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The UMC

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  • UMAffirmation
    Fall 2012 Judicial Council roundup by United Methodist News Service By Neill Caldwell* (There s quite a bit of
    Message 1 of 11 , Dec 16, 2012
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      Fall 2012 Judicial Council roundup

      by United Methodist News Service

      By Neill Caldwell*

      (There’s quite a bit of information in the article.  I’ve deleted a lot from the front it.)

      Issues related to homosexuality

      Several of the items before the council dealt with related to homosexuality. The denomination’s official position is that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. The church forbids the ordination of self-avowed practicing gays and lesbians, and it forbids the performance of same-gender union services in its sanctuaries and by its clergy. The church also holds that all people are of sacred worth.

      http://umcconnections.org/2012/10/29/fall-2012-judicial-council-roundup/

       

       

      Western Jurisdiction group to hold vigils

      SANTA MONICA, Calif. (UMNS) — United Methodist churches throughout the Western Jurisdiction are scheduling prayer vigils during the fall meeting of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, Nov. 4-9. The gatherings will pray that the bishops will embrace the vision of “Biblical Obedience,” the Western Jurisdiction’s movement against The United Methodist Church’s teaching on homosexuality. The Church in Ocean Park, a United Methodist congregation in Santa Monica, Calif., has scheduled one of the vigils at noon Sunday, Nov. 4. The Book of Discipline, the denomination’s law book, says the practice of homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” The book prohibits United Methodist churches from hosting and clergy from officiating at “ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions.” 

       

       

      What the Presidential Election Should Teach the UMC

      by Eric Folkerth

      November 9, 2012

      It's a buzz word. It's a concept.

      The question is asked: "In every place where we do ministry, what does the mission field look like?"

      It's a very very good question, and I'm glad we're asking it. Demographics, we are learning, matter to church growth. In fact, seen from one perspective, demographics are destiny when it comes to church growth.

      So it is that many of us United Methodist pastors/congregations are now asked:

      "Who are the people your church is trying to reach?"

      "Who are the people who would miss you if you were not around?"

      "What demographic trends are changing in your neighborhoods?"

      http://um-insight.net/articles/what-the-presidential-election-can-teach-the-umc/

       

       

      Church marking 20 years of welcoming lesbian, gay, transgender parishioners

      By Juan Castillo

      American-Statesman Staff

      Trinity United Methodist Church of Austin is commemorating its 20th year of welcoming people of all sexual orientations and gender identities with an event Friday it is billing as a “20th Anniversary Gay-la.”

      The Methodist Book of Discipline, which contains church doctrine, prohibits the ordination of self-avowed homosexuals and forbids ministers from conducting gay marriage ceremonies or blessing same-sex unions. In May, the United Methodist Church’s general assembly determined that the Book of Discipline would continue to call the practice of homosexuality incompatible with Christian teaching.

      http://m.statesman.com/news/news/church-marking-20-years-of-welcoming-lesbian-gay-t/nSzmz/

       

       

      Comments by Rev. David Weekley for the Virtual Ritual for LGBTQAI Justice by members of the National Religious Leaders Roundtable of  The Gay and Lesbian Task Force/ November 8, 2012

      Jeremiah 8: 21-23: “The wounds of my people wound me too. Is there no balm in Gilead? Who will turn my head into a fountain and my eyes into a spring of tears so that

      I may weep all day, all night for the wounded out of my people?”

      Sven Lindqvist: Swedish Historian and author of, Exterminate all the Brutes, a historical analysis of the Holocaust.   “It is not knowledge we lack. What is missing is the courage to understand what we know and to draw conclusions.”

      Both quotes are from the Introduction to M. Shawn Copeland’s, Enfleshing Freedom: body, race, and being

      When I first heard about this virtual post-election ritual I had no idea what to expect. This is because I had no idea what I would experience on November 6. My greatest hopes were for the re-election of the first President publically committed to marriage equality and full civil rights for our community, and at least one victory in one state where marriage equality was on the ballot. What happened truly exceeded my hopes. Today I believe we celebrate and move into a new era in the effort to achieve full equality for transgender, gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex, and queer-identified people. I believe this not only because of what happened on Election Day, but HOW it happened. Preceding this Election Day 32 states had voted on the definition of marriage, restricting it to heterosexual unions. Now, three states, Maine, Maryland, and Washington have voted BY POPULAR BALLOT, to support marriage equality; and a fourth state, Minnesota, refused to write its same-sex marriage ban into the state constitution. This is the first time ever that marriage equality has passed in any state by ballot! In addition, New Hampshire is the first state to elect all women as its governor, senators, and congressional representatives. And in Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin is elected as the first openly lesbian senator. Yes, we still have much work to do, and we know our nation remains polarized around many issues. Still, the results of this election bring hope to me as an American, as a transgender man, as a United Methodist Clergy, as a person of faith, and as a human being, that the tide has turned, and that the expansion of marriage equality and the election of a president who supports justice and equality for all LGBTQ people will not only inspire other states to follow, but encourage Congress to move toward full protection for all LGBTQ citizens.

