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  • UMAffirmation
    First UMC Austin joins Reconciling Ministries Network February 11, 2013 Posted by Sam Hodges, Managing Editor
    Message 1 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 2 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 3 of 11 , Jul 13, 2013
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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 4 of 11 , Aug 4 7:49 PM
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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 5 of 11 , Aug 18 6:31 PM
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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 6 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 7 of 11 , Dec 4, 2013
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