By Nicole King: Our attention should be directed to survivors of sexual violence.
The body of Christ includes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) persons. All around the world, and throughout the course of history, the church has baptized queer babies, raised them in the faith, and relied on their many gifts, skills, talents,... read more
He left a life-long ministry that any United Methodist should hope to learn from.
By Jarell Wilson: God is calling us to a new way of doing things.
By Lucinda Hughes: That just about breaks my heart. How about you?
By Abby Jensen: “When the time came, I proudly stood with the other mothers.”
By Claire Brown: “The worship director was more concerned that I was thinking of leaving.”
By Shannon Trenton: Two women worked for half a century to make an official holiday to celebrate mothers.
By Lucinda Hughes: Where do I, bruised yet again, go from here?
“Who is your family?” can be an uncomfortable—if not downright triggering—question for many of us.
By Reconciling Ministries Network: “The uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.”
By Rev. Gil Caldwell: Black and LGBTQ lives matter. It is not either/or, but both/and.
I was fired because I’m gay.
Jaci Pfeiffer and Kelly Bardier, a lesbian couple employed as daycare workers in Winter Park, FL, were unexpectedly fired last month despite being lauded as gifted and beloved employees. After rumors spread that the two may be a couple, they were each given an option:... read more
By Jarell Wilson: We were more like family, immediately.
By Emily Timbol: Bad theology aside, it makes me so sad when these are the words the faith leader chooses to leave the bride and groom with.
At the closing of the day, representatives of MFSA, MIND, Love Prevails, and Reconciling Ministries Network issued this joint statement:
I am asking that we be honest about the breadth and width of our institutional harm.
By Colin Jon David Stewart: “That’s how you build a community.”
By Rev. Izzy Alvaran: Breaking the chains of oppression for one group of people should be connected with the liberation of others.
By Rev. Layton Williams: Even while we are, by default, teachers—we are also learning ourselves.
By Sidney Adickes Gatch: Are we suffering that pain with them as if it were our own?
By Artie Van Why: It was now almost thirty years later.
By Rev. Ginny Hathaway: I want freedom to erase the lines in the sand that I might draw out of limited knowledge or mistaken judgement.
By Ann Craig: Progressive people of faith in the USA need to learn about Africa.
By Billy Kluttz: The journey continues. Heels optional.
By Suzie Bell: So in planning our current diversity event we thought it would be a great idea to also march in the Jesus Parade.
By Jane Brazell: Allow your mistakes to be brought to your attention, so that you can grow.
By Rev. Dave Barnhart: This kind of Biblical and historical consciousness is necessary for people involved in justice work.
By Rev. Rick Branch: I hate that it’s a big deal to the LBGTQ community here in this southern town that I am an ally.
By Joseph R. Hurt: Apart from violating the Biblical imperative to “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” this type of discriminatory legislation is constitutionally and legally flawed for several reasons.
By Jarell Wilson: This Holy Saturday, let us set our hands to aid the One who made all things in birthing something new.
By Shannon Trenton: Jesus came to show us radical love, yet if He chose 2015 to come to earth I fear He would be on the receiving end of so much discrimination
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34).
By Dr. Kristen Benson: You might not think of North Dakota as a hotbed for LGBTQ rights, yet we are wholeheartedly invested in social justice.
Dear Bishop Coyner and United Methodists of Indiana, As I read your statement responding to the Religious Restoration Freedom Act (RFRA) recently signed into law by Indiana Governor Pence, I thought I was reading a statement from the governor’s office defending... read more
By Mitch Leet: More and more, I find myself supported and my identity validated as just a necessary part of God’s plan for me.
By Grace Cox-Johnson: Knowing that today is Transgender Day of Visibility, I finally spoke up at my church this Sunday
By Jane Brazell: The Holy Spirit was among us pouring out the love of God, filling our hearts with passion for justice, and binding up those places that had been weakened or injured during the past 12 months.
I have been watching with critique and waiting with expectation, instead of living into my call.
So you want the right to refuse your services to people who go against your religious beliefs… What you’re really asking is for it to be legal for you to discriminate. And no matter your wording, it’s no secret who it is you want to discriminate against: LGBT people.... read more
By Nicole King: Our cue was simple – when the congregation’s emotional high on Jesus began a-churnin’, the coast was clear.
By Aaron Pazan: The sermon from Sunday Morning at Glide hit it home with me and my love hate relationship with The UMC.
By Rev. Brent Wright: Stop using Christianity to justify your fear, judgment, mistreatment, and abuse of LGBT people.
Such love has empowered so many beloved queer children of God to say to this church, “I know you will hurt me. I know you will mess up in the worst possible way. And I still love you.”
By Rev. Dave Barnhart, It’s important that LGBTQ Christians and their allies learn these biblical themes, and spread them far and wide.
He went on to decry the “isms” which indeed deny the integrity of individuals and the richness of God’s creation.
Forgive us, Lord, for our inability to proclaim the worth of all of Your children.
May we be faithful to her memory in “shaping up” and shaking up the church we love.
Thanks to two pastors, we were able to make our day a celebration that was festive and meaningful, despite the Methodist Church.
We cannot continue temple business as usual and act like this is acceptable!
We remember and celebrate because the lives of women and, especially, Trans women, are always at risk.
Yes, this behavior was racist but the responses to the video show an increasing effort to deny racism exists in the “hallowed halls of academia.”
A very wise person kindly reminded me that as a member of a sorority, it is still my duty to educate others on things that matter.
When I take this understanding of angels seriously, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah finally makes sense.
It is dangerous when we allow an idea like American Exceptionalism to be claimed and owned by one group.
This blog was originally published at Dave Barnhart’s Blog 1. Prologue Gay marriage is almost the law of the land, and I’m still reeling from surprise that Alabama was not the last state where it became legal. Some anti-gay folks deployed the usual inflated... read more
United Methodists are sending a message to conferences like Virginia that would seek to deter LGBTQ people from receiving the full ministry of the church: We will support clergy that The UMC attempts to penalize. Two clergy in Virginia will not face trial for... read more
Through this incredibly transformational journey, we began to witness the Beloved Community. We also began to fall in love.
Do I expect you to agree with me? Up to a certain point, yes.
“Coming out in Maputo was totally a different experience. It was all about grace and truth-telling.”
“Sometimes it’s the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”
“I promised them that I would “be a part of the change we want to see,” and I was willing to work to make it happen.”
As I have gotten to know God better, I feel like my gender identity is no mistake.
It is the ability to affirm love for one’s partner, even if one actions indicate otherwise, that holds marriages together.
As long as injustices towards our LGBTQ siblings are maintained systematically in our ordination process, all of us as the body of Christ are held captive to evil. I am a participant in this system and tainted by an unclean spirit.
LGBTQ newlyweds in Idaho can go to work wearing their wedding rings and be fired for being gay.
Be Encouraged! will welcome GLBTQ inquirers and candidates from across the connection, offering them a weekend filled with strategy, support, and encouragement.
