More than 100 clergy come out in the lead up to General Conference

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In a continuation of actions leading up to the 2016 United Methodist General Conference, the Reconciling Ministries Network released a letter today from 111 United Methodist Clergy who self identified as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, and Intersex (LGBTQI) in opposition to the United Methodist current teaching which says that self-avowed, practicing homosexuals are not allowed as ministers. The letter was originally released through the Reconciling Ministries Network website (RMN) which crashed due to the high volume of visitors wanting to read the statement.

The letter acknowledged the pain that these clergy have felt in their closeted status in the church.

However, while we have sought to remain faithful to our call and covenant, you have not always remained faithful to us. While you have welcomed us as pastors, youth leaders, district superintendents, bishops, professors, missionaries and other forms of religious service, you have required that we not bring our full selves to ministry, that we hide from view our sexual orientations and gender identities. As long as we did this, you gladly affirmed our gifts and graces and used us to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world in the varied places you sent us.

While some of us have been lucky to serve in places where we could serve honestly and openly, there are others in places far more hostile, who continue to serve faithfully even at tremendous cost to themselves, their families, and yes, even the communities they serve, who do not receive the fullness of their pastor’s gifts because a core part must remain hidden.

The group expressed their desire to remain in the United Methodist Church, in spite of the call from more conservative voices who believe that those unwilling to abide by the current teaching of the church should leave.

Foremost, we want you to know we still love you and seek to remain in relationship with you. Even if we should leave and you seek more restrictive language against LGBTQI persons, know that God will continue to move mysteriously in the hearts of LGBTQI young people and adults and will call them to serve within this denomination. You cannot legislate against God’s call. The “LGBTQI issue” is not one that can be resolved through restrictive legislation but instead by seeing that all persons are made in the image of God and welcomed into the community of faith.

Today’s action comes on the heels of two public same-sex weddings over the past couple of weekends.

UPDATE: Click here to read the response from Good News.

Jay Voorhees, Former Executive Editor

The Rev. Jay Voorhees is the Executive Editor of The United Methodist Reporter and the Chief Creative Officer for CircuitWriter Media LLC which operates this site and MethoBlog.com. Jay is an ordained elder in the Tennessee Annual Conference. Jay has written on life and the practice of faith in The United Methodist Church at Only Wonder Understands since 2003.

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5 Comments on "More than 100 clergy come out in the lead up to General Conference"

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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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Richard F Hicks
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“. . . the website crashed due to the number of people wanting to read the letter . . . ” No, that’s not it. UMs don’t gossip. We keep our prayer lists up-dated. Thank you.

Mark Hiser
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Thank you! Thank you for your work to advance God’s love for ALL persons. Thank you for your sacrifice to bring healing to those who rejected and hurt by the church. May we return the favor to you.

Joy Butler
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Edit needed: “on the heels” not “on the heals”, although both the weddings and the #CallingOUT actions do much to heal the trauma inflicted by UMC policy and polity.

Mary Page
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God has to move mysteriously in the heterosexual population to make the change. There are not enough of the other or it would have already happened to do it that way. Though it can take only one to change it apparently the mustard seed faith has not happened which means no one is doing it the Way Christ wants. If a thing is in contradiction it is a lie CS Lewis. So what is the lie and what is the contradiction

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