May 08 GC Newsletter
- Affirm! TABLE MANNERS
Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgendered Concerns
GC 2000 Daily Newsletter May 6, 2000
The following statement was adopted at the general
membership meeting Sunday May 7:
That Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual and Transgendered Concerns supports its
members and others who, as an act of conscience, take
part of the Soulforce witness.
Look At Our Hearts - Fasting For Truth
Affirmation invites you to join us in a fast for
truth, a bodily prayer that the General Conference
might hear God's pleadings for justice and truth.
The United Methodist Church has proclaimed a lie for
28 years, that the practice of homosexuality is
incompatible with Christian teaching. This lie
undergirds violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual,
and transgendered people. It is profoundly evil,
untrue, and a deadly sin against our brothers and
While the special prohibitions that curtail our full
participation in the United Methodist Church may be
understood as "internal" business, the lie is not. It
destroys life far beyond United Methodism. It must
We are United Methodists. We have chosen a very
United Methodist witness - to fast from food until the
General Conference either repudiates the lie or
adjourns. We will fast in your midst, witnessing to
our deep conviction that God is calling the United
Methodist Church to change its language at this point.
We ask you to pray about joining us in this witness as
you are able. We insist that those fasting with us
must take special care of their health. We provide a
column with advice in this newsletter and have a
physician available to consult about your special
Our hunger for truth aches in our hearts and growls in
our bellies. Please, talk to us, talk to each other,
pray for guidance, and join us in our determination
that we will remove this deadly language.
Fasting and feasting are nutritional extremes.
Methodists have a long history of fasting dating back
to John Wesley and the early Holy Club at Oxford. The
Holy Club practiced absteminy -- the withholding of
both food and fluids. Modern day fasters such as
Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. would withhold food
while ensuring fluids were maintained.
Medical concerns center around fluid status with
preservation of kidney function and maintenance of the
blood sugar levels. Our Methodist fasting must
include plenty of water and possibly some fruit juice.
Methodists with diabetes have special considerations
due to the need to maintain the proper blood sugar
levels. The focus for diabetics is on making
adjustments in their medications to compensate for
reduced food intake. We advise all United Methodist
that are participating to speak with their private
medical doctor before beginning this fast. We can
offer suggestions on an emergency basis only when a
conversation with your private medical doctor is not
Before doing the fast, check with your doctor.
Make sure you drink plenty of water.
If you're a diabetic, check your blood sugar often.
It is not right that fasting witnesses should become
permanently injured as an outcome of this high act of
this moral conscience.
We recognized that there will be pain involved. It is
that pain which we will present to the church.
Beginning this morning, United Methodist delegates,
volunteers, visitors and friends will begin wearing
rainbow ribbon armbands. This represents our
steadfast commitment to the free inclusion of Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered people in the life of
the church, and to the reversal of the church's
discriminatory policies against them. The ribbon used
to make the armbands is taken from ribbon which
surrounded the Convention Center with love at the
conclusion of the RCP Rally and Communion Service last
A Lifelong Methodist: Ramona's Story
I didn't expect to run into Larry here at GC. There
are so many people spread over so many hotels and
there's just so much work to be done. He handed me
this copy of his mother's story. He's here to hand
copies to delegates. I read it and asked him if we
could run it in the newsletter.
I thought the story was moving, but I didn't start to
cry until I typed it. There's a woman in my church
that could tell the same story.
Larry told me that one person refused to take a copy
of his mother's story. He told that person, "You can
ignore me, but don't you ignore my mama's story!'
Please don't ignore Larry or his mama.
Ramona was baptized at the alter of First Methodist
Church 70 years ago. She married Stan in this
sanctuary, and in the fellowship hall she celebrated
her 50th wedding anniversary. She taught Sunday
School, spent a decade as MYF Sponsor, and served
uncounted terms on church board. She baked 10,000
cookies for fund raisers and rolled out miles of
noodles for church dinners. First Methodist has been
the spiritual center and anchor of her life and she
has supported it with her prayers, her presence, her
gifts, and her service. It was there for her at
difficult times: the sudden death of each of her
parents, the automobile accident that took her closest
friend, her husband's heart attack.
That was then, but this is now. Now Ramona withdraws
from every conversation that becomes personal and
avoids classes or discussion groups that might be
probative. She no longer raises her prayer request
and never answers truthfully when asked, "How are
you?" She feels uncomfortable being hugged by the
pastor. Ramona needs the church now more than she
ever has. Unfortunately, it's not available to her.