All of us there for one purpose, to celebrate and witness the legal marriages of 50 LGBTQ couples.
“Sometimes (religion) is a truth serum, stripping the varnish of etiquette to reveal the ugliness beneath” A review of a Children’s Book in the Sunday, February 8, New York Times Book Review section is of “The Case for Loving: The Fight for... read more
No one was willing to cry with me. I was alone.
How do I learn to be an ally of my black sisters and brothers as a brown gay man also trying to learn how to appreciate my brown-ness and fully embrace my gay identity?
By Autumn Dennis, Originally published at Inspire to Conspire Currently, we’re in the season of Epiphany. When I think of Epiphany, images of flashing light come to mind, of the glory of the Lord shining around the Magi, of the incarnation, and of the Fulfilling Hope... read more
By Colleen McClain, Originally posted by First UMC of Portland Friday the email arrived: the Westboro Baptists from Topeka, Kansas, would be in Portland ready to target the Gay Christian Network Conference Saturday morning. I shuddered. Our new friend, Helen, would be... read more
I have remained mostly silent in light of the recent deaths by suicide of transgender women and men. I would like to say that I have some sort of honorable reason for that silence, but the reality is that I was just too afraid to say much. You see, I’ve been running... read more
From the Do No Harm Leadership Team on the Just Resolution for a complaint filed against Rev. Dr. Larry Sonner: A resolution to the formal complaint against Rev. Dr. Larry Sonner has been signed by Larry, Bishop Trimble, and all members of the cabinet of the Iowa... read more
I struggle with faith. I struggle with religion. I’ve been burned by the church, in different forms, and thought going back to church was never a possibility. When I left my old church, it was over 30 years of conservative, fundamentalist rhetoric, which most of... read more
On the eve of our nation’s observance of the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I am saddened by so much of the news I hear. We try so hard and yet so much seems to remain the same. We are still fighting against racism. We continue to struggle toward... read more
Waters of Solidarity – In Remembrance of Leelah Alcorn Baptism of the Lord Sunday, Gospel of Mark 1:4-11 Download the audio of this Sermon Like most people, I make New Year’s resolutions. In the past, they’ve been the usually kind of things like go to the gym... read more
Orginally posted at Believe Out Loud “We don’t support that, religiously.”- Carla Alcorn (remark from an interview following the suicide death of her seventeen-year-old transgender daughter) People sometimes ask me why I “came out” as a transgender man and United... read more
By Rev. Gil Caldwell Bishop Talbert is quoted as saying following the resolution of the complaint against him, “I believe embracing Biblical Obedience offers the best way…” The resolution that involved other Bishops including the one who brought... read more
by Rev. Andy Oliver Today is a sad day for United Methodists in Florida. Today on Epiphany, the Church celebrates the big reveal of Jesus being the Son of God to the Magi. It is today that the Gentiles who followed a star are said to have appeared to where Jesus was... read more
Painting by He Qi “My uncle, Alex Vonnegut, taught me something very important. He said that when things were going really well we should be sure to notice it. He was talking about simple occasions, not great victories: maybe drinking lemonade on a hot afternoon... read more
January 5, 2015–Complaints filed against Bishop Melvin Talbert alleging he violated the sacred trust of his office for officiating a same-sex wedding have been resolved, avoiding trial. In the agreement, Bishop Talbert “holds steadfastly to the conviction that his... read more
By RMN Executive Director, Matthew Berryman & Deputy Director, Bridget Cabrera On October 26, 2013, retired United Methodist Bishop Mel Talbert, acting according to his own conscience and inspired again by a lifelong commitment to a gospel of love and justice,... read more
Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 5, 2015 Just Resolution Achieved in Complaint Process Denver, Colorado: Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky, President of the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops, announced that a just resolution has... read more
A lot can change over the course of a year, for better or for worse. At least, that seems to be my case. I can’t speak for everyone. For myself, 2014 was involved and intensely difficult. A little less than a year ago, at the end of my time as the MoSAIC rep for RMN’s... read more
Holidays are the time of year for a lot of reflection. Thoughts of time with family, the current year’s activity, what the new year will hold, and hopefully the joy of what makes the holiday season special to you. Each of us has ideas of what the holidays are, what... read more
So, you’ve probably noticed the word “queer” being used more and more. Do you find yourself wondering, “why use the word queer?” Maybe you’re LGBTQ and wondering why queer matters in your community. Well get your party hats on, because this post is a celebration of... read more
On this 3rd Day of Christmas I have a lot of thoughts. I think about how yesterday my mom greeted me with a kiss – something Samaria Rice, Leslie McSpadden, and a host of others will never get to do with their own sons. I think about how my father prayed for our... read more
This Advent morning I woke up to the news of the indictment of the suspected murderer of Jennifer Laude. This Advent morning I woke up to the news of The Blackout Collective leading a lockdown occupation of the Oakland Police Department, just a few miles from my home.... read more
I have worked for churches all of my adult life, and whether I was leading worship or simply attending a wedding I have hear the words, “An outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace” at weddings countless times. However, growing up in the North... read more
In the wake of mass resistance and protest to police brutality and systemic violence in this country, I remain grounded in the belief that alternative narratives must be shared for us to better understand each other and the earth. I believe we as marginalized peoples ... read more
Braving the rain Monday morning at 7:30 AM, several dozen Garrett-Evangelical seminarians and faculty gathered under the Northwestern Arch to form a circle of prayer. They began by lamenting lives lost due systemic racism before moving into the streets to block... read more
On October 7, 2014, I did something I never thought I would be able to do in my home state of Oklahoma. That was to get married to the man I love! Our original plan was to go away to another state and legally get married, then come back home and have a reception for... read more
In reading Isaiah 40: 1-11 this week, I hear a resounding cry of “enough.” In my musical reflection, I ask where God might be speaking words of “comfort” and “enough” in the world today. In my context, I hear those cries most clearly coming from... read more
Photo: JOSHUA TRUJILLO, SEATTLEPI.COM I said it once—just 9 days ago—and yet I feel the need to say it again, to remind myself of the vital, yet difficult work of racial justice and racial reconciliation to which I and every United Methodist pastor is called. Here are... read more
Until last year, the only significance that the 25 days of Christmas held for me was the opportunity to watch feel-good holiday movies on ABC Family. I grew up with stories of Santa on the shelf next to those about Jesus, and the extent of my religious observance of... read more
M Barclay shared these beautiful words the other day, which really made me reflect… For those of you who have been so supportive of me as I continue to live into my true self, as M and as genderqueer, thank you. It continues to mean the world to me. On that note, I am... read more
December 1st. You know, it’s not only unfortunate that we set aside this day every year—it’s actually tragic. It’s unfortunate that there’s just one day set aside to call out as a reminder to such a devastating global disease; it’s tragic that lives continue to be... read more
Although one might not see the connection between adoption and being part of the LGBTQ community aside from some adoptees being members of LGBTQ community or the struggles that LGBTQ people have had with adopting children, we too struggle to gain basic rights that are... read more
