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Affirmation Press Release: In All Things, Charity

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  • Gary Shephard UMAffEAdmin
    In All Things, Charity For Immediate Release, Saturday August 29, 2009 By Affirmation Co-spokesperson Tim Tennant-Jayne The Evangelical Lutheran Church in
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 29, 2009
      In All Things, Charity

      For Immediate Release, Saturday August 29, 2009

      By Affirmation Co-spokesperson Tim Tennant-Jayne

      The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) made two very important
      decisions while meeting in Minneapolis, MN, at their Church-wide Assembly
      2009. First they approved a social statement on human sexuality, "Human
      Sexuality: Gift and Trust," which is very supportive of same gender
      orientation and gender identity while recognizing that there is not
      uniformity of opinion within the denomination. They also supported allowing
      local congregations to choose to call and ordain homosexual clergy who are
      living out their orientation. Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian,
      Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns, applauds the ELCA for making
      these faith filled decisions and congratulates the organizations of Goodsoil
      for their work to ensure these actions.

      The social statement provides the basis and guidance to form policy and
      programs for the ELCA. It is tolerant of differences in scriptural
      interpretation and in practice. The statement supports unity without
      requiring uniformity. And while the ELCA did allow openly lesbian, gay, and
      bisexual clergy to be ordained, it forbade them from entering into
      life-affirming, same-gender relationships. Now all ELCA clergy need not
      fear loving the person of their choice. The denomination allows individual
      congregations to call someone who is in a relationship.

      Some people noted that while the Assembly was discussing the Human Sexuality
      statement, a tornado caused damage to the building where the delegates were
      meeting. These voices fearfully pronounced this a sign of God's disfavor.
      As Christians, we are filled with God's spirit of discernment and love and
      find this style of theologizing immature and on a level with studying animal
      entrails to learn God's will. Moreover, these persons failed to discern
      that the sun reappeared upon the taking of the vote to accept the study.

      Affirmation celebrates the increasing number of Christian denominations that
      recognize that God's love for us is not limited by who we are or whom we
      love. We call upon The United Methodist Church to follow the guidance of
      the denominations which have opened themselves up to proclaiming and living
      God's love. These churches recognize that God does not limit a call to
      specialized service within the Church by gender identity or sexual
      orientation. Yes, this is an area of great disagreement within our
      denomination and our society and causes members to leave the church.
      However, most important issues rarely bring total uniformity. As United
      Methodists, we have found ways to follow John Wesley's teaching of "In
      essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity". Our
      diversity is a strong point of our denomination. Affirmation recognizes
      that the solutions crafted by the ELCA or other denominations may not work
      for The United Methodist Church. Yet we pledge that we will continue to
      work with The United Methodist Church in finding ways to be welcoming of all
      of God's people.


      As an independent voice of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer
      people, Affirmation radically reclaims the compassionate and transforming
      gospel of Jesus Christ by relentlessly pursuing full inclusion in the Church
      as we journey with the Spirit in creating God's beloved community.

      Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and
      Queer Concerns is an activist, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization
      with no official ties to The United Methodist Church.

      How to Contact Us: email: umaffirmation@...
      Affirmation web: http://www.umaffirm.org

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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