Every culture shapes human behavior—including gender expression. Religious practices and traditions are associated with gender and reproduction while ecstasy and union not only become metaphors for relationship with God, but in some religions, with each other as well. Jesus, in fact, often talked about the bridegroom having union with the bride as a metaphor for God and God’s people.Read More
“Stop the Killing. Save Our Schools. Protect Indigenous Life.” In a “flash tabernacle” gathering of nearly 70, representatives from among the Lumad people sought the solidarity of gathered United Methodists, and shared their sacred stories and experiences of discrimination, displacement, and dignity in the south Philipines island of Mindanao. In their journey “for peace with justice,” they called upon United Methodists in particular to support Resolution 6118 –Philippines: Democratic Governance, Human Rights and the Peace Process during General Conference—in part, calling for a stop to US military aid to Philippines. Those gathered at the tabernacle heard from Kerlan Fanagel, chairperson of PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao Region; Matanem Monico Cayog, chairperson of Kalumaran Mindanao and community chieftain/elder; and Bai Norma Capuyan, chairperson of ASLPC Apo Sandawa Lumadnong Panaghiusa Cotabato. Together, they spoke out against ramped militarization, deprivation, and neglect by the government in defense of their ancestral homeland, not only for the sake of indigenous peoples, but “for all humankind.”Read More
A phoenix is a mythical bird that at some point in its life builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites. Both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix arises, reborn. The new phoenix is stronger, better, and destined to live a long life.
Like the phoenix, our beloved church is on the precipice of a great transition. To most, it will feel like a fierce fire. What fire, you ask?Read More
After over 20 years of being denied the United Methodist Church’s recognition of God’s calling in her life, Susan J. Laurie was ordained yesterday in a grassroots ordination during the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon. Sue, who earned a Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical in 1995, has not been welcome in the candidacy process for ordination because she is an out Lesbian.
Pointing out that many people are hungry for meaningful worship, Sue said, “I had a great day. We did good church.”Read More
In 2012, the Love Your Neighbor Coalition was known for its Tabernacle and its advocacy for the LGBTQI community. Now, in 2016, we still have a Tabernacle (it’s down at the Jupiter Hotel on 8th and Burnside and you’re invited), but now our mission has expanded. In these pages, you’ll read about inclusion, accessibility, environmentalism, racial justice, and more.
Why have we broadened our scope? Because we realize that many people are part of more than one marginalized group. This idea is called intersectionality. When LGBTQ organizations and racial justice organizations are in competition with each other, queer people of color are forced to choose which part of their identity they’re going to prioritize. This is a form of oppression.
The other reason we’ve diversified is that we want to stop the Oppression Olympics before they even start. Here’s what I mean by that...Read More
Originally posted by Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), the letter below caused RMN's website to crash due to an overload of traffic just hours after the letter's release. We are honored to host a copy of this historic letter, and we stand in solidarity today with the 111 LGBTQI clergy and candidates below.
Dear United Methodist Church,
As we gather in Portland to begin the 10 day discernment of God’s leading for The United Methodist Church known as General Con-ference, we, your Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, and Intersex (LGBTQI) religious leaders–local pastors, dea-cons, elders, and candidates for ministry–want to remind you of our covenant with you...Read More