by Benz, Methodists in New Directions, October 17 2011
A group of 900 United Methodists in New York and Connecticut today announced their intention to make weddings available to all people, gay and straight, in spite of their denomination’s ban on gay marriage. The announcement marks the kick-off of a project called We do! Methodists Living Marriage Equality. In an unprecedented move in any major religious denomination, We do! is not only bypassing the formal rules of the church, but also reaching out directly to LGBT groups in New York and Connecticut to let them know about the new network. This morning the group published a list of all its members: clergy members who will perform weddings for gay couples, lay members of the denomination who support them, and congregations who have adopted policies to formally make weddings available to all couples.
“We refuse to discriminate against any of God’s children and pledge to make marriage equality a lived reality within the New York Annual Conference, regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression,” the group declared in statement called A Covenant of Conscience and signed by 164 clergy members, 732 lay people and six entire congregations. In all, 74 congregations within the New York Annual Conference (NYAC) are represented among the signers. NYAC is the regional church body representing United Methodist congregations from Long Island to the Catskills and in southern Connecticut. The full list of signers, as well as the text of the covenant is here: www.mindny.org/mind-initiatives/marriage-initiative/covenant-of-conscience.
By Caitlin Harrington, Arizona Public Media, October 24, 2011
Newly ordained ministers are fighting to obtain equality within the Methodist church. The movement, “A Church within a Church,” has been around for nearly nine years, opposing what it calls oppression within the United Methodist Church.
DeLyn Celec, who is now an ordained minister within a different denomination, says she faced this oppression head-on when she sought ordination in the Methodist church and was denied because of her sexual orientation.
“It was devastating at the time, and has lead me on a totally different path,” Celec says in an interview for Arizona Illustrated.
Offering rays of sunshine and hope, Florida Reconciling United Methodists joined on Saturday October 22nd, 2011 to take steps forward in the Love Your Neighbor Campaign. Meeting at Lakewood UMC, one of only two Reconciling Congregations in the entire state of Florida, folks came together to build relationships and plan ahead for General Conference 2012. It was a beautiful sunny day and although few in numbers we were definitely mighty in spirit. We all left the training that day full of the possibility of what Christ’s inclusive love can do for the church we care so much about. And, in the upcoming months, it is Christ’s love held in our hearts and born out of our vulnerabilities that we hope to share time and time again as we meet with each delegate.
by S. Vance Goodman, Special Contributor, umportal.org
Dear United Methodist Church,
Wesley’s quadrilateral of Scripture, tradition, reason and experience has served me well during my theological education. A changed theology and a new perspective on such issues as church, evangelism, mission, society, and the work God calls us to do—all these have strangely warmed my heart. I am thankful for my education at a United Methodist seminary. However, as I prepare to graduate with my master of divinity degree, I am tired.
No amount of conversation or interpretation of Scripture can justify where I find myself now. Neither the traditions of the historical church nor the reasonable arguments made by logical and intelligent people can help to placate my feelings of marginalization and injustice. The only thing I have left to offer is my story—my experience.
I am a loyal and ardent United Methodist—baptized as an infant, confirmed as a pre-teen and commissioned as a missionary within this tradition. Having grown up in the church, serving as a youth leader while in high school and employed as a part-time youth director during my undergraduate years, I have faith in the values of the United Methodist Church.
Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has reversed his position on gay rights, saying he now wants them enshrined in a new constitution.
He told the BBC that gay rights were a “human right” that conservative Zimbabweans should respect.
Last year, Mr Tsvangirai joined President Robert Mugabe in opposing homosexuality.
The fractious coalition formed by the two leaders has promised political reforms ahead of next year’s elections.
Zimbabwe is in the process of drafting a new constitution, which will be put to a referendum ahead of the elections.
“Stand up like I did. It was hard but it was worth it.”
Constance McMillen became a poster child for LGBT rights after asking permission to bring her girlfriend to the prom. When her school responded by cancelling the prom, McMillen took legal action.
As a senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi, McMillen challenged the prom rules forbidding same-sex couples from attending and girls from wearing tuxedos. When the school cancelled the prom, students responded by harassing McMillen.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit requesting that the court order the school to hold an inclusive prom. The case was settled when a U.S. District Court ruled that McMillen’s First Amendment rights had been violated. The Itawamba County School District consented to a judgment in which it paid McMillen $35,000 and $81,000 in attorneys’ fees.
Your Sing a New Song DVDs are finally ready! We thank all of you for your patience. If you have already sent a request to the RMN office for DVDs you can complete your purchase by either calling the office at 773-736-5526 or by visitng http://www.rmnetwork.org/sans-dvds. The DVDs are $10 ea. All of the videos from Sing a New Song are also available for free at http://sans2011.org/multimedia/videos/