Saturday, October 22, 2011

Methodist Clergy Buck Bible, Church - Science Also

Over a hundred New York (& Connecticut) Conference United Methodist pastors have signed a document proclaiming that they will perform same-sex "marriages" in defiance of the denomination's Book of Discipline, and are making statements concerning homosexuality that contradict not only the Bible, but even contradict medical science by claiming existence of a "gay gene."
". . . the church's stand against same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy is 'out of step' and 'behind the times in its thinking.'"
-- Rev. Vicky A. Fleming, Bethel United Methodist Church of Bethel, Connecticut
For background, read Renegade Methodist Clergy for Same-sex 'Marriage' and also read Methodists Ignore Own Rules re: Lesbian Pastor as well as Baby Jesus with Two Lesbians: Methodist Nativity

-- From "Methodist Ministers Pledge to Perform Gay Marriage Despite Ban" by Lindsay Christ and Rashed Mian, Long Island Press 10/16/11

The We do! Methodists Living Marriage Equality project consists of 161 clergy members, 703 lay people and six congregations representing 67 United Methodist congregations who will risk their standing and jobs with the church by announcing their support for equal rights for the LGBT community.

One of the pastors involved is Rev. Jeff Wells of the Community United Methodist Church in Massapequa.

The pastor first heard about the movement last spring, and signed on over the summer. While signing the pledge won’t get him in trouble, if he performs a gay wedding charges could be brought against him. These charges could lead to a trial and ultimately get Wells’ clergy orders taken away.

The General Conference of the United Methodist Church, where the rules that govern the denomination are set, will meet in April 2012. Wells said that the bishops are aware that the movement has been going on . . .

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Area United Methodist clergy pledge to perform same-sex marriage" by Nanci G. Hutson, Staff Writer, Danbury News Times 10/21/11

These clergy, and their like-minded colleagues across the country, recognize this is a controversial stand, one that has divided congregations. Pastors who defy church law can jeopardize their ordination.

The ministers, however, say the issue is at the heart of their faith.

Sexual orientation is part of an individual's born identity, and to condemn that would suggest "God made a mistake, and that's not what we're about," Fleming said.

The Rev. Charles Ferrara of New Life Community Church United Methodist in New Fairfield signed another pledge, an open letter to the national United Methodist Council of Bishops from 113 pastors across the country who oppose same-sex marriage.

Area ministers said the discipline that might be enforced against pastors willing to perform same-sex marriages is likely to differ geographically. The East Coast and West Coast tend to have more liberal views on human rights issues and are less likely to punish a pastor who disagrees with the discipline.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Group of Methodist Ministers Succumb to Gay Agenda!" by John Shore, Huffington Post 10/20/11

So I set up the interview [with Rev. Sara Lamar-Sterling, First & Summerfield United Methodist Church of New Haven, Connecticut].

"Are you scared you might lose your job for doing this?" I asked . . .

"No, not really," she said cheerily. "There are many steps that would have to happen in order for any of us to actually lose our positions within the church."

"But it could happen, right?" I asked . . .

"It's in the realm of possibilities, yes. But it's not anything I'm afraid of. In any account, the much bigger picture, for we who have come out in favor of marriage equality, is the fact that gay and lesbian people are excluded and discriminated against every single day of their lives. That's what really matters here. They're the ones really bearing a risk out in the world. Compared to theirs, our daily risk is much smaller."

"Have you been having to put all this together in secret?" I asked . . .

"No, not in secret," said Rev. Lamar-Sterling disappointingly. "We've been openly working on this for years. And we have our website, which is our main communication tool. We've always been very open about talking about this, and sharing our purposes and goals, and collecting signatures and so on. It's all been very aboveboard. A great many people within the Methodist church believe in marriage equality, and so we've just been honored to facilitate and advance that conversation. And through initiatives like 'We do!' we look forward to doing a great deal more of this in the future."

"How did your church take this radical move on your part?" I asked her. . . .

"They love it," she said. "They're a reconciling congregation, so they've been very excited about the whole project. In fact, I actually had to slow them down a bit. I had to explain to them how this is a process, how we needed to work within the larger body of the New York Annual Conference, to bring everyone along at the same time. But they've been absolutely supportive of this every step of the way."

"The same sort of thing we're doing here in the NYAC is currently going on in 11 other Methodiest conferences," she said.

"Ultimately, I and others who believe in the sanctity of marriage equality would like the language of 'The Book of Discipline' to be changed to reflect full affirmation of gay and lesbian equality. But will those changes be made in 2012? They very well might. But either way, it will ultimately happen. I'm confident that Christ will guide the United Methodist Church to become the welcoming, just and reconciling church it was meant to be."

To read the entire opinion column above, CLICK HERE.

Also read African Methodists Vote to Keep United Methodist Church on 'Straight and Narrow'