NJ Bishop supports gays and lesbians & voices opposition to church trials

Bishop John Schol of the New Jersey Episcopal Area released a video yesterday expressing his feelings about how the United Methodist Church is addressing homosexuality. The video was created in response to Thursday’s defrocking of Frank Schaefer.

“This issue is so important to the present and future of our church and meaningful to me personally, that I needed to use my voice to share with you my message,” Schol wrote in an accompanying letter to the members of the New Jersey Annual Conference he leads.

“It is noteworthy that these issues are coming to the forefront as we enter the 4th week of advent,” he suggested.  “During the 4th week of advent, we are called to love one another.  It is my greatest hope that we, the people of the United Methodist Church, will use this week of love to find new meaning in God’s command to love one another.”

In a clearly emotional message to his conference, Schol retells Frank Schaefer’s story, acknowledging the turmoil Schaefer experienced between his call to serve the church and the call to love his son. Schol then turned to address the GLBT community directly.

“I want you to know that you are children of God, of sacred worth. There are many people in the United Methodist Church who care about you, who love you deeply, and are very sad about what is happening in our church right now,” Schol said. “I want you to know there are United Methodist churches that open their doors wide to you, and are ready to be in ministry with you and treat you just like every other member of their church. We want to continue to be in fellowship and ministry with all people, and especially our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.”

” I love the United Methodist Church,” Schol said, “but I do not agree with how the church has been handling these matters. I do not believe that trials are helpful to our church or anybody at this time. I believe that we have taken a secular mechanism and made it part of the church . . . I would like to see trials within the United Methodist Church stopped.”

Although disagreeing with those who call for the retention of the current prohibitions on same-sex weddings in the UMC, Schol pledged to “be a bishop of the whole church.” “I honor all views within the church . . . I will work with all people and honor all views.”

Schol concluded by asking the congregations  in the New Jersey Annual Conference to reach out to all God’s people. “I hope for you like me you’ve had a similar experience to me in which the church has bathed me in love and grace and helped me to fulfill my calling. I want that for all people.”

 

UMReporter Staff

This story was posted by a staff member of The United Methodist Reporter. For over 160 years The United Methodist Reporter has been helping the people called Methodist to tell their stories. If you have stories that you think need to be told, please let us know at editor@circuitwritermedia.com

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20 Comments on "NJ Bishop supports gays and lesbians & voices opposition to church trials"

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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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james
Guest
Further–the citizens of this country as well as the “mainliners” in the umc will have to WANT to come back. Otherwise, all of the letter writing. blogging, emailing, etc etc etc will be in vain. Most probably the most powerful force that can be offered in both cases are lots of holes in knees of britches as The Church kneels with bowed heads and implores Father/Son/Holy Spirit. Second Chronicles: chapter seven, verse fourteen—————— Have a blessed Lord’s Day tomorrow as all churches gather on the last Sunday of 2013. What a pivitol year this one has been. Come Lord Jesus,… Read more »
George McClain
Guest

We owe Bishop Schol our deep appreciation for living up to the prophetic task of leadership. He’s doing what we elected him for. He’s embodying the living Christ, in my opinion. Thanks to God for emboldening him to claim this prophetic voice.

james
Guest

The bishops worship at the altar of political correctness and multiculturalism. They are afraid to lead and take a stand–those things may cost them the phylacteries of the office they hold. They occupy the same position(s) the religious authorities did when Jesus walked among men way back when…………………..

Wes Andrews
Guest
While I respect the office and role of a Bishop I have found few if any who have ever really lead the UMC to a stronger mission and proclamation of the Gospel. More often than not, they just protect the bureaucracy rather than the local church. Most of the UM agencies, Universities and Seminaries have been against the people, doctrine and the GC process of the UMC for decades. They have exploited those faithful generations who were always taught to respect those in “authority.” The sad thing as that those who authority really haven’t returned the favor. Our Bishops have… Read more »
james
Guest
How, WAD, should one start to stir up “mainline” members of the umc? Seems to me those folks are the ones who are semiregular at church and have been educated–faith-wise–in very watered down umc Sunday Schools for the past 50-60 years. Seems that most of them do not put a priority on church–and have not encouraged their children to be a part. Just as it will take a generation–at least–to move this once great country back to biblical roots of the founding fathers–it will take at least as long to move the current umc back to the United Methodist Church.… Read more »
James Ballard
Guest

I watch the Bishop’s message. He would take away the only ultimate recourse for rebellious behavior because he can’t discipline. He has lost his moral courage. His claims that he will work with all Methodist people and his claims that he will work for the ordination of LBGT person are mutually exclusive. Every appointment he makes should be scrutinized. There is no reason to trust him anymore because he is not being trustworthy with his vows.