I am saddened titles like the one above need ever be written. It might not seem obvious at first as to why an LGBTQ organization would advocate against oppression that falls outside the realm of human sexuality and gender identity. Some might feel that if RMN embraces... read more
Photo: Matt Berryman, Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey, Rev. Lois Parr and other clergy gather in Ferguson to stand in solidarity with the witness for justice. To follow the livestream of Rev. Dr. Lighstey when available, click here: Livestream “Not our children!” rallied... read more
“Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply... read more
I’ve had a lot on my mind this year as Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) approaches. This year’s remembrance is markedly different for me since I’ve come out in recent months as a non-binary identified person, or genderqueer – an identity that falls under the... read more
Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day to memorialize trans* people who have died by anti-transgender violence, particularly in the last year. This year, so far, there are 226 people listed on the trans respect (and this list is likely incomplete). They range in age... read more
Newsflash! Coming out is a scary thing. Writing about my coming-out story is a scary thing. But it’s a story that must be told in order to educate people who are in a position to help someone who is trying to come out to them. When I came out, I constantly had to... read more
Up until the 2012 General Conference of The United Methodist Church, I lived with the comforting illusion that The United Methodist Church was making progress toward abandoning its condemnation of the “practice of homosexuality” in the Social Principles and was moving... read more
“God looks for men and women of integrity who live holy lives that are accountable to God and to the Body of Christ. Integrity glorifies God, protects us from stumbling, and encourages growth.” -“Integrity,” Christian to the Core Integrity has always been... read more
Originally posted at Red letter Christians When I get together with extended family, we don’t have shouting matches or debates about homosexuality. No one pulls out their Bible to read the “clobber” verses against homosexuality. No interventions have ever been staged... read more
Read details on the complaint: Formal letter of complaint to Bishop Goodpaster by Scott Chappell Response to complaint by Rev. Kelly Carpenter Formal Complaint FAQ document by Green Street UMC Formal letter of complaint to Bishop Goodpaster by Scott Chappell... read more
On November 7, 2014 the Council Bishops issued a statement for immediate release after meeting for a business week to discuss human sexuality and the unity of the United Methodist Church. The statement reads as follows: “As bishops of The United Methodist... read more
(Left to Right: Rev. Mike Tupper, Bishop Deborah Kiesey, Rev. Ed Rowe) EAST LANSING, MI—On the heels of the nationally observed Methodist trial of Rev. Frank Schaefer, a bishop has reached resolution with two clergy who officiated same-sex weddings. Even though United... read more
How do I describe one of the best moments of my life? It was my daughter’s wedding two months ago. The phrase that comes to mind is: “All arewelcome.” The wedding week started for me on a Wednesday. I flew into Baltimore early because a two day backpacking trip on the... read more
I have a confession. Although my husband is a United Methodist minister who regularly refers me to articles about The UMC’s action and inaction toward offering full inclusion to all God’s children in the life of the church, I rarely find the strength to read those... read more
As we move into the latter part of the year and into the holiday season, I have, in recent years, struggled to find the joy and happiness I had as a child. Frankly, I assume many, if not most of us, are in a similar spot. Naturally, as years pass we are filled with... read more
How can you put into words what it’s like to be rejected? Not just from family and friends, but your faith community and being told, ultimately, the Divine. You would think after 5 years some things would get easier, and some have. But for some there is a lifetime... read more
On All Saints Sunday, we invited the Network to share their stories of the saints in their own lives, past or present, who have worked for LGBTQ inclusion or other matters of justce.These saints, their stories and their lives are a powerful reminder of the ones who... read more
The word “grace” has no meaning to me anymore… …Neither do the words “unity,” “peace,” or “trust.” I’m so tired of these lukewarm, feel-good words being used to promote complacency and uphold the institution of The United Methodist Church. As I watched the... read more
Some time back I wrote a blog titled “Why I May Not be Able to Stay,” discussing my experiences as a closeted gay pastor with almost 40 years of experience, and reflections on retiring early and leaving the ecclesiastical closet behind prior to the 2012 General... read more
Orginally posted at Wide Open Church These are uncertain times. Christians all over are wondering what God is up to. It’s obvious our world is filled with turmoil and unrest. We see news clip after news clip telling us all is not right in this world. People feel... read more
The Connectional Table's Human Sexuality Task Force hosted the second of three live stream events discussing human sexuality. The third will be held in Mozambique in 2015. The archived video of the livestream will be posted... read more
Richard, My heavens – I’ve been reading and hearing about these last months at Duke Divinity School, and it strikes me that it is partly my responsibility to share with you that I, along with so many, expect more from you than this. I’m troubled at... read more
The ruling by The UMC Judicial Council came down on Monday: Rev. Frank Schaefer’s reinstatement by the Appeals Board was UPHELD! And there was much rejoicing and sharing on Twitter. Strictly speaking, the ruling alone changes little to nothing in the UMC. The... read more
By Anonymous The Judicial Council’s decision in the case of Frank Schaefer is a reason to celebrate. In many ways, it is the clearest sign to date of the shape of the victory in the war over the place of LGBT persons within The United Methodist Church. Inclusion will... read more
What a great reminder that love does, indeed, win as shown in the Judicial Council decision which affirmed Rev. Frank Schaefer’s reinstatement as clergy. There were also a number of other docket items that have an impact on the Reconciling movement, some of... read more
I bring you great news: the Judicial Council has affirmed the reinstatement of Rev. Frank Schaefer to ordained ministry in The United Methodist Church! This is a win for not only Frank and the movement, but truly a win for the entire church. The UMC has taken a step... read more
Judicial Council Decision 1270 SUBJECT TO FINAL EDITING DECISION 1270 IN RE: Appeal by the Counsel for the Church of the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference of the Decision of the Northeastern Jurisdictional Committee on Appeals in the Matter of Frank... read more
The Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church has affirmed Rev. Frank Schaefer’s reinstatement to clergy status by the Northeastern Jurisdiction appeals committee. Read the full decision here: http://bit.ly/1oPP2wW Read the UMNS story... read more
In the last week, I’ve made some passing references and shared quite a bit on my Facebook page about a very important trial. The UMC’s Judicial Council is considering an appeal to overturn the reinstatement of Reverend Frank Schaefer. This is a case about love,... read more
Reconciling North Carolina www.facebook.com/reconcilingNC UMC CHURCHES TO HOLD STATE-WIDE NC CONFERENCE IN SUPPORT OF LGBTQ COMMUNITY Keynote Speaker, Bishop Melvin Talbert Calls for Biblical Obedience in The United Methodist Church and for Reconciliation Among All of... read more
A Suggestion for the Judicial Council as it considers the reinstatement of Rev. Frank Schaefer following his suspension and defrocking because he officiated at his son’s same sex wedding. The United Methodist Church in this time of charging, trials, guilty... read more
Originally posted on the Church of the Village blog I remember that day in seminary well. I walked into the chapel for our midday worship, and by the end of the first hymn, tears were streaming down my face and I sniffled and sobbed until the benediction. It wasn’t... read more
Next week, in a makeshift courtroom at a hotel in Memphis, The United Methodist Church’s highest judicial body will decide Rev. Frank Schaefer’s fate. Schaefer was defrocked in December 2013 after a church trial in which the prosecutor threatened the jury with eternal... read more
