LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR COALITION Press Release
November 5, 2018
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR COALITION Responds to Methodist High Court Decision “General Conference delegates will decide the future on LGBTQ+ inclusion in the church and must value the teachings of Jesus who included people who were considered different.” by Rev. Lyssette Perez
United Methodist Church (UMC) leaders of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition, comprised of thirteen organizations, spoke out after the UMC Judicial Council ruled on three plans in the final Report of the Commission on a Way Forward. After almost 50 years of dissention over marriage and ordination for LGBTQ+ people, the Commission was mandated by the UMC Council of Bishops to develop a plan to keep the church together. The Commission met for over two years to develop and review options to present to a specially called General Conference, February 23-26, 2019.
To avoid another blow up such as in 2012 when a last minute review held a church restructure unconstitutional, the UMC Council of Bishops asked the Judicial Council (the high court of the UMC) to assess the constitutionality of three proposals included in the Commission's report. The Judicial Council, can only rule in advance on “...proposed legislation that prima facie requires no constitutional amendment(s) for implementation and can be tested directly against the constitutional provisions in effect at the time of filing.” (Page 1 of full Judicial Council decision #1366)
The One Church Plan allows regions to decide on their own policies related to LGBTQ+ people based on context and fared the best under the review by the Judicial Council. The Connectional Plan divides the church into three or more groups, based on conservative, moderate, and liberal beliefs. It was not ruled on because its many constitutional amendments must first be voted on by delegates at General Conference. The Traditionalist Plan was largely ruled as being in conflict with the UMC Constitution because it circumvents due process.
“We are not surprised that the One Church Plan had minimal problems with being in harmony with The United Methodist Church Constitution. This is the plan that was thoroughly vetted by the Commission on a Way Forward (COWF) and the Council of Bishops. It is the only plan from the Commission that moves the church toward more inclusion of LGBTQ+ people and is receiving growing support from Central Conferences because it moves the church toward finding common ground,” said Rev. Frank Wulf, Co-Chair of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC) Leadership Council.
“As a Native American woman in The United Methodist Church, I know what it means to be misunderstood and sometimes excluded,” said Cynthia Kent, Co-Chair of LYNC and chair of the Native American Caucus. “The decisions by the Judicial Council may help us stop the harm being done to LGBTQ+ people throughout the church, and even the world. We have lost countless leaders because of our intolerance to God-given differences. It’s time to live up to the values that Jesus taught, to treat our neighbor the way we would want to be treated. In many Native American tribes, LGBTQ+ people were accepted as part of communities. As a United Methodist, I would like to see that in our churches.”
Rev. Lyssette Perez, President of MARCHA and Co-Chair of the Strategy Team of LYNC said, “General Conference delegates will decide the future on LGBTQ+ inclusion in the church and must think about the teachings of Jesus who always included people who were considered different.” MARCHA is Metodistas Asociados Representando la Causa Hispano-Americanos, the UMC Hispanic Coalition. To contribute to the church’s conversation the Love Your Neighbor Coalition released its values statement, “A Call to Love”: Our values are grounded in our Wesleyan theology: grace, dignity, relationships, solidarity, and justice. All plans under consideration fall short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23) We grieve systems of oppression, including the harm that the church is doing to LGBTQ+ people in our congregations and communities… We call the denomination to end harm in every place where the Gospel of love is preached. We commit to love each other and stay in relationship with the global Body of Christ. We trust in the wisdom of God and the power of the Holy Spirit as our sustaining hope for unity. We seek to remain in our beloved United Methodist Church with our siblings in Christ throughout the world. The unity of the Body of Christ has sacred value.
To learn more
Read about oral arguments in the case
Commission on Way Forward report in English, Portuguese, French and Swahili