      As a Christian this election is both inspiring and affirming for me. When people look at me too often they see a white, male protestant “clergy-man” and identify me as “enemy” I understand this, because traditionally it has been that same population that is most outspoken and openly hostile towards our community. For years I and other progressive Christians have grieved this perception and longed for the day when the gospel was no longer twisted and distorted to represent and enforce a conservative and unjust political agenda. As I said, I know we have a long way to go- but the tide has turned. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism declared there is no holiness but social holiness. He dedicated his life to acting on behalf of those who were marginalized and deprived of justice in his lifetime. He did this because he believed this is what it means to follow Jesus as a disciple. He did this because of his faith in a God who loves all people, and who passionately desires just and right relationships. As a United Methodist I follow Wesley in this spiritual tradition, and in his understanding of the gospel as GOOD news of freedom, inclusion and justice for all people.

      This election, some of the wounds of our people have been recognized and addressed. Perhaps the fountain of tears may become a fountain of joy as we continue living and working together. I believe, as Sven Linqvist stated in his commentary on the Holocaust, “It is not knowledge that we lack. What is missing is the courage to understand what we know and to draw conclusions.”

      My hope and prayer today is that this Election has shown that as individuals and as a nation we do have the courage to understand what we know, to draw conclusions, and to act with justice.      

       

       

      Why Splitting the UMC Is a Bad Idea

      by Craig L. Adams

      November 13, 2012

      Back on October 19th the United Methodist Reporter ran an article by Dr. Thomas Glenn "Jack" Jackson III, E. Stanley Jones Assistant Professor of Evangelism, Mission, and Global Methodism at Claremont School of Theology entitled Breaking up is hard, but right thing for the UMC.

      It came out at the same time I was having major computer (and some health) difficulties (see: Personal Update 10/30/12), so I did not comment on the article here.

      I did post John Wesley’s comments on schism — that was a comment of sorts.

      http://um-insight.net/articles/splitting-the-umc-is-a-bad-idea/

       

       

      Confessing and Reconciling: One Body Through the Cross

      by Bishop Kenneth Carter

      November 15, 2012

      Freshman Bishop Kenneth Carter (second from right) preached at the fall session of the Council of Bishops. With him in this photo at this year's consecration are (l to r) Bishops Young Jin Ho, Deborah Padgett-Wallace, William McAlilly, and Jonathan Holston

      When I was being interviewed for this possibility, and when I was consecrated as a bishop and when I was installed -- and it does all seem to be a blur -- I continued to hear a few recurring phrases that are within our Books of Discipline and Worship.

      A bishop is called to guard the faith, to seek the unity and to exercise the discipline of the whole Church.”

      In one moment along the way I was asked, in front of a large group of committed, invested, diverse, faithful and, yes, exhausted Christian people,

      http://um-insight.net/blogs/ken-carter/confessing-and-reconciling/

       

       

      Is the UMC a Big Tent or a Circus?

      by Patrick Scriven

      November 18, 2012

      During its 2012 session, the Pacific Northwest Conference voted overwhelmingly to support the marriage equality bill that was before voters in Washington state on election day. Bishop Grant J. Hagiya embodied the will of the conference by offering his voice to the Washington United for Marriage campaign; speaking with clarity about the importance of religious freedom. With the approval of Referendum 74, United Methodist clergy and congregations have two distinct questions to wrestle with.

      http://um-insight.net/articles/is-the-umc-a-big-tent-or-a-circus/

       

       

      Why Gays Should Be Glad Church Isn’t Safe

      by Wes Magruder

      December 11, 2012

      [Editor’s note:  for dissenting opinions, keep reading.  On a personal note:  In 2001 I was almost kicked out of my church home of 17 years because of my sexual orientation.  Even spaces perceived as safe sometimes aren’t.  Things took the better part of a year to calm down.  I’ve now been at this church for 28 years.]

      I received an email once which went something like this:

      Hi, my partner and I are trying to find a church home. We haven’t been in years, but feel the need to reconnect with a faith community. We’ve thought about visiting your church, but I don’t know what your congregation would think about having a gay couple attend service. We aren’t looking to cause problems, but we also don’t want to be rejected. Do you believe it would be safe for us to visit this Sunday?

      As a United Methodist pastor, I tried my best to make church a safe place for everyone. To ensure the safety of children and young people, we implemented programs like Safe Sanctuaries and Ministry Safe. Boards of Trustees worked hard to ensure that the facilities were kept accessible for the elderly and disabled.

      http://um-insight.net/blogs/wes-magruder/why-gays-should-be-glad-church-isn%E2%80%99t-safe/

       

       

      December 11, 2012

      A response to Rev. Wes Magruder: Why we need safe churches

      - by Mary Ann Kaiser -

      Yesterday, Wes Magruder wrote a lovely piece on LGBTQ people and our relationship to the church entitled “Why gays should be glad church isn’t safe.” His heartfelt and honest words illuminated the difficulty a pastor has in protecting her or his congregants. He shared the struggle of responding to a gay couple who asked if his church would be a safe place for them to visit. The reality, he reminded us, is that there is really no such thing as a completely safe space in church. The beauty of the church, in fact, is partly that we are all diverse people made of various ideas, experiences, theologies, and opinions. He even spoke to the truth that “church committees are full of folks who are racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic.” After highlighting the reality that there really is no way to promise anyone they will always feel truly safe and accepted in a church space, or any space for that matter, Magruder shared some beautiful words about what it means to struggle in a community and find love in the midst of tension.