The church has put her between the ultimate rock and
the hard place. She is aching, incredibly sad, and
wants help from her God. But to have any help, any
understanding, she must start by telling the pastor
her son is gay. Her sweet son who also was baptized
at this same altar, who grew up at the pipe organ
bench, youth leader and president of MYF, who loves
and is loved by this church. All her life, she has
protected her children's emotions and lives with her
own. She cannot tell her pastor. How can she open
her boy up to the condemnation and judgment the pastor
has preached as the church's stand for "the danger of
moral decline" and "respect of family values." What
about the value of her family? Her child is nothing
like those portrayed in her pastor's sermons. His is
gentle, a school teacher, and serving in a Methodist
church. He comes home to play organ at church. That
Christ, through the ministry of the church, offers
comfort and peace. But this grace is not free. Not
for Ramona. The Methodist Church has exacted a price
for God's grace. A price Ramona cannot pay. And
although she is alone in her isolation, so are eight
more families at First Methodist.
Ramona and Stan now discuss leaving their church of 70
years. In many ways, they have already left. They
probably won't leave. They probably should.
God's Healing Love: A True Story
By: Mary Padilla
The story I want to share is that of my spirit-brother
Michael Jacobino. A gay young man with all of life
ahead of him. He had AIDS, and I capitalize it to
stress the point of its impact on many lives,
including mine. While Mike was sick, I would visit
and take him to his doctors appointments. He could
barely walk. He was stubborn to a fault and tried to
keep living all the way till the end. He called me at
work to tell me he had chosen to take final sacrament
and let Jesus in his heart. He never really believed
but something changed his mind. I'd like to think it
was the power of the love he received from us his
friends. Prior to Mike dying, I had asked him if he
could do me a favor. That favor was to come back and
tell me that my belief wasn't in vain. That the good
work of love is all that matters on this sometimes
very cold planet. Well about a month after Mike died,
I had a serious car accident; I had bruises that the
doctors said would take months to go away. My car was
totaled. I shiver as I think of what happened, three
days later. Mike came to see me, he kissed my
forehead and grasped my hands. He said he loved me in
unspoken words. I jumped up and ran around the whole
house looking for him. Then the still small voice
within reminded me of what I had asked him to do. I
had forgotten by then. I cried for hours, but what
happened in the next two days was even more of a
miracle. My bruises had disappeared. God had sent
Mike to remind me of what I asked him to do and to
heal me at the same time. This is my story; Mike was
gay as I am. God chose to use Mike to bring me healing
and love. If being gay is so sinful, how did Mike get
to come back and show me what I asked of him, God is
love and love has no barrier, love has no face, no
sexuality, love is all of us together working to
proclaim it as it is, unconditional, never failing and
always there.. This is why I continue in this
struggle for total inclusion. I want to be a
minister, ordained as I am. I just can't see myself
being ordained and lying to my God and my Church about
my sexuality. Many have done this and I feel for
them. This Church has got to change and I believe it
will. I love being a Methodist. I love the teachings
of John Wesley. I will always be a Methodist! I wear
Mike's ring as a reminder of what happened. I wanted
to bring something of Mike with me in his honor. I
am presently Lay Leader and Lay Delegate to Washington
Square UMC in NYC. I am also a member of the National
Affirmation Council. I love what we do and I will
continue to do it until the day I can say I am a gay
ordained Methodist Pastor.
Enlightenment: It Can Happen
by Jack Hooper, former pastor of the largest UMC in
the Southwest Texas Conference, Alamo Heights UMC in
San Antonio. First printed in The Spark, the RCP at
Trinity UMC, Austin, Texas. April/May 1999. Used by
permission of the author
It's been a long, exhausting journey. Is it over? I
don't know. All I can say is that I have at last
accepted homosexuality as a given portion in the
diverse mix we call humanity. Viewing my past in the
most favorable lot, I would say that I have not been
as accepting of homosexual men and women as I might
have been, and I now regret that.
What brought about this change? Taking the time to
observe and then admitting the obvious difference in
people. Conversations with those who were for and
against, especially Sid Hall. But most of all, my
friendship with a gay man since retirement.
He and I accidentally met one day, and I discovered
that he had the gift that the little church, which I
was serving as interim pastor, so desperately needed.
