Kjærlighetsbrev fra 111 homofile UMC-prester

LGBTQI-Gay-United-Methodist-Clergy-Come-Out-2016-01

Dagen før åpningen av United Methodist Churchs Generalkonferanse i Portland, USA, står 111 av kirkens prester fram som homofile / lesbiske / transgender. En Facebook-melding fra Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), med kjærlighetsbrevet fra de 111 trosheltene til UMC, fikk RMNs webside til å krasje grunnet overbelastning av serveren. Det kirkelige rettssystemet kan også fort bli overbelastet dersom det skal reises sak mot alle disse…

«absolutt metodist» er glad for å bidra til at nyheten og brevet spres. Som rimelig udiskutabel heterofil, står «absolutt metodist»  sammen i solidaritet med de 111 homofile pastorene. Her er brevet – og navnet på de 111 trosheltene. Velsignet være dem!

«Dear United Methodist Church,

As we gather in Portland to begin the 10 day discernment of God’s leading for The United Methodist Church known as General Con-ference, we, your Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, and Intersex (LGBTQI) religious leaders–local pastors, dea-cons, elders, and candidates for ministry–want to remind you of our covenant with you.

We share with you the covenant of baptism which has knit us together as one family. You cradled us into the body of Christ, helped us know the grace that invites us to move more deeply into relationship with God, and invited us to listen for God’s call on our lives. We responded, finding that we were most faithful when we gave our lives over to full time Christian service. You embraced us, af-firmed us, ordained us, and sent us to serve throughout the connection.

However, while we have sought to remain faithful to our call and covenant, you have not always remained faithful to us. While you have welcomed us as pastors, youth leaders, district superintendents, bishops, professors, missionaries and other forms of religious service, you have required that we not bring our full selves to ministry, that we hide from view our sexual orientations and gender identities. As long as we did this, you gladly affirmed our gifts and graces and used us to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world in the varied places you sent us.

While some of us have been lucky to serve in places where we could serve honestly and openly, there are others in places far more hostile, who continue to serve faithfully even at tremendous cost to themselves, their families, and yes, even the communities they serve, who do not receive the fullness of their pastor’s gifts because a core part must remain hidden.

There are many voices within The United Methodist Church who want us to break up with them. From bishops, Boards of Ordained Ministries, and other leaders, we are told to simply leave. Is leaving home ever that simple? We are United Methodists because there is no other denomination with our unique connectional polity and distinctive Wesleyan spirituality. We are here because God has called us to serve in this denomination, and our souls are fed by the theology in which we’ve been raised.

We are coming out as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, and Intersex persons at this moment for several reasons. Foremost, we want you to know we still love you and seek to remain in relationship with you. Even if we should leave and you seek more restrictive language against LGBTQI persons, know that God will continue to move mysteriously in the hearts of LGBTQI young people and adults and will call them to serve within this denomination. You cannot legislate against God’s call. The “LGBTQI issue” is not one that can be resolved through restrictive legislation but instead by seeing that all persons are made in the image of God and welcomed into the community of faith.

We come out, too, to provide hope for LGBTQI young people in hostile UMC churches. These young people are more at risk for suicide than their peers, in part, because of the condemnation they hear from the pulpits and pews of their churches. We come out to remind them that God’s love for them is immeasurable, and offers them a love that will never let them go, even when it feels like the church is willing to let them go.

We come out to invite them to listen for God’s still, small voice that will speak in the quiet places of their hearts, who will call them into leadership positions. We seek to create a pathway of hope into ministry for them, even when the church has tried to shut its doors on them, or overtly or indirectly condoned the persecution of LGBTQI persons.

We love you, dear church. Through you, we have stood on sacred ground and seen the face of God more clearly. Our prayer, as the church begins its time of discernment, is that you will remember that there are nameless ones around the world, hungry for a word of hope and healing. LGBTQI people and their families exist in every church in every continent of this denomination. They are seeking to remain in faithful relationship with you, even when you refuse, because they know God’s tender mercies and great faithfulness.

