May 5, 2003
SOULFORCE IN OKLAHOMA TO CONDUCT VIGIL OUTSIDE UNITED METHODIST
CONFERENCE IN OKLAHOMA CITY, MAY 26-29
Vigil to accentuate oppression of gays and lesbians by United
Methodist Church policies and practices
Soulforce in Oklahoma Press Release
(Oklahoma) - On Wednesday evening, May 28th at 7pm, Soulforce In
Oklahoma will conduct a press conference at 6:30 pm and a prayer
vigil from 5 pm - 10 pm outside St. Luke's United Methodist Church,
225 N.W. 15th, Oklahoma City, OK. St. Luke's is the site for an
ordination service for candidates for ministry in the United
Methodist Church as part of the statewide Oklahoma Annual Conference
While the service is being conducted, Soulforce In Oklahoma, along
with all who would like to join, will be participating in a prayer
vigil holding pictures and silhouettes with the stories of gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons who have been denied
ordination in the UM Church because of their sexual orientation.
Although the United Methodist Book of Discipline prohibits ordination
of "self-avowed practicing homosexuals", its social principles state
that certain basic human rights and civil liberties are due all
persons and that the UM Church supports efforts to stop violence
against gays and lesbians.
Additionally, the Book of Discipline calls homosexuality
"incompatible with Christian teaching" and will not allow ministers
to bless same sex unions.
"By rejecting people for ordination who are in loving committed
relationship solely based on their sexual orientation and gender of
their partner, the United Methodist Church is causing great anguish
and spiritual violence," said Karen Weldin, founder and President of
Soulforce in Oklahoma. "It is a shame that a person called to
ministry in the United Methodist Church has to chose between being
truthful about who God created them to be and lose their livelihood,
or lie and serve the church.
Soulforce in Oklahoma will be asking candidates for ordination to
step aside until the church begins ordaining all people regardless
of sexual orientation, and will be standing vigil outside to support
anyone who chooses to do so.
Those wishing to take part in the vigils must have completed a
previous Soulforce nonviolence training. A training will be offered
for new people in both Tulsa and Oklahoma City on Tuesday, May 27
from 6-9pm. (OKC: Epworth United Methodist Church 1901 N. Douglas.
TULSA: Community of Hope UCC 2545 S. Yale.)
Additionally, Soulforce in Oklahoma and Epworth United Methodist
Church will be co-sponsoring displays from "The Shower of Stoles
Project" from Monday afternoon, May 26 and Tuesday May 27 -Wednesday
May 29 from 7am - 5pm at Oklahoma City University in the Freede
Soulforce in Oklahoma is a licensed local group affiliate of
Soulforce, Inc., a national interfaith movement committed to ending
spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings
against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people. Both
organizations teach and apply the nonviolent principles of M.K.
Gandhi and Martin Luther King to the liberation of sexual
For more information or registration, see
or email Soulforce In Oklahoma at
or call us at 918-452-2761.
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