      http://www.rmnblog.org/2012/12/a-response-to-rev-wes-magruder-why-we-need-safe-churches.html

       

       

      December 12, 2012

      One "Gay" Who Grieves That Church Isn't Safe: A Response to Dr. Magruder

      - by Leland G. Spencer IV -

      Two days ago, the Rev. Dr. Wes Magruder wrote a post to which I had an initially negative reaction. Upon reading the comments and discussing it on Facebook with a friend, my reaction developed more nuance, and I decided instead of commenting, that I wanted to write a post in response.

      Dr. Magruder suggests that "gays" should "be glad church isn't safe." In response to a gay couple's query about whether they would be safe at the church he was pastoring, Dr. Magruder confesses that he had never "thought about how to make my church safe for gays and lesbians," though he's confident that "nobody would attack them physically, or throw stones." Nonetheless, church folk can be judgmental. "I can't make the church safe for anyone. Churches are filled with people who struggle to love, accept others, and live the Golden Rule."

      http://www.rmnblog.org/2012/12/one-gay-who-grives-that-church-isnt-safe-a-response-to-dr-magruder.html

    • UMAffirmation
      Western Jurisdiction won t walk away from UMC November 21, 2012 Posted by Special Contributor
      Message 2 of 11 , Jan 3, 2013
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        Western Jurisdiction won’t walk away from UMC

        November 21, 2012 Posted by Special Contributor

        By Patricia Farris, Special Contributor…

        Is the glass half full or half empty? It’s a trick question, of course, because the answer is always “Yes.”

        But in a win-lose paradigm, only one side can be right.

        And so, there are those, including my friend and colleague, Claremont School of Theology Professor Jack Jackson, who see the glass following General Conference 2012, as half, or less, empty. (See Dr. Jackson’s essay, “Breaking up is hard, but right thing for UMC,” Reporter Oct. 19.) Echoing the proposed “amicable separation” solution of 2008, the only course seems to be one of separation, in which the Western Jurisdiction and others of like mind agree to walk away.

        http://www.unitedmethodistreporter.com/2012/11/western-jurisdiction-wont-walk-away-from-umc/

         

         

        December 28, 2012

        Why I Doubt the UMC Can Handle Innovation

        A few weeks ago, a friend, Rob Rynders, posted a rousing call to innovation in the United Methodist Church. Along with the other members of the Missional Wisdom Foundation, I co-wrote a response to Rob’s call on our own website.

        We wanted to let him know that we were doing precisely what he called for. We are innovating within the church; we are doing some exciting new forms of ministry. In particular, I wrote a paragraph about New Day, the missional micro-communities which I have the privilege of helping to form and nurture.

        http://newmethofesto.com/2012/12/28/why-i-doubt-the-umc-can-handle-innovation/

         

         

        MIND offers new series of congregational workshops

        November 27, 2012 • Printer-friendly

        Register today for January 12 and 13 workshops

        MIND will hold a two-part workshop Saturday, January 12 (1 to 5pm) and Sunday, January 13 (3 to 6pm) at Asbury Crestwood UMC in Tuckahoe, NY for people interested in moving their congregations to become Reconciling congregations (that is, formally and explicitly welcoming of LGBT people and affiliated with the national Reconciling Ministries Network, of which MIND is the conference-level affiliate) and congregational signers of the Covenant of Conscience. The Saturday session will train people in the use of circle process in congregational discernment, including guidance on how to handle conflict. The Sunday session will focus on developing a specific process for a congregation on the path to becoming a Reconciling/covenant congregation. Both workshop sessions will be offered again in February. These two trainings may be taken in any order; those congregations who came to the July workshop should come for the Saturday session only. Space is limited, so registration is required.  To register, please send us an email and include your name and phone number and the name of your congregation.

        http://www.mindny.org/2012/11/mind-offers-new-series-of-congregational-workshops/

         

         

        How Will We Change Our Minds?

        by Gilbert H. Caldwell

        January 2, 2013

        In imitation of Martin Luther, the Christian Century magazine some years ago resumed a series, "How My Mind Has Changed." In the series the magazine asks theologians "to reflect on their own struggles, disappointments, questions and hopes as people of faith and to consider how their work and life have been intertwined," according to writer Paul J. Griffin.

        http://um-insight.net/blogs/gilbert-h-caldwell/how-will-we-change-our-minds%3F/

      • UMAffirmation
        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
        Message 3 of 11 , Jan 16, 2013
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          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.

        • UMAffirmation
          Bishop Dyck disputes disunity charge January 15, 2013 Posted by Sam Hodges, Managing Editor Bishop
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 6, 2013
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            Bishop Dyck disputes ‘disunity’ charge

            January 15, 2013 Posted by Sam Hodges, Managing Editor

             

            Bishop Sally Dyck’s recent statement endorsing same-sex marriage has drawn praise and criticism within the United Methodist Church, which officially holds that homosexual conduct is “incompatible with Christian teaching.”

