111 clergy, clergy candidates come out as gay

By Heather Hahn
May 9, 2016 | PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS)

On the eve of the 2016 General Conference, more than 100 United Methodist clergy and clergy candidates have come out as LGBTQ religious leaders.

“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,” the 111 United Methodists write in what they call “A Love Letter to Our Church.” The signers come from across the United States, and one signer is from the Philippines. They identify themselves as “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, and Intersex” in the letter.

Their letter comes a week after 15 clergy and clergy candidates in the New York Conference took a similar step of coming out together. It also comes just two days after the Rev. David Meredith, a United Methodist pastor in the West Ohio Conference, married Jim Schlachter, his boyfriend of 28 years.

These actions could put these clergy at risk of losing their credentials under church law, just as 864 delegates from around the globe are embarking on a 10-day legislative meeting that will determine church rules for the coming four years. Some of the May 9 letter signers are among the delegates.

However, the letter also indicates that many United Methodists are moving forward regardless of what General Conference decides, said Matt Berryman.

He is the executive director of Reconciling Ministries Network, an unofficial United Methodist group that advocates for the church to be more inclusive. The network has coordinated publicity of this and other challenges to church law as part of the group’s “It’s Time” campaign.

“Since 2012, we’ve decided we would be the church no matter what,” Berryman told United Methodist News Service. The majority of delegates at the 2012 General Conference voted against a proposal to say United Methodists disagree whether homosexuality is against God’s will.

To read the entire UMNS story by Heather Hahn, click HERE.

Comments

  1. Licensed Local Pastor says

    The United Methodist denomination will either have to split or it will self destruct over this type of blatant disregard for not only the BOD but the authority of scripture.

  2. Given the various coordinated steps, efforts and actions that the LGBTQ lobby within the UM church has taken leading up to the 2016 GC, there is no longer room for half-steps, capitulation or compromise. If Holy Scripture and the UM BOD mean anything at all, the 100 signatories will be suspended from all active ministries within the UM church, to be followed quickly by excommunication proceedings. The Love of Christ is reflected through understanding, appreciation and forbearance; it is not demonstrated by abandonment of the UM BOD and the dishonoring of scriptural direction, intent and mandate. Wish them well and pray for them; but NO LONGER allow them to pervert the gospel under the UM banner!

  3. I simply believe that the Bible taken as a whole, honestly read, supports the notion that a holy marriage is one between one man and one woman. Any teaching to the contrary is against Christian teaching. Jesus himself quoted Genesis to this effect. Mathew 19 Of course, there are many who fall short of this teaching, but that does not mean you change the teaching. The LGBTQI movement is just that, a cultural movement mostly within the United States that for the most part militates against the Church. So far the Catholic Church is holding fast to the definition of the sacrament of Christian Marriage. It is disappointing that this stunt of 100 plus Methodist Pastors coming out against their vows kicks off the General Conference. They put themselves and their movement first, not the Church. Everything they do is for the purpose of advocacy including the well-known political tool of co-opting and deforming the words “love” and “hate” merely for political purposes. There should be ways of accommodation. Jesus didn’t condemn the eunuchs, he just told them what marriage is and what it has been from the beginning

  4. Sarah Ruth Baird Shaw says

    After 40 years of General Conference votes for taking seriously and voting respect for to Church’s Holy Scripture, It is disappointing that Methodist Pastors coming out against their Christian vows kicks off the General Conference. They put themselves first, not the Church. Everything they do is for the purpose of advocacy including the well-known political tool of co-opting and deforming the words “love” and “hate” merely for political purposes. …

  5. Phil Brewster says

    The UMNS story linked above had the following quote:
    “Some 30 percent of General Conference delegates come from Africa, where the majority of nations criminalize same-sex behavior.”
    I spent a good part of the day researching the veracity of that statement and it is clearly a piece of slanted misinformation. Neither the Republic of Congo nor the Democratic Republic of Congo have laws that criminalize homosexual behavior (not the same thing as saying homosexuals are illegally mistreated). Of course these two countries have produced large Methodist congregations. The UMNS misinformation is apparently conflating the many majority Muslim countries in Africa that do criminalize same-sex behavior under Sharia law. It is obviously patently misleading to marginalize our fellow Methodists from the Congo countries by associating them with Muslim standards. My correction of this error was not posted by UMNS.

  6. East Coast Annuall Conference Pastor says

    Nobody will lose their credentials and the church will continue marching on into the great future of being the UM version of the Episcopal Church/sarc. Goof grief! When you even have Bishops flaunting the Discipline what can you expect?

  7. Music Director says

    2 Timothy 3:1-5 New International Version (NIV)

    1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

  8. Pastor Penny says

     “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Romans 1:24-27

  9. Pastor Rick Duncan says

    We have come so far, and learned so little. This is a battle that cannot be won unless our Bishops put their foot down and say enough is enough, and that will not happen! What’s the alternative? Sin and righteousness cannot live side by side, for you will love the one and hate the other, or vice versa. Lines have been drawn, and voices have been heard. Division is hard to fathom, but it may be the only way forward. The only other way forward is to discipline those who blatantly disregard scripture and the discipline in matters pertaining to sexual misconduct, and to permanently disband them from ordained ministry.

  10. If the governing body bows down to the LGBT community the eventual outcome will be the end of the United Methodist Church as we know it. Homosexuals are a minority in our churches, why then do they have such a large influence?
    What exactly is Rule # 44?
    Do you as a Born Again Christian have the authority to change the Bible? No, No, Never,
    The UMC keeps talking about loving the LGBT, I for one love them, but I do not accept their way of life.
    Isn’t this the same as the Lord saying He will always love me, but sometimes He doesn’t love what I do.
    UMC Churches are loosing many people because of their permissive liberal agenda.
    As a Born Again United Methodist Member I cannot respect or condone pastors who participate in the Marriage of two of the same gender.
    I further state: I will and several others in the UMC will leave the church.

  11. sharon white says

    Any relation ship of a union other than a man with a woman is against GOD and a sin. We all sin and if we repent and change our way of life we will be forgiven. I believe very strongly that if the church blesses the union between a same sex couple the church will be cursed bu GOD. I dont think GOD will forgive the church this wrong.

  12. Charles Whatley says

    The first line says it all; these are folks who’ve already broken faith with the Bible making it quite easy to break faith with the church. Rather than trying to change anything, they plunge into rebellion. Sin ignores the rules, in unable to change, and has no patience.

    And our bishops are like parents who cannot bring themselves to enforce the rules and discipline the rule-breakers… It is a recipe for future tragedy!

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