When I asked if he would be interested, he replied,
"Only if I can meet with the PPR Committee and tell
them who I am and that I am gay." He did, and in a
very honest way told them the story of his life,
answering every question in the most forthright
manner. The committee was so impressed with him that
all their anxieties were allayed.
He not only became my coworker, but my friend as well.
I admire him greatly for his honesty and integrity
and most of all for his deep, deep faith in Jesus
Christ as his Lord and Savior. He is a loving person
who refuses to harbor animosity towards anyone.
For me, he is a mirror in which I see myself as the
needy one and the window through which I have come to
view all other homosexual men and women. I no long
find a homosexual person threatening or unacceptable,
but like all other human beings, some with whom I can
connect and we easily become friends and others with
whom it is difficult.
Having arrived at this place, I feel so happy to be
able to relate to gay men and women as fully human and
to love them just as they are, as I pray they are able
to relate to me and love me just as I am.
With good humor some of my friends ridicule me because
I'm always saying, "Why can't we just love one
another?" Simplistic? I don't know. But that's O.K.
I know when I am my best self. It's when I remember
God loves me-- my unlovable self-- just as I am, and
forgives me every day of all my sin and invites me to
go forth and "love everyone as I have loved you." So
what right do I have to judge anyone? Next time you
see me, will you remind me of that? I never want to
be without that truth foremost in my mind and heart.
The Silenced Witnesses Project is a exposition
personalizing those who have been killed by acts of
violence towards the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgendered community or those who commited suicide.
This exhibit will be shown throughout General
Conference at different locations and times. From now
until the end of General Conference we'll list each
day several names from the Silenced Witnesses display.
33, transgendered woman.
Tracy was beaten to death with a baseball bat on a
dirt road in Cordele, Wilcox County Georgia, March 30,
Melissa Mertz, coordinator for the Victims of Violent
Assault Assistance Program of Bellevue Hospital in
Manhattan observed that "...attacks against gay men
were the most heinous and brutal encountered. They
frequently involved torture, cutting, mutilation and
beating, and showed the absolute intent to rub out the
human being because of his [sexual] orientation."
Billy Jack Gaither
39, Gay man.
Gaither's throat was slashed, his skull was cracked
open, and his body was burned on kerosene-soaked tires
in Doosa County, Alabama on Feb. 20, 1999.
Gaither was killed by Charles Monroe Butler and
Steven Eric Mullins Mullins said, "Homosexuality is
wrong. I have found peace with God, but he's [Billy
Jack Gaither] in hell.
Henry Edward Northington
Henry was decapitated. His head was placed on a
bridge leading to gay bars, and his body thrown into
river. He was killed March 6, 1999.
Murder and mutilation, assault and suicide are being
justified by our words. As a church, we must take
responsibility for the violent social consequences of
language we retain.
50, gay man and
Winfield Scott Mowder,
40, gay man
Happy Valley California.
Matson and Mowder were shot in their bed, July 1,
1999. Both were active in civic affairs. They
founded the local Farmer's Market and Children's
Murdered by brothers Benjamin Matthew Williams (31)
and James Tyler Williams (29). Matthew Williams said
to his mother, "My brother and I are in jail for our
work in cleansing society. I just plan to defend
myself from Scriptures. . . . I had to obey God's law
rather than man's law. I didn't want to do this. I
felt I was supposed to, though. . . . I think God put
me here as a witness. A lot of people will hear.
They call what I have done bad. . . . I have followed
a higher law. . . I see a lot of parallels between
this and a lot of other incidents in the Old
Testament. They threw our Lord Savior in jail . .
.Our forefathers have been in prison a lot. Prophets,
Shot twice with shotgun at point blank range in his
own home by Jonathan Schmitz on March 9, 1995.
Sense of father's testimony: "Better to be a killer
than a gay boy."
Its Right in the Bible!
CEV: Think of what God has done! If God makes
Can you make it straight?
NIV and NRSV: Consider the work of God: Who can make
straight what he has made crooked?
You are invited to a daily RCP Communion Service on
the Mall outside the front of the Convention Center.
The daily services are at 12:30 PM.
Affirmation: United Methodists for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns.
P. O. Box 1021, Evanston, IL 60204. Web site: http://www.umaffirm.org
Do You Yahoo!?
Send instant messages & get email alerts with Yahoo! Messenger.