Recently Read: Reasons I Stay in the UMC

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One of the regular refrains heard in the comment streams on this site and on Facebook is that if “those persons” (who are advocating for change in the United Methodist Book of Discipline regarding the church’s relationship with GLBTQ persons) can’t abide by the discipline of the church, they should leave. After all, these commenters suggest, the General Conference has repeatedly re-affirmed the language of the Discipline, and since change is unlikely, wouldn’t it be better for all involved for those folks to go somewhere that is more in keeping with their beliefs. 

In response to these thoughts, the Reconciling Ministries Network has created a new series on their RMNBlog titled “Reasons I Am Staying in the UMC.” The series currently features some 15 church members and leaders who share their perspectives on why they remain in the UMC and continue to advocate for change in the face of resistance.

“I am staying because I want to punch holes in the darkness, wrote the Rev. Susan A. Heafner-Heun, an elder in the Western North Carolina Annual Conference.  “I am staying because even in my broken denomination a new community of faith formed in the Lake Norman area of North Carolina.  This community calls itself Inclusion and has been a light for many.  It will continue to be a light and it will continue punching holes in the darkness.  We thought we would be punching holes out in the world. Now we see we have to punch more holes in the church.  We are up for it. ”

The Reconciling Ministries Network recognizes that not all will be able to stay in the church. “We recognize that staying is not the right and healthy choice for all people, and we celebrate those too who have chosen to leave to more inclusive faith communities,” the website says in their description of the project.

Click here to read the full “Reasons I Stay” series.

Recently Read

Recently Read

Recently Read posts are stories the editors of The United Methodist Reporter have found interesting from other sites and wanted to share with our readers. The editors do not necessarily endorse the opinions shared in these stories, and referral here should not imply endorsement of that content.

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11 Comments on "Recently Read: Reasons I Stay in the UMC"

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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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Jason Redick
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This thread is so predictable. The article clearly indicated the comments that would be made. Does anyone else see the irony there? My hope is that there will be a day when the UMC actually repents for the harm that has been done. And my understanding of repent is not just making amends, but actually doing an about face and changing course. I wish I could say I am ready to write a letter about why I stay in the UMC, but to be honest, the thoughts and feelings expressed here force me to question my decision to stay…
MethodistPie
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Language is so interesting. “I want to punch holes in the darkness,” implies, of course, that those who see this issue in different terms than the quoted elder are “in the darkness.” This strikes me as pretty far-removed from “reconciling.” A question asked from the darkness: How much do guaranteed appointments and the pension program figure in to some of these decisions? Don’t get me wrong. I am not among those who necessarily wants to see anyone leave. But there is a level of sanctimony here (though by no means exclusive to the RMN) that, in my opinion, undercuts the… Read more »
DL Herring
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Rev Susan, You may not have a choice of whether to stay or go. The latest trend is for Reconciling Ministries to support disruptive protests which violates the “order of the Church”, again disregarding another ordination vow. The Council of Bishops are getting “backed into a corner” and they will be forced to rule based on how the Book of Discipline stands today. Remember, the Council is comprised of ALL current and retired Bishops. Worldwide, this body is overwhelmingly traditional and orthodox. Also, I think the vast majority of Parishes in the USA are as well. What I can see… Read more »
Tim C
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Ultimate victory in the lgbtq disruptive agenda are 2 things 1- Changing the Book of Discipline to the Book of Do As You Wish. Same sex arrangements are only the beginning, and actually if performed by an ordained Methodist Minister are not a marriage due to them being forbidden by the collective majority of the Methodist Church, thus I could have performed them with the same effect. And 2- The division of the Church, or the UN-united Methodist Church, which is a certain path as long as this type of issue defines our Denomination.

Pubilius
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Order can be defined in different ways. The Council of Bishops could do several things, including appoint less conservative prosecutors for the church at trial, or not let cases get to trial, they’re not backed into a corner, they’re just taking the extremest action possible when they don’t have to do so. Yes, the UMC is conservative worldwide, but only due to the increase in African churches (who hold horrifically extreme and hateful views on LGBTQ persons) to keep the UMC that way and with those who must leave, leaving (a defacto schism), neither something to be proud of. The… Read more »
Wes Andrews
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“Order can be defined in different ways.” And that’s the rub. Politicized folk will always bend the rules, confuse the “definitions” and essentially ignore the openly debated rules of order and identity of any organization. Due process, fairness and the integrity of that process mean nothing to politicized people. They DON’T care about the integrity of the church. That is what is destructive here, not a faithful UMC being true to how it has faithful defined itself for decades in spite of all the circus that the Reconciling movement bring to denominational meetings including GC.

Will Green
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Happy Thanksgiving DL! Glad to see you are up early sharing the joy of the gospel. May peace be with you and your loved ones on this festival of hospitality and gratitude.

Thomas Hill
Guest
This is the church of my growth to manhood. This was where I learned God loves me. When I found a church with a pastor who is gay, and also came from UMC, I found home. I so wish the church of my birth would change. But as I was struggling on taking vows to Cathedral of Hope (then MCC) I prayed a lot. I had said my vows to UMC as a young teen, but they meant something to me. I did not realize how much until I was considering vows to another church. I continued to pray. Even… Read more »
Frederick Wayne
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I’m sorry. Please explain to me where it states or implies that the centurion and his servant were a gay couple? What translation are you reading from? Help me understand. Thank you. Fred D.

Wes Andrews
Guest
Thomas, I will not dispute your recollections. But I do challenge your conclusions. The “UMC only sees LGBT good for tithing.” That is not how the UMC sees anyone. All people have sacred worth, but that doesn’t mean that the UMC endorses everyone’s experiences and/or choices. I do agree with your last two recommendations. Split off and become a new Methodist denomination, perhaps, The Reconciling Methodist Church, or join another denomination. As to your first suggestion that LGBT are second class citizens, that would assume all of us would be second class citizens, since all of us have fallen short… Read more »
Wes Andrews
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I would also encourage resolutions at the next GC to allow all churches who vote to separate from the denomination to be able to do so without penalty in regard to their property. The local congregation’s tithes and offerings paid for those properties, not the GC or the AC. If a church claims to be “Reconciling” then they should be able to separate and move on.

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