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UCC Coalition grieves for, and offers support ...

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  • U.M. Cornet
    CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE For immediate release: May 24, 2000 For information, contact: Mitzi Eilts, 800-653-0799 or mnecoalition@snet.net
    Message 1 of 1 , May 30, 2000
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      CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE

      For immediate release: May 24, 2000
      For information, contact: Mitzi Eilts, 800-653-0799 or
      mnecoalition@...
      ______________________________________________________________


      UCC Coalition grieves for, and offers support to, United Methodist
      colleagues

      "I know that many members of the United Methodist Church (UMC) believe
      in a liberating, inclusive gospel--their tradition is rich in such a
      faith. And so, like many of my UMC friends and colleagues, I continue to
      believe that this denomination will one day soon come to affirm all the
      faithful among them," said the Rev. Mitzi Eilts, in response to the events
      surrounding this month's UMC General Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. Eilts is
      national coordinator of The United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian,
      Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns.

      At the May 2-12, 2000, UMC General Conference, delegates reaffirmed
      restrictive provisions that continue to exclude lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
      transgender (lgbt) people from full participation in the life and ministry
      of the UMC. These decisions were made despite a powerful witness offered by
      Methodist lgbt activists and their allies which ranged from letter-writing
      to civil disobedience and arrest on May 10-11, 2000.

      The arrests included United Methodist Bishop C. Joseph Sprague and
      Bishop Susan Morrison, civil right leaders, members and clergy of the
      UMC and their allies, and Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas Gandhi. The Rev.
      David Bahr, pastor of Archwood United Church of Christ in
      Cleveland, was arrested during the May 10 demonstration coordinated by
      Soulforce outside the conference site. He reported, "It was an
      overwhelming experience. We felt empowered by the Spirit for having
      courage to stand against injustice."

      Eilts adds, "I come away from those 10 long days with a vivid image of
      lgbt people and our allies lifted boldly and strongly to witness to the
      sense of God's love as paramount in all our lives. Despite the votes to
      continue to exclude lgbt people from full participation in the life and
      ministry of the United Methodist Church, the image which looms largest from
      the conference is one of God's banquet table growing bigger and wider, more
      diverse. No vote of any institution can take that away from us.

      "Paradoxically, I am very saddened and angry with the decisions of the
      United Methodist church this month. Amazed am I at the perseverance and the
      patience and the courage of my UMC sisters/brothers/all who are going on
      despite the rejection of a majority of their own faith
      community. That speaks to the depth of their faith and conviction --
      courage which in my experience comes to us and from us, only when we
      have wrestled long and hard. Only when God works God's wondrous love in us
      can we bear such persecution, stand next to those who call us
      unworthy, and stay on the road together. My faith has been renewed in
      the witnessing I have seen and heard about at UMC General Conference."
      ________________________________________________________________________
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