The 2012 science fiction film Cloud Atlas journeys through six different time periods and the struggles for justice or mere survival in each of them. One of the time periods is in 1849, years before the breakout of the American Civil War. The son-in-law of a wealthy... read more
I grew up in an environment where I was not really made aware of queer people. Actually, the only definition of “queer” that I knew was “strange” or “odd.” I remember using it this way at the dinner table once and being fiercely reprimanded and silenced for... read more
Originally published on One World House That Day is today! In Oklahoma’s two most widely circulated newspapers, The Oklahoman and the Tulsa World, 96 Oklahoma United Methodist Ministers signed an open letter to the people of Oklahoma that speaks out against the rules... read more
On this past National Coming Out Day, I spent some time reflecting on my own “coming out”experience. The year was 1990 and I felt compelled to come out to my family and friends. I thought long and hard about that decision. I had already seen what happens to folks... read more
Originally posted on Covenant Network of Presbyterians and preached at the Springfield Regional Conference of Covenant Network of Presbyterians on October 11, 2014 Scripture: Matthew 22:1-14 I imagine that one day, I will preach a sermon on this text and have... read more
Originally posted on the MFSA Blog For months I’ve been wrestling with a calling–a calling which started 4 years ago when my seminary friends Katie and Rhiannon asked me to officiate their wedding. It was June, it was Atlanta, it was hot. And it was beautiful. I had... read more
Moving to Chicago wasn’t really a deliberate decision I made. It was based on several death threats I received working with the men who have sex with men community (MSM) in Nigeria and also as a gay man. I was arrested twice by the police force all because I was... read more
The Frank Schaefer trial last November was a profoundly disconcerting experience for LGBTQ persons and their allies in The United Methodist Church. The heterosexist and hurtful words in the closing arguments of the church counsel were deeply disturbing and it appeared... read more
Did you know International Lesbian Day is a thing? Because I didn’t know it’s a thing! It’s a day of inconclusive origin that doesn’t seem to be acknowledged much outside of New Zealand and Australia. Certainly not in my home state of Arkansas. Is this... read more
As an advocate for the LGBTQ community and countless other marginalized groups, Desmond Tutu is one of the world’s most influential human rights advocates…and today is his birthday! As the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Tutu was influential in the struggle against... read more
People touch our lives in different ways, some directly and some aren’t even aware of the tremendous impact they’ve had or the door that they’ve helped to open for you. Five years ago, I found myself in the midst of spiritual and emotional upheaval. My efforts to take... read more
AUSTIN, TEXAS—How many Methodists does it take to open hearts, minds, and doors around the world? In the largest assembly of a religious denomination in a pride parade anywhere, 400 United Methodist Church (UMC) congregants and clergy showed up representing 8 local... read more
Rev. Schaefer Appeal information Other LGBTQ related Judicial Council docket items Give to the Clergy Defense and Resiliency Fund Attend the hearing: witness opportunity in Memphis Attend a Prayer Vigil in your community Rev. Frank Schaefer appeal The Judicial... read more
“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the... read more
Originally posted at National Center for Lesbian Rights Last weekend was Pride in Austin, Texas, the place I left a year ago to move across the country with my spouse and child to work for NCLR. My Facebook feed was filled with pictures of friends and loved ones... read more
I, as an 80 year old retired clergyman appreciated Charles Blow’s, “Up From Pain” article more than I am able to express. These words of his possess a theological clarity about sex (biological differences), gender (societal and cultural definitions... read more
I was married to a man and our oldest son had been born when someone asked me, “how do you identify?” It seems to me the first time someone had asked me specifically, and it gave me a kind of freedom to respond, “bisexual,” to her, to claim and name the truth of what... read more
At 11:33PM, I received a call from my best friend’s wife asking me to come over because my best friend (Jon) was upset and needed to talk to me. Luckily, I only lived a mile away and was able to throw on some clothes and head over. Apparently, Jon had been in a... read more
Originally published on Carl Greene’s blog “The things which are most important don’t always scream the loudest.” - Bob Hawke Religious voices that use holy scripture to demean our neighbors will not continue to be the loudest voices in our city.... read more
By the Clergy of the Northern Illinois Conference Reconciling Leadership Team In appreciation of the clergy covenant and communion that was celebrated on Tuesday, September 9, 2014, we give thanks for our colleagues and the sacred moments that were shared as people... read more
Since the death of Bishop Martin McLee I have almost daily searched for additional news about his significant ministry, and plans for his funeral service. I have written, as I have done my “grief work” in response to his death, about the similarities of... read more
The first piece of information you should know is that I am really new to Methodism, but what I’m not completely new to is being an LGBT Christian. I was raised in the Church of Christ, only returned to God a little over two years ago, and up until the past six weeks,... read more
A recent article in Huffington Post about a public school district cutting its ties, ending its partnership with a Christian institution because of a request for the legali ability to discriminate against the LGBTQ community leaves me with the ever-growing and... read more
Suicide and self-harm isn’t a topic discussed frequently enough in the church. You might ask, “why would a young person even want to talk about the subject?” But perhaps a better question would be, “how would I respond to a young person who... read more
I grew up in the most southeastern part of southeast Georgia that you can be in, St. Marys. I’m the son of a career Navy submariner who served during the years when “don’t ask don’t tell” was at its peak. I didn’t fully give my life to Jesus until my freshman year... read more
My first weekend of living in my dorm room at my seminary already involved an opinionated exchange about affirming same-sex relationships. Someone just needed to utter homosexuality for my eyes to shift and for me to fidget and panic. I thought Oh, no! Not now. Not... read more
From the Western Methodist Justice Mvement Meeting in Retreat at Zephyr Cove, Nevaada on September 1, 2014 Grace and peace to you in the name of our Sovereign, Jesus Christ: We are writing to you at this crucial moment in the history of the United States and of the... read more
Since 2005, I have been an ordained minister. I have a Masters and a PhD in Christian Clinical Counseling from Florida Christian University. In 2008, my family moved to Puerto Rico and began a congregation called Centro de Reconciliacion Internacional, which was a... read more
This past week, 19-year old Daniel Pierce of Georgia posted a video to his Facebook page which quickly went viral, in which he discreetly filmed a “pray the gay away” intervention staged by his family. Though the video footage is blurry, the audio is horrifying... read more
Far be it from me to criticize Jesus, but he doesn’t always argue like a Christian. For one thing, like an internet troll, he uses distraction and ad hominem (personal) attacks. Just look at Matthew 15: The Pharisees ask Jesus why his disciples don’t wash their hands... read more
The continuing discussions/debates/disagreements about human sexuality and marriage equality in The United Methodist Church and how we might restructure ourselves to accommodate traditionalists and progressives” is like a “blast from the past”. It,... read more
Though I’d love to be able to always know precisely all the details of what the Lord calls me to do, many times all I know to do is to “get a move on” as my late father used to say. To get up and be led by the Spirit, which is how Jesus ended up in... read more
I have tried to come up with words that can describe the ache I feel in my heart and my soul as the collective community once again witnesses and tries to heal from the brutality of excessive force used by the police in this country. I was ANGRY when I first heard the... read more