             

            In an interview, she rejected claims by some that her stand will promote disunity in the denomination.

            “Find me a United Methodist who believes and accepts everything in the Book of Discipline,” she said, referring to the UMC law book. “Even (conservative unofficial UMC caucus) Good News respectfully noted that I hadn’t disobeyed the Book of Discipline. I was just publicly disagreeing with it. I don’t think that brings disunity.”

             

            http://www.unitedmethodistreporter.com/2013/01/bishop-dyck-disputes-disunity-charge/

             

             

            Book Review: ‘Torn’ offers balanced talk on church & homosexuality

            January 17, 2013 Posted by Special Contributor

            By Heath Bradley, Special Contributor

            Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate
            Jericho Books, 2012
            Hardcover, 272 pages

             

             Justin Lee has a voice and a story that everyone needs to listen to. He is the leader of the Gay Christian Network (gaychristian.net), a regular blogger (gcnjustin.tumblr.com) and, now, the author of Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate.

             

            In this, his first book, Mr. Lee offers his readers a wide-ranging discussion of the gay debate in the church today, including very evenhanded and brief overviews of the biblical and scientific debates surrounding homosexuality.

             

            http://www.unitedmethodistreporter.com/2013/01/book-review-torn-offers-balanced-talk-on-church-homosexuality/

             

             

            ·         Friday, February 15, at 7:30pm on KQED 9
            KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting present
            A Church Divided

            This documentary takes a look at the 2012 United Methodist Convention in Tampa, FL, where delegates from around the world gather to decide the future of the church and its official policy on gays and lesbians. Progressive Methodists want to amend church doctrine by removing the sentence that identifies the practice of homosexuality as incompatible with Christian teaching, while conservative evangelical Methodists want to retain the church’s traditional stance. Who will prevail?”

             

            The video is about 25 minutes long.

             

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LydlOEXTjSE

             

             

            UM agency leaders welcome news that Boy Scouts may end ban on gay scouts, leaders

            January 29, 2013 Posted by Heather Hahn, UMNS

             

            Editor’s note: At the bottom of this story is a further statement issued Jan. 31 by Gilbert Hanke of United Methodist Men.

             

            Leaders of two United Methodist agencies — United Methodist Men and United Methodist Board of Church and Society — welcomed news that the Boy Scouts of America is considering ending its decades-long ban on gay scouts and scout leaders.

             

            The proposed change would remove a national membership requirement dealing with sexual orientation and allow local charter organizations to decide. NBC News reports that the Boy Scouts of America could announce the change next week at the national board’s regularly scheduled meeting.

             

            http://www.unitedmethodistreporter.com/2013/01/um-agency-leaders-welcome-news-that-boy-scouts-may-end-band-on-gay-scouts-leaders/

             

             

            2 agencies agree with change in Boy Scout ban

            A UMNS Report
            By Heather Hahn*

            3:00 P.M. ET Jan. 29, 2013

             

            Leaders of two United Methodist agencies — United Methodist Men and United Methodist Board of Church and Society — welcomed news that the Boy Scouts of America is considering ending its decades-long ban on gay scouts and scout leaders.

             

            The proposed change would remove a national membership requirement dealing with sexual orientation and allow local charter organizations to decide. NBC News reports that the Boy Scouts of America could announce the change next week at the national board’s regularly scheduled meeting.

             

            http://www.umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=5259669&ct=12937601

             

             

            Men’s leader elaborates on scouting changes

            By Heather Hahn*

            5:30 P.M. ET Feb. 1, 2013 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)

             

            United Methodist Men’s top leader said he has faced criticism, questions and confusion since releasing a statement Jan. 29 affirming how changes proposed by the Boys Scouts of America would be implemented.

             

            Gilbert Hanke said he has even heard from some United Methodist scout leaders who are threatening to quit scouting altogether.

             

            http://www.umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=5259669&ct=12941195

          • UMAffirmation
            First UMC Austin joins Reconciling Ministries Network February 11, 2013 Posted by Sam Hodges, Managing Editor
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 18, 2013
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              First UMC Austin joins Reconciling Ministries Network

              February 11, 2013 Posted by Sam Hodges, Managing Editor

               

              The First United Methodist Church of Austin, Texas, voted Sunday, Feb. 10, to join the Reconciling Ministries Network, a group actively opposing the denomination’s stance on homosexuality.

               

              The UMC’s official position, stated in the Book of Discipline, is that the practice of homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” The UMC does not allow “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” to be ordained as clergy and does not allow clergy to officiate at same-sex unions.

