MFSA releases statement on worship controversy

MFSA-01PORTLAND, OR –  The Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) released a statement this afternoon on the decision of the General Conference 2016 worship team to remove mention of sexual orientation and gender identity in her remark’s as a part of the opening worship service today. Rev. Flippin chose to not participate in the worship service due to that request.

The statement reads as follows:

This morning, Methodist Federation for Social Action’s (MFSA) board of director’s Co-President, Rev. Vicki Flippin, received notice from the Worship Director of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church to remove mention of sexual orientation and gender identity from her remarks in this afternoon’s opening worship for the every-four-year global gathering of the denomination in Portland, Oregon.

Those asked to bring opening remarks were asked to share greetings from their ministry contexts. Rev. Flippin serves as Associate Pastor at Church of the Village, a progressive, multi-cultural, and Reconciling congregation in the West Village section in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. “My context is one of ministry to and with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) people in our city,” states Flippin.

When asked to remove her references to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, Flippin responded that she could not “in good conscience participate in a service that will not even pretend to welcome and include God’s LGBTQI children.”

MFSA executive director, Chett Pritchett, states, “Worship should be the space for all people to be welcomed and recognized as being made in God’s image. Sadly, the institutional Church has failed queer people like myself yet again, on one hand calling us ‘of sacred worth,’ but clearly not worthy enough to be directly mentioned in what should be our denomination’s proudest moment.”

This afternoon’s opening worship begins 10 days of legislation, worship, and witness for the 12 million member global denomination. One of the most pressing conversations will center on the Church’s welcome to LGBTQI people and those in ministry with them.

Since 1907, the Methodist Federation for Social Action has worked to mobilize, lead, and sustain a progressive movement, energizing people to be agents of God’s justice, peace, and reconciliation. As an independent, faith-based organization, MFSA leads both church and society on issues of peace, poverty, people’s rights, progressive issues, and justice in The United Methodist Church.

For more information about MFSA, please visit

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 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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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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As a Question of clarification, seeing the worship service, was Rev. Flipin asked to be one of the many people from all over the world who greeted us in the name of Christ? Or was she asked to be a specific speaker who was to give an individual greeting?
Just wondered, because the many who greeted us from their countries and in their language seemed very focused on Jesus Christ and if it was then I can see more why the so worship team wanted to focus on what unites us (Jesus Christ) and not what divides us.

Richard F Hicks
Richard F Hicks

I remember Tex Sample’s lecture from seminary “Oral People and Literate Clergy.” While clergy and the GC try to recreate Shakespeare as a committee of the whole, poetry is being lived out by those serving the last, the least,and the lost. There are not delegates. They are busy living the Gospel not arguing over ink on paper. Thank you, Richard F Hicks, OKC

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