Dear church, our prayers are with you, with all of us, in the coming days. May we all be surprised by the Spirit who continues to breathe new life in unexpected ways. May we find the body of Christ stronger at the end of our time together, not weaker or more deeply harmed. May we provide a powerful witness of finding unity even in our differences to a world fractured by fear and mistrust.»

Signed,

Rev. Jeanelle Ablola

Rev. Brian  Adkins

Rev. Austin  Adkinson

Rev. Dr. Israel Alvaran

Pastor Elyse Ambrose

Rev. Douglas A. Asbury

Rev. Jeanne  Audrey Powers

M Barclay

Rev. Dr Bonnie Beckonchrist

Rev. Ann Berney

Rev. Anna Blaedel

Rev. Daryl Blanksma

Rev Jan Bolerjack

Rev. Dr. Joanne Calrson Brown

Rev. Kristan M. Burkert

Rev. John Cahall

Rev. James C. Carter

Rev. Dr. Nancy A. Carter

Rev. Randa Jean  D’Aoust

Rev. Alex da Silva-Souto

Rev. Karen Damman

Rev. Diana Jani Darak-Druck

Sean P. Delmore

Rev. Greg  Eaton

Rev. Dr. Karen Engelman

Rev. Dr. Janet Everhart

Rev. Anthony M. Fatta

Rev. Robert  Gamble

Micah Gary-Fryer

Rev. Ruth Ann Charlotte Geiger

Rev. John Girard

Rev. Rebecca J. Girrell

Taylor Gould

Rev. Nancy Jean Goyings

Rev. John Edwin Griffin

Rev. Gregory D. Gross

Rev. Dr. Emily B.Hall

Rev. Trey Hall

Rev. Dr. Edward J. Hansen

Rev. Marcia Hauer

Rev. Michael A. House

Rev. Brittany Isaac

Rev. Monica Isaac

Rev. Marguerite Jhonson

Tyler R. Joyner

Rev. Elizabeth Jones

Rev. Lindsey Kerr

Rev. Dr. Jeanne G. Knepper

Ms. Ellen Knight

Rev. Katie M. Ladd

Pastor Bruce Lamb

Rev. Cathlynn Law

Rev. Ardis Letey

Rev. J. Daniel Lewis

Rev. Dr. Pamela R. Lightsey

Pastor Christine Lindeberg

Pastor Rolland Loomis

Rev. Kelly Love

Rev. Dr. Joretta  Marshall

Pastor Lea Matthews

Rev. Courtney McHill

Rev. Ralph A. Merante

Rev. David W. Meredith

Rev. Cynthia Meyer

Rev. Jerry Miller

Rev. Sharon L. Moe

Rev. Richard W. Moman

Rev. Deborah Morgan

Rachel Neer

Rev. Joshua M. Noblitt

Rev. Catherine Noellert

Rev. Gregory Norton

Rev. Dr. Karen P. Oliveto

Rev. Dr. Rebecca A. Parker

Rev. Lois McCullen Parr

Rev. Matthew A. Pearson

Rev. Drew Phoenix

Emily Pickens-Jones

Rev. Jay K. Pierce

Kendall Protzmann

Pastor Kathleen Reynolds

Pastor Jonathan E. Rodríguez-Cintrón

Rev. Daniel  Sailer

Rev. Siobhan A. Sargent

Kenneth M. Schoon

Rev. Tyler  Schwaller

Kimberly Scott

Pastor Ryan J. Scott

Rev. Patricia Simpson

Rev. Kim A. Smith

Rev. Althea Spencer Miller

Rev. Terri J. Stewart

Rev. Katie Stickney

Rev. Kristin G. Stoneking

Rev. Mark F. Sturgess

Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy

Rev. Frank E. Trotter, Jr.

Rev. Martha E. Vink

Rev. Kathleen Weber

Rev. Dr. David Weekley

Marvin K. White

Rev. Dr. Mark E. Williams

Rev. Brenda S. Wills

Pastor Jarell Wilson

Rev. Angela G. Wolle

Rev. John Robert Wooden

Rev. Vicki L. Woods

Rev. Wendy Woodworth

Rev. Frank D. Wulf

Rev. Laura  Young

Rev. Nancy Kay Yount

 

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