United Methodist Church: Revised Position on Homosexuality

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 03, 2011 11:27 PM GMT
    I got this email from my church pastor, who is female! Please see below. I'm utterly proud to say that I am a United Methodist. We've come a LONG way from the days of having denied people based on gender, race, and ethnicity.

    [The letter which follows is the one we have asked the Council of Bishops Office to use in distribution of the statement to the entire Council.]

    February 1, 2011

    To: The Council of Bishops

    From: Bishops Rader and Ott

    You will find with this brief letter a statement we authored and which many retired bishops affirmed with their names.

    We began this writing and action, last December, in reflection on the Advent lections and new church/new calendar years. We sought the counsel of the Officers and Executive Committee at their January meetings.

    Acknowledging concern for the multiple responsibilities of all the active resident bishops, we determined to invite supportive names only from our colleagues in the retired relation. Language was altered to give clarity that only some of the retirees were affirming of the statement.

    For nearly four decades our Church has sought to minister to all people in the name of Jesus with guiding and limiting Disciplinary language. We, and we believe the bishops whose names appear on this statement of Counsel to the Church, have experienced many, if not all, of the limitations to effective ministry cited. All, whose names appear, urge this change.

    We hope and we pray that this statement and action will find other supportive friends. We believe it to be of God.

    Grace to you, and Peace.


    January 31, 2011

    A Statement of Counsel to the Church - 2011

    Out of concern for the welfare of all God’s people, and, out of special concern for the people of The United Methodist Church, we, United Methodist Bishops – retired, believe The United Methodist Church should remove the following statement from The Book of Discipline, circa 2008:

    “…The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.” 304.3

    Our lives and ministries over the years have included prayerful, thoughtful consideration of our Holy Bible, our Wesleyan heritage, reflection on our experience of the church and world, and our conviction of God’s intention for a world transformed.

    With this statement of conviction and counsel we seek:

    -To affirm that the historic tests of “gifts and evidence of God’s grace” for ordained ministry override any past or present temporal restrictions such as race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

    -To urge the Church, ecumenical and denominational, to change the manner in which it relates to gay, lesbian and transgendered persons in official statements, judicial proceedings, and in congregational life.

    -To declare our conviction that the current disciplinary position of The United Methodist Church, a part of our historical development, need not, and should not, be embraced as the faithful position for the future.

    -To make known our names and shared personal conviction on this matter and to encourage other church and Episcopal leaders to do the same.

    With increasing frequency we observe and experience the following disturbing realities and know them to be detrimental to the mission of a Church of Jesus Christ:

    -Laity and clergy, gay and straight, withdrawing membership or absenting themselves from the support of congregational and denominational Church life in order to maintain personal integrity.

    -Young adults, especially, embarrassed to invite friends and expressing dismay at the unwillingness of our United Methodist Church to alter its 39-year exclusionary stance.

    -Closeted pastors, currently called and ordained in our church, living divided lives while offering effective appreciated ministry.

    -Bishops being drained of energy by upholding Church Discipline while regarding it as contrary to their convictions.

    -Bishops caught between care for the Church by reappointing an effective gay or lesbian pastor and care for the Discipline by charging them under current legislation.

    -Seminary leaders desiring greater flexibility and openness from the church in order to advance their mission of identifying, recruiting, enrolling, educating and spiritually forming Christian leaders.

    -Christian gay men and women understanding themselves called of God to seek ministry opportunities within their United Methodist family Church home, but having to decide between:

    -leaving to go to accepting denominations, or
    -staying and praying for change, or
    -challenging Church law and accepting punitive actions.

    Our United Methodist Church, ashamed and repentant in the past, ended official and unofficial restrictions on candidacy, ordination and appointment for reason of race, gender and ethnicity. We believe the God we know in Jesus is leading us to issue this counsel and call – a call to transform our church life and our world.

    United Methodist Episcopal Leaders-Retired:

    Sharon Z. Rader
    Donald A. Ott
    Beverly Shamana
    C. Joseph Sprague (Pastors and works at churches here in Columbus!)
    Melvin G. Talbert
    S. Clifton Ives
    Joe A. Wilson
    William Lewis
    Forrest Stith
    Susan Morrison
    Susan Hassinger
    Judy Craig
    Dale White
    William Boyd Grove
    C. P. Minnick
    Kenneth L. Carder
    Roy I. Sano
    Joe Yeakel
    Kenneth Hicks
    Joseph Humper
    Monk Bryan
    Jesse DeWitt
    Jack Tuell
    J. Lloyd Knox
    Charles W. Jordan
    J. Lawrence McCleskey
    Marshall L. Meadors, Jr.
    Franz Schafer
    Sheldon Duecker
    Fritz Mutti
    Cal McConnell
    Leontine T. C. Kelly
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 04, 2011 12:07 AM GMT
    Great news!
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    Feb 04, 2011 12:44 AM GMT
    The proof will be in the removal of the cited statement from the 2008 Methodist Book of Discipline. Until that happens (and I wouldn't hold my breath), this is an encouraging gesture, but without any real impact on Methodists, or anyone else.
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    Feb 04, 2011 2:42 AM GMT
    Art_Deco saidThe proof will be in the removal of the cited statement from the 2008 Methodist Book of Discipline. Until that happens (and I wouldn't hold my breath), this is an encouraging gesture, but without any real impact on Methodists, or anyone else.


    Well, it's a start and that means something to me and other Methodists like me.
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    Feb 04, 2011 5:32 AM GMT
    I admire them greatly for signing their names to this, and thanks for sharing it, Columbusite. It's one thing to yap about being christian and it's a wonderful other to actually be one in action and intent, which these people are demonstrating.

    -Doug