Unfortunately, The United Methodist Church has more to say about suicide, ebola, and education than it does about racism. But, er, uh, am I surprised? When it comes to fighting against LGBTQ rights, especially same-sex marriage, much has been and is discussed. What is... read more
Rev. Dr. Shepard officiating his son’s wedding. Dear Bishop Webb, The Rev. Frank Schaefer said at his church trial, “I cannot go back to being a silent supporter. I must continue to be in ministry with all the people.” I, too, will no longer be a... read more
As news of Ebola, Boko Haram, and the overturning of Uganda’s anti-gay law have filled my Facebook newsfeed over many days and weeks, I am reminded of my deeply-rooted love for the people and continent of Africa. My newsfeed has also been full of articles and blogs... read more
As Maya Angelou passed this May, many of my friends and family took to social media to honor her life. One my favorite quotes by Dr. Angelou seemed to be a favorite amongst others: Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud. She stated once in an interview: There’s an... read more
Amidst great progress for LGBTQ people in The United Methodist Church, many friends and family members have asked me why I would leave a denomination that is showing great hope for the future inclusion of queer people. In truth, it is difficult for me to delineate... read more
Tomorrow, at the invitation of the Connectional Table and the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, RMN will join representatives from the Methodist Federation for Social Action, Love Prevails, Good News, Confessing Movement,... read more
June 21 of this year marked the 50th anniversary of the murder of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, three college students committed to registering black voters in the south during “Freedom Summer.” This tragedy was the inaugural event of what became... read more
Vernice and I catch the bus from the neighborhood that takes wedding participants to the warehouse bar: we look like everyone else. We begin to quietly identify some of the people we’ve heard about – Justin’s Aunt, Andrew’s sister. We speculate that they think we are... read more
The United Methodist Church has always been a warm and comforting place for me. As a teenager I was introduced to youth groups through The United Methodist Church. I began to experience Christ through a relationship as opposed to solely scripture readings. The church... read more
Personal reflection by Jay Newlin For the second year, Reconciling UMs of Eastern Pennsylvania sponsored a “vendor” table at the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference, June 12-14. Held in Philadelphia every year since 2002, this conference is the largest of its kind,... read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MEDIA CONTACT: Rev. Andy Oliver – 863-397-0678 The Rev. Frank Schaefer is officially a United Methodist clergyperson again Less than six months after Schaefer’s conference Board of Ordained Ministry took away his clergy credentials, an... read more
“Young man, I have to ask you. I’ve been trying to figure it out all day. What does that rainbow scarf mean?” This is how the majority of the conversations I had at North Georgia’s Annual Conference started, as they pointed to the rainbow stole hanging around my neck.... read more
Blake Britton Photography In Alabama we have just finished celebrating the largest LGBTQ Pride event in the state. Central Alabama Pride organizes the event which stretches over nine days filled with a variety of events, from family picnics to cosmic bowling and a... read more
I became involved in thinking about Reconciliation when a Reconciling Ministries Network staff member responded on Facebook to a comment I had made, and to my concern about finding a church community in the West Palm Beach, FL area. Prior to that, during a trip to... read more
The Baltimore-Washington Area Reconciling United Methodists (B-WARM) invite you to come show your support for Frank Schaefer as he presents his case before the Northeastern Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals. Friday, June 20, 2014 9:00 a.m. – Gathering 10:30 a.m. –... read more
Frank Schaefer, the United Methodist pastor from Pennsylvania who was defrocked by the denomination for officiating at his son’s wedding to his same-sex partner, will speak at First United Methodist Church of Schenectady on Sunday, June 29, 2014. He will present a... read more
From the editor: As the 9/11 museum has now opened for the public, 9/11 survivor, Artie Van Why shares his experience of reliving that day. Artie left The United Methodist Church in 2012 following General Conference because of the oppression he continued to experience... read more
Rev. John Elford (Mary Ann Barclay’s pastor) An email to his church, By now, most of you are aware that Mary Ann’s path to ordination was stalled earlier this month. She finally met with our SWTX Conference Board of Ordained Ministry (BOM) and did not... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality Over the last eight months, week in and week out, We Did authors have told stories of flesh-and-blood people whom they ministered to and whose weddings they performed. Some of the... read more
Lectionary text from Philippians 1:3-6 I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a... read more
My friend Phil arrived early Saturday morning to the expo center, site of the 2014 Eastern PA annual conference meeting. As he walked toward the entrance, he heard an unfamiliar voice shouting from across the parking lot. “Here comes another fag!” Phil could not... read more
It was a lovely sunny Saturday this past weekend when Kira Rabut Azzam and Nikki Salde said their wedding vows at Wesley UMC in San Jose, CA in the presence of their family and church members. Rev. Michael Yoshii, their pastor at Buena Vista UMC, officiated the... read more
As I have made my way through seminary I have found that there are many topics in the church which we discuss believing that we all share a common definition, but this could not be further from the truth. When I hear someone speaking of sin, salvation, atonement,... read more
With the recent action by the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Southwest Texas Annual Conference to hinder Mary Ann Barclay’s pursuit of ordination as a deacon in The United Methodist Church, I’m not only grieving for Mary Ann and all other LGBTQ persons who are... read more
“Black people in America and around the world are impeding gay rights,” or so I’m being told. I have been troubled recently by remarks about blacks’ perceived intolerance for the LGBTQI community. Not only is this perception a gross overgeneralization, it also... read more
statement by M Barclay following their interview with their ordination board It’s been a long journey starting with my 17-year-old self wondering if I might be called to ministry, to all of the steps that have led me to this point: the Bishop’s rulings, the Judicial... read more
Today in the Southwest Texas Annual Conference, Mary Ann Barclay will be going before the Board of Ordained Ministry for an interview for the process of ordination as a Deacon in The United Methodist Church. Mary Ann was first denied an interview last June at Annual... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality In the spring of 2011 friends of mine came to me and asked me if I would officiate at their wedding. These two people are two of my closest friends. Jane who is a man who identifies... read more
A sermon preached at Christ Church UMC, Denver, Colorado Please pray with me: oh God, may your Word be preached and may your word be heard. It is a joy and a privilege to stand before you today. I’m excited to be appointed as a commissioned Deacon to Christ Church... read more
A prayer for Mary Ann Barclay… join the prayer vigil here Holy One, who created and is still creating, who broke bread with us, who comes to us in a mighty rush of wind, Comfort those in fear. Challenge the powers and principalities. Communicate... read more
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In the continuing work of marriage equality, Highlands United Methodist Church is engaged with two other Denver area United Methodist Churches- Christ Church and Cameron. Their pastors and I are aware that this prophetic ministry requires conversation. Our bishop,... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality One of the more memorable experiences of my ministry occurred at Washington Square UMC in New York City, where I served as pastor during the mid- to late-1980s. One day I was... read more
