- Jan 16, 2013
A new group called Western Methodist Justice Movement will meet soon to discuss action on a number of issues, including opposition to the UMC stance on homosexuality. Press release below:
WESTERN UNITED METHODISTS PLAN MINISTRY OF JUSTICE
Ignore Rules Against "Homosexuals"
Western United Methodists are gathering to take action on historic statements by the leadership in the Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church (UMC).
The first gathering of a group calling themselves the Western Methodist Justice Movement will be held at University United Methodist Church near the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) January 30-February 1. Activists will be addressed by Kuusela Hilo, an organizer for United Nurses Associations, SEIU, Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, South of Market Community Action Network and Filipino Bayanihan Resource Center. Hilo will outline connections between issues such as immigration justice, racism, sexism, heterosexism, reproductive choice, and "extravagant hospitality."
Attendees will build on prior work on 9 action areas addressing the challenges of the diversity of the Western Jurisdiction of the UMC. The Jurisdiction extends from the eastern plains of Colorado to the Pacific islands of Guam and Saipan, and is one of the most diverse regions in the world.
The newly-named movement was inspired by a statement in 2000, voicing disagreement with the denomination's stance on homosexuality and the inclusion of gay and lesbian persons in the church. That statement has been expanded to include many concerns related to inclusion and justice for all persons, until, in 2012, the Western Jurisdiction Conference said that "the United Methodist Church is in error on the subject of 'homosexuality?s incompatibility with Christian teaching'" and called all to create "a church where all people are truly welcome."
Remembering the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere," campus minister Rev. Frank Wulf spoke of the connections. "The work of justice is bigger than one cause or one movement," he said. "The rights and well-being of women, ethnic minorities, indigenous persons, immigrants, lgbt persons, young persons, poor persons, and the world itself are all connected in the heart of God. Our task as the Western Methodist Justice Movement is to ensure that we support each other and work together for a world where God's abundance is truly manifested and where all experience the fullness of the lives that God has given to them."
Answering criticism that the West advocates leaving the United Methodist Church, "The Western Methodist Justice Movement is for people who love the Methodist movement, who love God and who care for all of God's creation. It is for people who are fed up with waiting [for the denomination to change] and want to be the church," says Rev. Janet McKeithen, pastor of pastor of Church in Ocean Park, Santa Monica, California and a leader of the California-Pacific chapter of Methodists for Social Action. She insists that the "recent focus on decline and institutional needs have zapped energy from faithful people who are trying to do good work."
Attendees will have opportunities to connect with others of similar interests and passions, to be challenged by the keynote speaker, to be inspired, and to plan to be sure that "what happens in Las Vegas does not stay in Las Vegas," as one of the planners put it.
Preliminary schedule and registration information is at WMJM.org.
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