               

              http://www.unitedmethodistreporter.com/2013/02/first-umc-austin-joins-reconciling-ministries-network/

               

               

              Holding the #UMC Hostage 01 – The Setting

              February 11, 2013 By UMJeremy

               
              The following is an entry in the “Holding the UMC Hostage” series regarding a manifesto that encourages discontent laity in our largest churches to defund the work of the global United Methodist Church. Read the full series:

              01 – The Setting | 02 – The Blueprint | 03 – The Effects | 04 – The Conclusion

               

              “The Methodists are one in all the world.” – John Wesley

               

              “A member of any local United Methodist Church is a member of the denomination and the catholic (universal) church” Book of Discipline ¶215, “The Wider Church”

              Introduction

              One of the jokes is that if you mistype “United Methodist” you end up with “Untied Methodist” which is apparently how some local churches feel on occasion. They feel like the Global Church structures can do no right, and they resent paying a yearly tithe (“Apportionment”) to the general church that funds the global work that the combined resources allow. They would rather be “untied” from that obligation or have those global church structures fall off into the sea altogether. And throughout our history, local churches have voted, schemed, and outright defied calls to pay the assigned amounts of these required funds.

               

              http://hackingchristianity.net/2013/02/holding-the-umc-ransom-01-the-setting.html

               

               

               

              On homosexuality, many Christians get the Bible wrong

              By Adam Hamilton,  Published: FEBRUARY 13, 4:00 PM ET

               

              Homosexuality is one of the most divisive issues within churches and across our country today. The issue has become, for some, a litmus test on fidelity to God and the scriptures. The divide is not just between the progressives and conservatives. It is also a generational divide, with younger Christians generally seeing this issue differently than older Christians.

               

              http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/on-homosexuality-many-christians-get-the-bible-wrong/2013/02/13/2443d062-761f-11e2-aa12-e6cf1d31106b_blog.html

            • Affirmation: United Methodists
              Can we get a 20-percent-off coupon for General Conference? by C. Chappell Temple Let s start with the
              Message 6 of 11 , Jun 30, 2013
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                Can we get a 20-percent-off coupon for General Conference?

                by C. Chappell Temple

                 

                Let’s start with the obvious: There is virtually nothing any church committee could do that is worth nearly $100,000 an hour. Yet if the cost projection of $10.8 million for the 2016 General Conference is correct, that is what we will be spending just to gather for our quadrennial assembly in Portland, Ore. That number is not only $2 million more than the price tag of the 2012 meeting in Tampa — which produced virtually no real changes in the corporate ordering of our church — but it is clearly not an acceptable ROI or “return on our investment” of church funds as well.

                 

                http://umcconnections.org/2013/06/20/can-we-get-a-20-percent-off-coupon-for-general-conference/

              • Affirmation: United Methodists
                Survey Respondents Back Lesbian s Deacon Candidacy by Cynthia B.
                Message 7 of 11 , Jul 13 11:47 AM
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                  Survey Respondents Back Lesbian's Deacon Candidacy

                  by Cynthia B. Astle

                  June 25, 2013

                  Nearly 40 percent of United Methodist Insight readers who responded to a recent survey say they think the Southwest Texas Annual Conference should have taken a defiant stance and approved the deacon candidacy of self-acknowledged lesbian Mary Ann Kaiser.

                  In response to the first question about readers' reactions to Ms. Kaiser's candidacy being revoked without a hearing, 39.9 percent of the 33 respondents said they thought the Southwest Texas Conference Board of Ordained Ministry should have taken a stand against The United Methodist Church's ban on the ordination of practicing LGBT people.

                  http://um-insight.net/issues-section/survey-respondents-back-lesbian%27s-deacon-candidacy/

                  Bishop rules on gay clergy candidate

                  By Heather Hahn*

                  6:00 P.M. July 2, 2013 | Nashville, Tenn. (UMNS)

                  United Methodists in Southwest Texas faced the question of whether a lesbian�s clergy candidacy process had been mishandled.

                  That question remains after San Antonio Bishop James E. Dorff � who leads the Southwest Texas Annual (regional) Conference � issued a ruling of church law and pastoral letter on Tuesday, July 2.

                  The decision stems from Mary Ann Kaiser�s removal from the ordination process on the recommendation of her conference�s board of ordained ministry. Kaiser is the youth director and justice associate at University United Methodist Church in Austin and had been pursuing ordination as a United Methodist deacon.

                  http://www.umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=5259669&ct=13190485

                  Wilson: Bishop�s decision was political and not spiritual

                  July 3, 2013 by Jarrell Wilson*

                  There is only word that comes to mind to describe the action of Bishop Dorff concerning the rule of law called for by Reverend John Elford � cowardly. Cowardly is the word that comes to mind, but a word that suits it better is political. Bishops are good politicians, and politicians get elected � plain and simple. That�s not to say that bishops are not well-suited for their jobs, or that the Holy Spirit plays no role in their elections, it is just a simple reminder, bishops are politicians and politicians do what they have to do to stay in power.