I am the daughter, granddaughter, and niece of United Methodist ministers. I am also a former Youth Minister. I grew up in The United Methodist Church, leaving for a few years to pursue professional goals, but returning as a wife and mother with high expectations... read more
reprinted with permission This post has been a long time in the making. For over a year I have wondered how and when I would share with all of you my journey until now. Why am I sharing? No more secrets. Secrets bring shame and I have nothing to be ashamed of.... read more
This week Donald Sterling received a fine of $2.5 million, alongside a lifetime ban from the NBA. While this is an important punishment for someone with a history of making overtly racist remarks, let us remember that racism is much more about structures of injustice... read more
- a prayer for Mary Ann Barclay’s ordination interview - Acts 2:15-18 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘In the last days it will be, God... read more
Introduction In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, as well as John, Jesus has very little to say about sexuality, but much to say concerning marginalized people of his day. A reading of the Gospels clearly reveals Jesus as a barrier breaker, community maker,... read more
Marriage Equality decision Mary Ann Barclay decision Same-sex spouse benefits decision Marriage Equality decision Decision No. 1552 In Re: IN RE: Review of a Bishop’s Decision of Law in the Desert Southwest Annual Conference Regarding a Resolution Entitled... read more
“It all begins with two women who love each other deeply and believe they are called to serve the world together,”said Rev. John Oda, one of the organizers for the Season of Love. Nikki and Kira, two United Methodist women will be married on May 17 at Wesley United... read more
A church that exists among the comfortable cannot be prophetic. We must put Jesus first. Abridged; originally preached at FL Annual Conference MFSA gathering 2013; full text here Storey presenting President Nelson Mandela with a sculpture of melted guns on the... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living marriage equality In honor of Rev. Jack King’s late friend Rev. Richard S. Parker Richard S. Parker held her tenderly in his arms and looked into her eyes as he lifted one hand to her head and said, “Charissa... read more
Written for First United Methodist Church, Oneonta, NY as they approach their 25th anniversary of their decision to become a Reconciling congregation. It was a spectacularly broken time in my life. I had just stopped drinking. I had just broken up with my boyfriend of... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality As I drove to the home where the wedding was to take place, I was a little nervous—not because I was officiating a marriage ceremony between two women, but rather because I had my... read more
The Day of Silence is a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from middle school to college take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem... read more
An Open Letter To The Bishops And Superintendents Of The United Methodist Church UNDER THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, BISHOP MARTIN MCLEE’S HANDLING OF THE REV. DR. THOMAS OGLETREE MATTER IS THE BEST WAY TO PROMOTE HEALING AND TO AVERT CLERGY TRIALS;... read more
originally published in the Seattle Times - The Boy Scouts of America are behind the times by barring someone from serving as scoutmaster for his sexual orientation, writes guest columnist Geoffrey McGrath. Two weeks ago, Boy Scout Troop 98 and I ventured out into a... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality I was a local preacher in a big church in Rochester, Minnesota. Late one afternoon a couple came into the church office asking to be married that evening. The pastor was on vacation... read more
- by God’s Rainbow Revolution - It is often argued that God’s original design for relationships was established in the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden story does indeed state: “For this reason a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and... read more
United Methodist people, congregations, and communities who make up the Reconciling Ministries Network are practicing Biblical Obedience that supports faithful disciples of Jesus Christ doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God. We are increasing the... read more
Going against wishes of a Seattle-based United Methodist Church and Reconciling congregation, the Boy Scouts of America forced out founder of two UMC Scouting units Geoffrey McGrath–an Eagle Scout, husband, and Scoutmaster–is first gay adult to be removed... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality “Okay, I’ll officiate at your wedding again,” I told my lifelong friend Josephine—then added with mock seriousness, “But two’s my limit!” Josephine (called Jo by those who knew her)... read more
“Being an ally is about the work, not necessarily the title. It’s recognizing your functionality within a system of oppression.” Last week I attended a daylong institute for supporting LGBTQ+ college students. The quote above, which particularly... read more
When I sat down to write this earlier this year, my inbox, Facebook, and the internet were all abuzz with news that the United Methodist Church has “defrocked” a pastor for performing a wedding for a gay couple. More poignantly, this pastor performed the wedding... read more
- a parable by anonymous - It started innocently enough, two friends talking about the newspaper headline: “Global Church Rejects Plea from Homosexuals: Refuses to Allow Full Membership.” “They couldn’t have worship without us,” one observed. “Yeah, that would be... read more
listen to the sermon here - Wow! From slavery to the first black woman to successfully win a law suit in New York to Pentecostal Methodism, to a utopian commune with questionable sexual ethics and mysterious deaths, to the lecture circuit for women’s rights &... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality The two honorary uncles of our teenage children were Dewey and Larry. The remarkable couple, known internationally in their respective fields, became part of our family during those... read more
It was my pastoral duty then and it is my pastoral duty today….. I have only officiated at a dozen Holy Unions over the years between the late 80’s and early 2000’s. (I am so glad that we now call these services WEDDINGS.) Many of my colleagues and several district... read more
Rev. Bill McElvaney released this statement to his Northaven UMC family. STATEMENT TO NORTHAVEN CONGREGATION On March 7 I received a letter from Bishop Michael McKee notifying me that a complaint had been filed by Reverend Camille Gaston in regard to my conducting a... read more
This is a follow-up to Julie Wood‘s first post about her gay son Ben who committed suicide. I have a lot of questions and many of them do have an “edge” to them. How could anyone that identifies themself as a follower of the example of Jesus, feel he has the... read more
A response to Dr. Maxie Dunnam’s reply to Bishop Hagiya. Last month, Dr. Maxie Dunnam wrote a response to a thoughtful column by Bishop Grant Hagiya. Bishop Hagiya’s article reflected on his own discernment process around the church’s position... read more
In the months preceding coming out to my closest friends and family members (most of the Traditionalist variety) I developed a series of presentations in order to describe the evolution of my thought and belief towards my orientation. Putting aside how telling that is... read more
I am a hired United Methodist “laity,” the church refers to me as “Pastor Tim”, however the Discipline says they can’t do that, go figure, in a church, in fact still the only Reconciling United Methodist Church in the Susquehanna conference (since 1989). The church... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality My daughter Nancy and the “love of her life” Kim were married in the eyes of God and their friends and family on July 7, 2002. It was one of the best days of my life. They asked me to... read more
The reaction to Bishop Martin McLee’s words, “Church trials result in harmful polarization and continues the harm brought upon our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters,” has surfaced, not for the first time, the word schism. I was prompted to search... read more
As Christ Jesus moves to the cross this Lenten season, the Church moves right along with him. We will watch him heal the sick, feed the hungry, liberate the oppressed, love the hated, and include the outcast. As we walk to the cross, we will behold the Christ who... read more
Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops – March 13, 2014 Contact: Rev. Steve Goodier: 303-389-9456 DENVER – Complaints have been filed against Bishop Melvin G. Talbert alleging he has violated the sacred trust of his office. Acting in accordance with United... read more
Remarks by Rev. Scott Campbell, Counsel for Rev. Dr. Ogletree, given at the press conference on March 10, 2014 I would like to begin by expressing my admiration and appreciation for Dr. Thomas Ogletree and his committed and compassionate embodiment of the love that... read more
(reflections on a sermon preached three weeks ago) - First United Methodist Church in Paris Texas traces its roots back to 1843. We have a beautifully unique and historical sanctuary built in the 1920s. The town itself numbers around 25,000 and is the county seat of... read more
In a huge victory for all United Methodists, charges against Rev. Dr. Tom Ogletree were dismissed without any conditions. Ogletree was facing a church trial for officiating the same-sex wedding of his son. Bishop Martin McLee of New York said in a statement, “I call... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality The year was 1987. “A holy union, what is that?” I asked as the outgoing pastor handed me the church keys to my then new appointment at Washington Square UMC. A few days later, it... read more
spoken at Why Marriage Matters Colorado - It is a joy and a privilege to stand before you as a United Methodist clergywoman and as a staff person at Reconciling Ministries Network. At Reconciling Ministries, we seek to ensure that all people – regardless of who they... read more
I love the church. I love The United Methodist Church. In fact, I believe The UMC is a beautiful expression of what the body of Christ is all about. Our organizational structure indicates a cooperative hierarchal leadership model strikingly similar to a biblical... read more
This is an edited transcript. Listen to the sermon here. Before we read the scripture, I wanted to share about a way we can wrestle with who God calls us to be. The Wesleyan Quadrilateral is a way of working out our understanding of God using Scripture as our primary... read more
General Board of Church and Society Board of Directors issue statement saying everyone has right to security of person and protection against violence. As United Methodists, we believe: The rights and privileges a society bestows upon or withholds from those who... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality Peggy Borgstede and Kathy Green met at a cocktail party for gay women in 1995. It was love at first sight. They lived together in a committed relationship for eight years, with Peggy... read more
I was born and raised on the east coast of North Carolina. My adolescence was spent in a very conservative Southern Baptist home that instilled in me the value of traditional marriage and what a detriment to society being gay was. I remember verbally griping about... read more
You may have been following the news this week and seen that legislation known as the “Turn Away the Gays Bill” was passed by the state government in AZ, and after much protest by individuals and corporations, was vetoed yesterday by Gov. Brewer. What you may not know... read more
With strength, love, and wisdom, Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño is a model for Episcopal leadership in The United Methodist Church. In fulfillment of her calling as a bishop, she demonstrates, yet again, what prophetic leadership looks like for the whole church around the... read more
Honestly, I have been avoiding this topic. Not because I am afraid that the evidence is weak, or that I am not qualified to posit a strong argument. Rather, I have shied away from trying to dig into books, Scripture, and history for validation of who I am, because I... read more
I was sitting in Rev. Vance Rains’ office at the Florida State Wesley Foundation the first time I said the words “I’m gay” out loud to any other living human. I specify because of the countless memories I have of telling people in dreams, and also prayerfully... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality When I transitioned from parish ministry to higher education in 2008, I started working in The Center for Learning at an upstate community college. Joe worked there too. He was a... read more
Recently I attended a Lay Speaker class at my church on UMC heritage. We learned the inspiring story of the Wesley brothers. But, we went on to learn about the spread of the Methodist movement in America and beyond. I admit I stand in awe of the sacrifices and... read more
From a young age, I have always had the understanding that everyone is accepted and loved by God no matter their race, nationality, wealth, or sexuality. The God I knew was one that loved with no bounds. The God that sent a selfless divine human to die for our sins... read more
Florida has witnessed yet another innocent, unarmed, young black man killed, and once again no one was held accountable. The very need to use descriptors like innocent and unarmed for a black man, when that is implicit if we were to say a young white man, outlines the... read more
I am an 80 year old “segregation survivor” of racial segregation in the USA. I have known De Jure segregation (sanctioned and enforced by law) and De facto segregation (without sanction or law). Although recent actions to reverse voting rights and... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality I was delighted to be asked if I would be willing to conduct the marriage ceremony of Scott and John. I had known Scott for some 18 years. He had grown up in the Bayport United... read more
“It is not our differences that divide us, it is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” – Audre Lourde - I heard these words, not in a bookstore, or at a poetry/prose reading, or... read more
Each year in mid February, soon after Valentine’s Day, church phones ring and e-mail boxes fill with excited requests to schedule the pastor and sanctuary for weddings in the coming year or two. The same will be true this year. I always made certain the... read more
Ten years ago today, I received a call from one of my parishioners who gave me the most surprising news: the City and County of San Francisco was issuing marriage licenses! He barely took a breath before informing me that he and his partner were on their way to City... read more
The United Methodist Church has taken steps to delay the trial of Rev. Dr. Tom Ogletree, referring the matter back to the resident bishop for another attempt at a “just resolution.” For Tom’s sake and the sake of the church we hope that an end to this... read more
It was a busy week of travel, phone calls with pastors, churches and staff parish chairpersons in crisis. And it was cold – bone-weary, gray, how-many-days-until-Spring cold. After our meeting near the state capital, I dropped my friend off at her house and excitedly... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality When I was appointed to Asbury Crestwood United Methodist Church in the year 2000, I was greeted officially by the SPRC chair (of the personnel committee of the church), Manny Meli. ... read more
When I wrote the story of the same sex marriage that I performed, I looked forward to the responses. Among the responses that I received, I have chosen this one as being representative of the many, many parents who have looked to the Church for ministry with and to... read more
When I was doing course work at the University of Georgia we had a guest lecturer come to one class to speak to us regarding the importance of diversity. She highlighted women and Latinos as oppressed and marginalized groups, and contrasted this to those who hold... read more
I would have to attribute my earliest concerns for “social justice” to the many protest songs we sang around campfires in Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF) and church camp in the 60’s, but I would probably have been voted “least likely to participate in a... read more
I attend a small United Methodist Church on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama. We have a Reconciling Group at the church, with a mission to expand the acceptance of LGBTQ persons throughout the congregation. On Sunday one of our staff persons was in front of the... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality Our connection was through email and then phone. Two women from a state in the South where there was no possibility for a legal same-sex marriage, wanted to come north because they... read more
