A Letter to the Council of Bishops — Anthony Ormsbee

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By grace you have been saved through faith. (Ephesians 2:8)

The King will reply, truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. (Matthew 25:40)

Dear Council of Bishops:

Greetings to you in the name of the risen Christ! May you find joy, comfort and peace in the coming days and be forever blessed.

Our Wesleyan tradition instructs us that all clergy are subject to the authority of the Bishop. But my question to you is: Who are Bishops accountable to?

The answer is God.

I want you to know who I am because the decisions of the Council of Bishops affect me personally. I fell in love with a small United Methodist church that welcomed me with open arms and minds. This church was recovering from a recent schism but the presence of God could be felt in every warm smile and hug. I was given the opportunity to serve others, to lead and to develop my faith. I have heard God calling me to a life of ordained ministry and I spoke with my pastor about this. With a heavy heart she informed me that, while I would no doubt be an excellent minister, I am ineligible for candidacy due to my sexual orientation. I am told that it is the statement of the Church that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.

My life is full of love because of the people within my church. I am fussed over by church ladies and given more food than any college student could possibly ever eat. I sit through Safe Sanctuary trainings, dance and sing children’s songs at Vacation Bible School, teach Sunday school classes and will be a confirmation sponsor in January. My partner and I have theological debates while making our Advent wreaths together and I have laughed, cried and smiled more in the sanctuary of my church than any other place in the world. I pray to God when times get tough and at the end of the day, I still have more questions than answers. My life and the love that is in it define the meaning of a Christian life.

But you need to know that I am filled with anger and confusion because of the injustice within the United Methodist Church.

The Council of Bishops affirms LGBT people in statements then they condemn us in practice. We are told that we are saved by grace and then told that we are incompatible with Christian teaching. They speak of inclusivity but then allow inequality, hatred and ignorance to spread like a wildfire that threatens to consume the United Methodist Church. I am tired of being debated and I am sick begging to be viewed as a person created in the image of God. I deserve to be treated equally under the laws and practices of my church!

Be warned, this Church cannot stand idle while Bishops continue to ignore the oppression of any group of people. Many people will leave and join other denominations but I am afraid for those who will leave and turn their back on Christ because of their treatment at the hands of His followers.

This is a call not only for pastoral leadership but a supplication for you to be a prophetic voice for all under your care. Do not feed your sheep to the wolves but care for us as the children of God that we are. I do not have a deep theological case for you to study, I am not a powerful member of our church with influence or prestige but I am a young United Methodist and a member of your flock and I demand to be heard.

The road ahead will be difficult but I am positive that we will emerge an even more unified Church when the dust settles. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you discern how to lead the United Methodist Church.

Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God.

Anthony Ormsbee, OSL
Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church
Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church
Chair, Young Adult & College Ministry
Vice Chair, Outreach Committee
Member, Worship Committee
Member, Witness Committee
Member, Age – Level Committee
Member, Committee on Lay Leadership
Outreach Program Intern

Member, Board of Directors
Breaking the Silence

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