                  I expected Bishop Dorff to see the unconstitutional actions by the Board of Ordained Ministry and the SWTX clergy and restore what was stolen from Mary Ann Kaiser; instead he chose to see a loophole and a way out that let him look like a hero to conservatives in my conference, while not entirely looking like a villain to progressives � because he was just following the rules, the perfect political strategy. If he were running for public office I might even have cheered for that move because it was very cunning and not outright evil, but this isn�t a public office, it is an Episcopal office.� I have this really bad habit that I try to break year-after-year, but I never seem to break it, that habit is: expecting more from Christians.

                  http://www.unitedmethodistreporter.com/2013/07/wilson-bishops-decision-was-political-and-not-spiritual/

                  Lambrecht: Bishop and BOM justified in decision

                  July 3, 2013 Posted �By Rev. Thomas A. Lambrecht*

                  Bishop Jim Dorff has issued a ruling upholding (by default) the decision by the clergy session of the Southwest Texas Annual Conference to remove Ms. Mary Ann Kaiser from candidacy for ordained ministry.� Ms. Kaiser is an avowed lesbian living in a partnered relationship with another woman, and with the public intention of �marrying� the woman at the fall Reconciling Ministries Network Convocation in Maryland, where such weddings are legal.

                  http://www.unitedmethodistreporter.com/2013/07/lambrecht-bishop-and-bom-justified-in-decision/

                  Bishop rules on gay clergy candidate

                  Heather Hahn

                  6:00 P.M. July 2, 2013 | Nashville, Tenn. (UMNS)

                  United Methodists in Southwest Texas faced the question of whether a lesbian�s clergy candidacy process had been mishandled.

                  That question remains after San Antonio Bishop James E. Dorff � who leads the Southwest Texas Annual (regional) Conference � issued a ruling of church law and pastoral letter on Tuesday, July 2.

                  http://www.umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=5259669&ct=13190485

                  Elder accused of being �practicing� lesbian

                  by Heather Hahn

                  This marks the second time this year that a New York Annual (regional) Conference clergy member is facing a complaint under the denomination�s stance on homosexuality.

                  \The Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy, 39, previously has served in parish ministry and now serves in extension ministry as the dean of student development services in the State University of New York Sullivan, a community college. She also serves on the ministry team at Memorial United Methodist Church in White Plains, N.Y., where she preaches monthly.

                  http://umcconnections.org/2013/07/08/elder-accused-of-being-practicing-lesbian/?fb_source=pubv1

                  MIND steering committee member facing church prosecution

                  Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy, a gifted preacher, member of the MIND steering committee and longtime advocate for LGBTQ justice, is facing a possible church trial on the charge that she is a �self-avowed practicing homosexual,� a chargeable offense in the UMC Book of Discipline. Sara has lived a life of integrity, first in parish ministry and now in extension ministry as the dean of student development services at SUNY Sullivan. Even as the Supreme Court of the United States has affirmed that lesbians and gay men are entitled to the equal protection of the law and unprecedented progress has been made towards LGBTQ rights in civil society, the UMC seems hellbent on moving backwards towards 1692 rather than forwards into the 21st century. It is an outrage that anyone should be prosecuted simply for being who God created them to be.

                  http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=711fcb1772648db7bd075901e&id=6053690054&e=bf786f7c5e

                  Desert Southwest Annual Conference approves resolution supporting same-sex marriage

                  June 30, 2013 Posted by Jay Voorhees, Executive Editor

                  GLENDALE, Ariz. � A resolution supporting same-sex marriage and pledging support for clergy who perform marriage ceremonies for homosexual couples was approved by the Desert Southwest Annual Conference earlier today. The resolution, presented by a group called the �Welcoming and Reconciling Committee� resolved that the annual conference �make a public statement upholding marriage equality,� as well as supporting clergy who perform same-sex weddings, including those brought up on charges for their actions with spiritual, emotional, and prayerful support.

                  http://www.unitedmethodistreporter.com/2013/06/desert-southwest-annual-conference-approves-resolution-supporting-same-sex-marriage/

                  An open letter to the Desert Southwest Annual Conference

                  July 5, 2013 Posted by Rev. Gil Caldwell*

                  To: Bishop Robert Hoshibata/Desert Southwest Conference

                  From: Rev. Gil Caldwell/Retired Elder, Rocky Mountain Conference

                  Dear Bishop Hoshibata,

                  It was with great joy that I read of the decision of the Desert Southwest�Conference to support marriage equality for same sex couples. I am writing these words on the morning of July 4, 2013, believing that we�of the United Methodist Church, in our actions and practices, must be�the kind of faith institution that allows our faith/spirituality, to complement�when possible, the foundation principles of our nation. The nation, on�some matters of race, gender and now homosexuality, has been ahead�of the Church. Martin Luther King asked the question; �Why is the�Church the tail light rather than the headlight on justice issues?� (paraphrase). The decision of the Desert Southwest Conference complements the growing understandings of the rights of same gender�loving persons that exist in our nation and have been affirmed by the�Supreme Court.

                  http://www.unitedmethodistreporter.com/2013/07/an-open-letter-to-the-desert-southwest-annual-conference/

                  Elder accused of being �practicing� lesbian

                  by Heather Hahn

                  This marks the second time this year that a New York Annual (regional) Conference clergy member is facing a complaint under the denomination�s stance on homosexuality.

