The Other Convention: A Church Votes on Gay Rights

Good News readers will be interested in viewing a brand new 25-minute documentary regarding the debate and controversy within United Methodism over gay marriage and the practice of homosexuality. Produced by the Center for Investigative Journalism in San Francisco, the film is a fair-minded portrayal of the excruciating emotional and theological divide that occurs within our denomination.

By way of introduction, the Center for Investigative Journalism is a nonprofit media outfit in California that usually reports on issues such as education, public safety, health care, and the environment.

In this presentation, “The Other Convention: A Church Votes on Gay Rights,” journalist Matt Smith and filmmaker Adithya Sambamurthy tell the story of two pastors from California going to the 2012 General Conference of the UM Church with divergent agendas.

The Rev. Karen Oliveto, pastor of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco, wants United Methodism to accept gay marriage and condone homosexual behavior.

The Rev. Richard Thompson, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Bakersfield, believes that United Methodism should maintain its historic and biblical beliefs regarding marriage and human sexuality. Pastor Thompson is a member of the Good News board of directors.

The Rev. Thomas A. Lambrecht, vice president of Good News and head of the Renewal and Reform Coalition, is also prominently featured in the documentary.

In the film, you will see footage of the General Conference in Tampa, as well as the strategy rooms of the progressive Common Witness Coalition as well as the evangelical Renewal and Reform Coalition.

Near the end of the film (23 minute mark), viewers can also see retired Bishop Melvin Talbert issuing his call for United Methodist clergy to break their ministerial covenant with the denomination and perform same-sex weddings. “I declare to you that the derogatory language and restrictive laws in the Book of Discipline are immoral and unjust and no longer deserving of our loyalty and obedience,” declares Talbert.

Of course, there are aspects of the film that we would tweak, as well as assumptions we would challenge and fuller stories we would explore. Nevertheless, we believe that “The Other Convention: A Church Votes on Gay Rights” helps to illustrate the theological and spiritual chasm that exists within United Methodism.

You can watch the film by clicking HERE.