After prayer, gay rights protest ends

Gay rights protesters held the plenary floor this afternoon at General Conference.

A gay rights protest on the General Conference floor today ended after bishops agreed to let an openly gay pastor offer a prayer.

The Rev. Frank Wulf, a delegate from the California/Pacific Conference, was invited to the podium.

“Oh God rest upon this General Conference, give us wisdom to understand, to interpret, to know each other,” he said. “But most of all God, give us hope for the future, hope that the good news of your gospel may break forth upon us.”

Demostrators filed out of the hall, singing, after his prayer.

Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, president of the Council of Bishops, spoke just before Mr. Wulf.

“Dear sisters and brothers who are gay and lesbian, transgender and bisexual people, you have been hurt by actions of the General Conference, and by the polity of the United Methodist Church,” she said. “I feel your pain. We see your pain.”

The Rev. Amy DeLong, a leader of the protesters, met with a number of bishops just before the session and insisted on a prayer by Mr. Wulf from the podium, as opposed to the floor, before the demonstration would leave the hall.

Earlier in General Conference, petitions to change the church’s positions on homosexuality, including that homosexual practice is incompatible with Christian teaching, failed in committee.

And this morning, two versions of a compromise statement, both essentially saying the church is divided and agrees to disagree on homosexuality, also were voted down.

That led to a late morning protest, with a group taking to the center of the plenary floor to sing as Bishop Mike Coyner tried to call the body to order. He ruled that lunch would be early, and that in the afternoon session the hall would be closed to all but delegates.

But other bishops quickly decided the meeting must remain open, and announced that in a statement.

Ms. DeLong  met with Bishop Wenner and a number of other bishops just before the afternoon session, and they reached agreement on the prayer by Mr. Wulf.

Praise for the bishops’ handing of the situation came from the Rev. Rob Renfroe, president of Good News, an unofficial conservative caucus within the UMC.

“They did everything they could so that something that could blow up, and give the United Methodist church a great deal of negative press, didn’t happen,” he said.

The potential for additional disruptive actions continues.

Ms. DeLong said bishops had honored her requests so far, but added that she’s pressing that other petitions related to sexuality, including one seeking to end the UMC’s participation in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, be moved to the back of the agenda so that they “will not be dealt with at this General Conference.”

“What we’re hoping for is that no more harm get done,” she said.

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7 Comments on "After prayer, gay rights protest ends"

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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kgb898
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After watching and reading about "A gay rights protest on the General Conference floor", I am firmly convinced that one of the most sinister and menacing threats to the UMC lurks under the lethal guise of political correctness—the maddening and prevailing public sentiment of offending no one. Instead, it demands acceptance of everything as it panders to the ideals of diversity and inclusiveness. As for how we “love our neighbor”, as we are commanded to do as Christians, we shouldn’t confuse the Kingdom of God with the power and agenda of the state. We are to be the “light of… Read more »
jpinsatx
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Hmmm… "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity. There are many doctrines of a less essential nature… In these we may think and let think; we may 'agree to disagree.' These are the fundamental doctrines… summed up, as it were, in two words, — the new birth, and justification by faith." – John Wesley

harry
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If you want to know What Jesus would do Read the Bible. If you believe the Bible is God breathed then you know God hates the sin but loves the sinner. If we change one part of the Bible to make it a feel good Religion then we can no longer believe any part of it.

jbbatsel
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The legendary Alabama football coach, Bear Bryant, on the first day of practice, would throw a football into the middle of the whole team. Whoever came up with the football was awarded a spot on the starting team. I think Jesus, who famously said "I have come not to bring peace, but a sword," and "I have come to set son against father…" has thrown the ball onto the floor of the General Conference, and is waiting to see who comes up with the ball (Love, of course.)

tomfaggart
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There used to be a phrase in our liturgy: "By precept and example". This was the way we should do our witness. I do not believe any group treating the church like a secular company that can be moved by "bullying" the group will ever be heard the way they wish. Probably every UMC church has Gays in it. Most of them are accepted and loved. They do not introduce themselves by their sexual orientation but by name. They usually become known as brother or sister. Can you imagine one of these people being confronted by the leaders of their… Read more »
mrb
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Church leadership of the United Methodist Church is at a pivotal point which will impact the membership by the actions taken regarding the acceptance or rejection of one's sexual orientation. If there is the desire to be a part of a congregation declaring it is a reconciling church membership with "open hearts, open minds, open doors", would this not be a contradiction of terms, negating the integrity of that declaration?, How does the statement, "Love thy neighbor" fit into the rejection of anyone whose sexual orientation has been categorized as "unnatural or abhorrent.", which the medical field no longer supports?… Read more »
sinnersavedbygrace
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Jesus would love the sinner but no the sin. This is what it is to have an "open heart, open mind and open door." As Chrisitans we are called to speak the Truth in love – keeping an open mind and open heart and open door is necessary to do this. God's word is the Truth! WE are not to add one "jot ot tiddle" to it content. That includes changing the language to accept behavior that is "not compatable with Christian teaching." in otherwords it is a sin in the eyes of God – just as lying, stealing, murder,… Read more »
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