Petition 2017 #AC402 -
One in Christ for the Transformation of the World
WHEREAS the Apostle Paul reminds us, along with the church of Corinth, that we are all one in Christ, one body with many diverse and beautiful members: “Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body (1 Corinthians 12:14-16),” and
WHEREAS none of us is dispensable and none of us is unworthy of full membership in the body of Christ or in the life and ministries of the church, and
WHEREAS Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex clergy have made important contributions to our conference, faithfully serving churches in appointments, and have worked diligently and prayerfully “to create disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world,” bringing unique gifts and grace to the people they serve, and
WHEREAS in the course of following their call to minister, LGBTQI clergy have suffered psychic and spiritual harm because of discrimination by the very denomination they serve, and
WHEREAS the families and allies of LGBTQI clergy have also suffered psychic and spiritual harm, and
WHEREAS LGBTQI clergy have been made more vulnerable by institutional oppression through General Conference decisions in the last 44 years and the recent rulings of the Judicial Council, and
WHEREAS the decisions not only fracture the body of Christ and dehumanize LGBTQI persons, but do harm to the entire Methodist connection.
WHEREAS we the LGBTQI clergy persons of the New York Annual Conference and our families are harmed by the heterosexist and homophobic language of "self-avowed practicing homosexuals;" (¶ 304.3 Book of Discipline), and
WHEREAS we live the experiences detailed in this petition and our beloved families are used against us, and
WHEREAS our fully loving relationships are reduced to sexual acts and our relationships as partners, spouses, mothers, fathers, siblings, children, and grandchildren are demeaned and stigmatized, and
WHEREAS we respond to God's Great Commission to proclaim the good news to all people and are pastors and deacons who have been called by God, certified as candidates, licensed, commissioned and/or ordained, and
WHEREAS we uphold our denomination's mandate to foster inclusiveness as "openness, acceptance, and support that enables all persons to participate in the life of the church, the community, and the world [and] therefore, inclusiveness denies every semblance of discrimination" (¶ 140 Book of Discipline), and
WHEREAS collectively as United Methodist Queer Clergy and all members of the New York Annual Conference, we re-affirm our baptismal vows “to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves,” especially when it exists in our own Book of Discipline and in rulings of Judicial Council, and
WHEREAS the New York Annual Conference aspires to live as the Beloved Community, and
WHEREAS we respond to God’s Great Commission to proclaim the good news to all people, and we intend to live into the reality of the beautiful, bold, diverse, and inclusive Body of Christ, and
WHEREAS we uphold our denomination’s mandate to foster inclusiveness. “Inclusiveness means openness, acceptance, and support that enables all persons to participate in the life of the church, the community, and the world; therefore, inclusiveness denies every semblance of discrimination” (¶ 140 Book of Discipline).
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the New York Annual Conference remains in support and in solidarity with LGBTQI clergy persons, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the actions by the legislative and judicial branches of The United Methodist Church should be considered divisive by the members of our denomination and our ecclesiastical leaders and bodies, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the New York Annual Conference instead privileges the justice-rooted gospel of Christ over codified discrimination and unjust laws in our denomination and civil societies at large, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that with humility, integrity, and courage, we renew our commitment to continue affirming LGBTQI clergy persons in their calls to ministry, support them in their service to the church, and prayerfully work with them to transform all forms of institutional discrimination.
Submitted by: United Methodist Queer Clergy Caucus: Rev. Lea A. Matthews, Rev. Alex da Silva Souto, Rev. Elizabeth Jones, Rev. Ronald Tompkins, Rev. Siobhan Sargent, Rev. Dr. Althea Spencer-Miller, Pastor Kathleen Meyerson, Rev. Bruce Lamb, Pastor Kathleen Reynolds, Rev. Ardis Letey, Rev. Martha E. Vink, Pastor Christine Lindeberg, Rev. Elyse Ambrose, Rev. Marguerite K. Jhonson, Rev. Dr. Emily Hall, Rev. Sara Thompson-Tweedy
*2017 Pre-Conference Reports/Petitions to The New York Annual Conference - Draft – 5/16/2017