Jay
Guest

The arrogance and blasphemy of such a post is mindblowing. God save us from people who put words in the mouth of our savior.

Wes Andrews
Guest

Arrogance and blasphemy is exactly what it is about Jay. You very clearly defined the entire efforts of those who reject the Biblical definition of marriage.

Theodore Hampton
Guest
In over 50 years of ministry I have watched the Church struggle with a myriad of issues. None create the hysteria that occurs when we try to discuss sexuality. A responsible student of scripture will know that there are many teaching that we either take with a grain of salt or ignore completely. Our stand on homosexuality is similar to our onetime stand on slavery and interracial marriage. We were wrong then and we are wrong now. Creation and the love of God are bigger than we are. We need to embrace our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters as… Read more »
Wes Andrews
Guest

Rev. Hampton, based on your statement then we might as well allow and celebrate people living together in serial monogamous relationships and polygamy as well…. and….. whatever people perceive as loving relationships…. If not the Biblical definition, then where do we stop? And when we do are we not discriminating against anyone or any group once we say , “no, that’s too far.” Really, the there is no logic in it.

james
Guest

I pray, Jay, you find a home that makes you content.

Jay
Guest
Thank you James. This is a painful time for me because my family has been Methodists for generations and I think of Methodism as my spiritual home and a legacy from my family. Moreover, I love my congregation and it is very difficult to break connection with them. I hope that they will be in the vanguard of forming a new denomination or at least leaving the UMC. (Our church has formally denounced the BOD declaration that homosexuality is incompatible with Christianity and has for the last ten years at least blessed same-sex unions. Our pastor is scheduled to perform… Read more »
MethodistPie
Guest
I can only imagine what Jay’s pastor must be experiencing. He or she is obviously really trying to relate–but it’s not enough. I personally believe that the United Methodist position is one of trying to walk the fine line between law and grace–BOTH of which are long standing elements of the Christian tradition in general and Methodism in particular. Obviously, it’s not enough for some. I get that. For others, it’s already WAY TOO MUCH. I do believe Jay wants Methodists to become Episcopalians. Others want us to be Southern Baptists. I like being a Methodist and am kind of… Read more »
Wes Andrews
Guest
Well said, MethodistPie. I am fully in support of welcoming everyone and embracing them as brothers and sisters. I don’t want Methodism to morph into either Episcopalian or Southern Baptist type churches. And I actually have deep compassion in regard to the internal conflict anyone has as they try to find that place of peace and balance in their understanding of where they fit into God’s grace and family. I have been grateful for the stance that the UMC has declared all people as having sacred worth. It is unfortunate that we have had to essentially single out homosexuality as… Read more »
Wes Andrews
Guest

The absurdity is comparing United Methodists who refuse to reject the Biblical definition of marriage to the cult of Westboro Baptist Church and their leader.

So, that’s how the pro-gay marriage/ordination folk think about faithful United Methodists who have been nothing but loving and affirming of gays as people of sacred worth. Jay, thank you for proving my point.

Wes Andrews
Guest

Jay, I’m curious do you think that polygamy is incompatible with Christian teaching?

Jay
Guest

Wes Andrews, I don’t what is more absurd, your attempt at feigning compassion or your attempt to cast yourself as a victim. The bigotry in this denomination is not directed toward those who are called “homophobes” but those who are said to be incompatible with Chrisitianity and are often called immoral or unBiblical or unfaithful or such other hurtful lies. Sorry, there is no difference between the position conservative Methodists hold and that held by Baptists (including, alas, Fred Phelps).

Wes Andrews
Guest

Bishops who have lost their faith in the Truth, the Scripture, and the honorable process of GC. If they cannot uphold the doctrines of the UMC, they should resign.

jeff
Guest

Thank you, Bishop, your tears mean more than words can say. I applaud you for helping to lead the way to equality for all in this church we love. I believe you took us a step closer to the day when the Council of Bishops speaks with a majority (if not unanimous) voice and proclaims that there wil be no more church trials for gays and lesbians and those who marry them.

Jay
Guest

I am moved and pleased by the message of Bishop Schol. It comes too late for me. I have heard too many ugly and narrow-minded voices, many of them in comments at UM Reporter and other blogs, for me to reconsider my difficult decision to leave the denomination. But I appreciate the voices of those who offer genuinely open hearts, open minds, and open doors.

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