                  The Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy, 39, previously has served in parish ministry and now serves in extension ministry as the dean of student development services in the State University of New York Sullivan, a community college. She also serves on the ministry team at Memorial United Methodist Church in White Plains, N.Y., where she preaches monthly.

                  http://umcconnections.org/2013/07/08/elder-accused-of-being-practicing-lesbian/

                • Affirmation: United Methodists
                  Binghamton pastor takes church-defying stand in support of same-sex marriage Binghamton minister officiates at same-sex ceremonies 10:52 PM, Jul 31, 2013 |
                  Message 8 of 11 , Aug 4, 2013
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                    Binghamton pastor takes church-defying stand in support of same-sex marriage

                    Binghamton minister officiates at same-sex ceremonies

                    10:52 PM, Jul 31, 2013   |  
                    Written by
                    William Moyer
                    @PSBBill
                     

                    BINGHAMTON — The pastor of Tabernacle United Methodist Church in Binghamton faces the loss of his ministerial credentials after officiating at same-sex marriage ceremonies, which is contrary to the denominational policy.

                     

                    After the Rev. Stephen Heiss wrote to parishioners in June about officiating at several ceremonies since New York legalized same-sex marriage two years ago, he got a letter from the denomination’s regional bishop, saying another clergy had charged him with violating church law.

                    http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20130731/NEWS01/307310080/Binghamton-pastor-takes-church-defying-stand-support-same-sex-marriage?gcheck=1

                     

                  • Affirmation: United Methodists
                    Binghamton church stands behind pastor fighting for marriage equality By: Candace Hopkins A Binghamton pastor could lose his job, after admitting to United
                    Message 9 of 11 , Aug 18, 2013
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                      Binghamton church stands behind pastor fighting for marriage equality

                      By: Candace Hopkins

                       

                      A Binghamton pastor could lose his job, after admitting to United Methodist Church officials that he has been performing same-sex marriage ceremonies since New York State legalized them. Our Candace Hopkins spoke with church members, who are standing firmly behind Pastor Stephen Heiss, no matter what happens.

                      http://binghamton.ynn.com/content/top_stories/676710/binghamton-church-stands-behind-pastor-fighting-for-marriage-equality/

                       

                       

                      Binghamton pastor and bishop to take 90 days to resolve difference over same-sex ceremonies

                      9:54 PM, Aug 1, 2013   |  
                      Written by
                      William Moyer
                      @PSBBill

                       

                      A local pastor and his regional bishop will take 90 days to seek reconciliation in a difference over officiating at same-sex marriage ceremonies.

                       

                      Rev. Stephen Heiss, pastor of Tabernacle United Methodist Church in Binghamton, and Bishop Mark Webb, of the Upper New York Conference, met Thursday for almost two hours in Syracuse to discuss a formal charge that Heiss violated church policy by officiating at same-sex marriage ceremonies.

                      http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20130801/NEWS01/308010106/Binghamton-pastor-bishop-take-90-days-resolve-difference-over-same-sex-ceremonies?nclick_check=1

                       

                       

                      Regional conferences take on social issues

                       

                      During annual (regional) conferences meetings in the U.S. this summer, United Methodists tackled hot-button topics including homosexuality, gun violence, divestment and immigration reform.

                      http://www.umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=5259669&ct=13231321

                       

                       

                       

                      Pastor Facing Charges Reflects on Meeting with Bishop

                      by Rev. Steve Heiss

                      August 8, 2013

                      This is a follow-up reflection following a letter that the letter Rev. Steve Heiss wrote to his Bishop explaining why he has officiating the same-sex wedding of his daughter and others. Following that letter a complaint was filed by a fellow clergy colleague.

                       

                      My time with Bishop Mark Webb (bishop of the Upper New York Conference) and the Rev. Richard Barton, (who filed the complaint against me).

                       

                      The Bishop's office is located in the top story of University United Methodist Church in Syracuse. As I climb stairs with Penny (chair of our staff-parish relations committee, now my advocate), I wonder how many steps there were in the tower of London. Finally, the summit is reached, the door to the bishop’s office is before us. We enter. 

                      http://um-insight.net/issues-section/pastor-reflects-on-meeting-bishop/

                       

                      Response to a Bishop: More than Welcome Needed for LGBT People

                      by The Rev. Jeanne Audrey Powers

                      August 8, 2013

                       

                      Bishop Ken Carter of the Florida Annual Conference recently made a statement at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church near Orlando where they are intentionally welcoming and affirming LGBT people. After many years of either silence or painful words about persons like myself by church leadership in Florida, I’m heartened to hear Bishop Carter’s words advocating welcome and inclusion of gay and lesbian people in Florida UM churches.