2013 was a year of great weddings! I love these joyous occasions when friends and family gather from far and wide to celebrate the love and loyalty of two people. I have officiated or attended at least eight of these wonderful events this year. I want to share with... read more
God has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does God require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8 I have been a pastor at St. Francis in the Foothills UMC off and on for nine years. I rejoined the... read more
As a Civil Rights Movement “foot soldier,” I have used these words of Martin Luther King to guide my activism, not just for people of African descent, but for all justice struggles; “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” My... read more
Last week I received news of a presentation given by episcopal leadership within the United Methodist Church. Bishop Scott J. Jones at a meeting among clergy in the Great Plains Conference gave a speech entitled, “Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace” in which he... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality As I reflect on the stories that have already been shared, and the distressing news that Tom Ogletree is being brought to trial for officiating at his son’s wedding, I would like to... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality My daughter Sarah burst out in tears when she told us she was lesbian. Noel (her step-mother) and I had driven to Connecticut to visit her at college. “I didn’t want to tell you... read more
Contact: Andy Oliver, Reconciling Ministries Network, 312-448-5303, 863-397-0678 Spokesperson Dorothee Benz, Methodists in New Directions, 718-314-4432 David Lerner, Riptide Communications, 212-260-5000, 917-612-5657 JAN 17, 2014—The United Methodist Church is putting... read more
Rev. Jack Lipphardt wrote and sent this letter on December 19, 2013 to the current Bishop of West Virginia Conference, Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball, and also to Bishops Bickerton, Grove, Ives, and Lyght. Dear Bishop: Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ! I... read more
In the weeks following Rev. Frank Schaefer’s trial, a pastor in Oregon announced he was planning to remove his stole in protest on Epiphany Sunday… here is his children’s sermon and sermon from that Sunday. Children’s sermon: Do you know the secret... read more
I attended a United Methodist Church service last week for the first time since before the Frank Shaefer trial. It left me with mixed feelings. The congregation is a Reconciling congregation, and the service included the “Reaffirmation of the Baptismal... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality My path toward officiating at a lesbian wedding started when Hazel, my three-year-old granddaughter, told me that Margot, her nursery school buddy, was lucky because she has two... read more
Bishop Jack M. Tuell (1923-2014) This sermon was preached at Claremont United Methodist Church in Claremont, California, celebrating the 10th anniversary of becoming a Reconciling congregation – May 18, 2003. If I were to give a one sentence answer to the... read more
“DOING JUSTICE, LOVING KINDNESS, AND WALKING HUMBLY WITH GOD” January 10, 2014 Dear Bishops and Leaders of the Western Jurisdiction, We are members of the Reconciling committees and organizing teams of our respective annual conferences in the Western... read more
- by Anonymous - It was the night of my ordination as an elder in The United Methodist Church. After the service, I went back to my hotel room and walked out on the balcony where I saw the city lights and felt the summer breeze blowing off Corpus Christi... read more
Written just before the 2012 United Methodist Church General Conference - Reprinted today as Bishop Tuell has just entered hospice care. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the... read more
December 20, 2013 Dear Bishop Huie, Advent greetings to you from the Breaking the Silence family. As we journey through this season of watching and waiting for our Savior, we ask for your pastoral leadership. This fall, we saw the church put on trial a pastor... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality When our son Harry was ready to be baptized, it was not difficult for Charlene and me to decide who his godparents should be. Ron and Jim had only recently joined the church. Ron... read more
This is national 2013 in review week, particularly for lists of who died. I was looking at the list of notable passings in Methodism and was quite surprised that the lead off name was was Margaret Thatcher, and the last was Nelson Mandela. Both baptized as Methodists.... read more
An “Open Letter” to Robin Roberts from a retired, African American, United Methodist Church, Clergyman Ms. Roberts I write as one your many fans. Your personal, professional and sensitive gifts as I have watched/heard you as an Anchor on Good Morning... read more
An Open Letter to the College of Bishops of The UMC Philipines Central Conference Dear United Methodist Bishops from the Philippines, Our church, over the last 4 decades, has faced turmoil because of language that was added to the Book of Discipline in 1972, making... read more
On the eve of Christmas celebrations, I long to be back home and enjoy the festivities of the Philippines’ long Christmas fiesta. I remember Simbang Gabi – the nine days before Christmas when I’d wake up every day at the crack of dawn to be in church for early morning... read more
The Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” Jesus replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” - Luke 19:39-40 Dear Reconciling United Methodists, With you, we are crying out. For too long, our church has... read more
-Photo credit: De Nueva Photography- We Did: Stories of United Methodists living BIblical Obedience and marriage equality When I was their age I also had rejected the church of my childhood. After 20 years of unchurched adulthood I found a church (Park Slope United... read more
In a few days, Christians everywhere will listen for the vulnerable cries of Love incarnate as Christ is born. The whole church will worship and adore these newborn cries amid lights of peace, hope, joy, and love. Today, the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Eastern... read more
In a statement released yesterday responding to a petition from her clergy, Bishop Peggy Johnson of Eastern Pennsylvania named specific laws of The United Methodist Church as “discriminatory.” Several statements in our Book of Discipline are discriminatory (forbidding... read more
Dear Bishop Johnson, We, the undersigned clergy of the Philadelphia Episcopal Area who stand in support of all LGBT members within the world-wide United Methodist Church, present the following petition: We appreciate your recent public expression of concern over the... read more
Rev. Frank Schaefer was found guilty by The United Methodist Church for officiating at his son’s same-sex wedding. Schaefer was given the following penalty: Suspend Rev. Frank Schaefer from all ministerial duties effective immediately for 30 days. If there are... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality It was sometime in late July 2011 when Marge Kirchner, a friend of mine for years, called and asked if we could get together for breakfast. She is a snowbird and we hadn’t seen each... read more
Last week, my friend Mary Ann was reinstated in her United Methodist ordination process in Southwest Texas. Even though she was approved by her church and a district committee, her conference board broke their own rules by voting her out without ever interviewing her.... read more
I chose to write this down as my way to articulate how I feel about my decision. The only other instance where I took the time to write it out was when I came out to my parents. Hopefully that provides a context for how important this decision is to me and how I feel... read more
Mary Ann Barclay, a candidate for ordination in The United Methodist Church, was approved by her District Board only to be removed from the ordination process before an interview by her Conference Board. Today, Bishop Dorff has overturned their vote, ruling that she... read more
A kind , gentle, knowledgeable and very socially conscious 16 year old boy arrived to join his circle of friends for a youth group prior to going on a mission trip. These kids/this place had been this boys sanctuary from years of school bullying. This group held a... read more
We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and Marriage Equality One of the most powerful moments in ministry is standing with a loving couple, shepherding them through their vows to love and to cherish, for better or for worse. It is such a bold,... read more