                       

                      Bishop Carter has inserted himself into the conversation not because he was required to make a ruling or respond to a trial, but because he wanted to be Bishop of the entire church—including those gay and lesbian people who continue to be marginalized. For that, I am thankful. While I am pleased that Bishop Carter may be signaling beginning steps for greater love and welcome of LGBT people in the state of Florida, I hope he understands that The United Methodist Church already does belong to LGBT persons and that they need no “permission” to be fully involved in the life of the church. There is still much to be done to address homophobia and heterosexism in Florida.

                      http://um-insight.net/issues-section/response-to-a-bishop%3A-more-than-welcome-needed-for-lgbt-peop/

                       

                       

                      August 9, 2013 10:40AM

                      Columnist Applauds Russia's Homophobic Law

                      Post by Candace Chellew-Hodge

                       

                      The next time an anti-gay religious person tells you they really love homosexuals and wish them no ill will, bookmark this article and read it over and over again so you will never forget their true agenda: elimination of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

                      http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/candacechellew-hodge/7243/columnist_applauds_russia_s_homophobic_law

                       

                    • Affirmation: United Methodists
                      Hilldale UMC in Clarksville hosting Back to School Bully Bustin Bash Aug. 16, 2013 | Written by Tim Parrish For The Leaf-Chronicle Back to School Bully
                      Message 10 of 11 , Sep 5, 2013
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                        Hilldale UMC in Clarksville hosting 'Back to School Bully Bustin' Bash'

                        Aug. 16, 2013   |  
                        Written by
                        Tim Parrish
                        For The Leaf-Chronicle

                        Back to School Bully Bustin’ Bash

                        CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — During the past two years that Jodi King has been working in Children and Adult Ministries at Hilldale United Methodist Church, she has had on her mind and in her heart the desire to address the serious issue of bullying. Although currently a popular topic, bullying can be traced to the oldest books of the bible.

                        http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20130816/NEWS01/308160027/Program-seeks-battle-bullying?gcheck=1&nclick_check=1

                         

                         

                         

                        by Kevin M. Nelson

                        August 29, 2013

                        Upholding the Discipline

                        “Uphold the Discipline” is a phrase that we hear tossed around a lot these days.  Specifically, I hear it asked in the context of the inclusion of LGBT persons within The United Methodist Church, particularly in relation to the marriage equality movement spreading across the UMC—a movement of which I am a proud member. 

                         

                        Leaders of the Renewal movement want to know, will a bishop “uphold the Discipline” if a clergy member under their charge officiates at the wedding of a couple who are of the same sex?  In episcopal election years, like last year, it’s the episcopal candidates who are asked some version of this question in order to elicit, or not, the answer, “I will uphold the Discipline.”  If a person is a bishop, or aspires to be one, this is a question that must be answered.

                        http://um-insight.net/perspectives/upholding-the-discipline/

                         

                         

                        RCM: Another clergy member facing church trial

                        September 1, 2013 Posted by Jay Voorhees, Executive Editor

                        In a commentary on biblical obedience at The Reconciling Ministries Network blog we learn of another clergy member about to face trial for performing a same-sex wedding:

                        Rev. Frank Schaefer, elder at Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, performed the wedding of his son Tim and his partner over 5 years ago. Out of love for his son and his commitment to the gospel of inclusion for LGBT persons, Schaefer made the decision to lead the ceremony in order to fulfill his calling to the ministry of all people.

                         

                        The article goes on to mention a total of four clergy that are facing complaints or charges related to homosexuality issues. Are you aware of other pending actions in your annual conferences related to what RMN calls “biblical obedience”?

                        http://www.unitedmethodistreporter.com/2013/09/rcm-another-clergy-member-facing-church-trial/

                         

                         

                        September 01, 2013

                        Biblical Obedience on trial

                        - by Reconciling Ministries Network -

                        Rev. Frank Schaefer, elder at Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, performed the wedding of his son Tim and his partner over 5 years ago. Out of love for his son and his commitment to the gospel of inclusion for LGBT persons, Schaefer made the decision to lead the ceremony in order to fulfill his calling to the ministry of all people.

                        http://www.rmnblog.org/2013/09/biblical-obedience-on-trial.html

                         

                         

                        Bishop blesses same-sex couples in their marriages

                        September 4, 2013 Posted by Jay Voorhees, Executive Editor

                         

                        Chevy Chase, MD — Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, a retired bishop of the United Methodist Church and an outspoken advocate for full inclusion of GLBTQ persons in the life of the church, offered a special blessing for the union of same-sex couples present at the Sunday, September 1, 2013 evening worship service of the Reconciling Ministries Network FaithQuake Convocation. Using the Declaration of Marriage from the marriage ceremony in The United Methodist Book of Worship, Talbert pronounced that those same-sex couples present who had given themselves to one another by solemn vows and the giving and receiving of hands and rings were married in name of the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. “Those whom God has joined, ” Talbert proclaimed, “let no one put asunder.”

                        http://www.unitedmethodistreporter.com/2013/09/bishop-blesses-same-sex-couples-in-their-marriages/

                         

                         

                        It is time to do the right thing

                        Retired Bishop Melvin Talbert spoke those words to more than 550 people Sept. 1, during the 2013 Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) Convocation held at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase. RMN’s mission, according to its web site, is to “mobilize United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our Church and world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love.”

                        http://www.bwcumc.org/news/call_biblical_obedience#.Uih9FwmtY0w.facebook

                         

                      • Affirmation: United Methodists
                        [We do apologize. It’s taken a bit of time post vacation / wedding to get caught up with everything. We’re starting with The UMC because there’s been
                        Message 11 of 11 , Dec 4, 2013
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