Update: Please join us on Tuesday, April 23 at Pacific School of Religion as Rev. Israel Alvaran of Reconciling Ministries Network speaks on “Moving Forward: LGBTQ People in the United Methodist Church.”
CLGS grieves with our United Methodist kin following the General Conference’s decision to strengthen its anti-LGBTQ stance this week. This action would continue to ban LGBTQ clergy from serving openly and deny all clergy the right to bless same-gender weddings. It sadly restricts people of faith within the Methodist communion from following their God-given vocations, their own voices of conscience, and their commitment to a faith that welcomes all.
We recognize the deep pain that this action has caused LGBTQ people, our families, and allies. The Christian scriptures tell us, “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members share its joy.” (I Corinthians 12:26) The injustice and exclusion experienced within the United Methodist church this week causes suffering to all of us and is contrary to Christian values. Our hearts are breaking as we read the testimonies of those who were present in St. Louis or following the conference from afar. To those who feel unseen, unheard, unloved, and invalidated by this action, we hear your cries of pain and are in solidarity with you. At the same time, we celebrate what a tremendous gift you are to the church and to the world. We affirm that you are deeply beloved by God and by your community. We honor your commitment to your church and your religious heritage.
At CLGS a significant part of our work is the preservation and celebration of LGBTQ religious history. Our archives bear testimony to the staggering human toll that these “debates” on issues of sexuality have taken over the years within Protestant denominations. So many have been hurt by churches that ignore the realities of human sexuality and gender. Fortunately, many religious traditions now embrace LGBTQ persons and our families, and we had hoped that the United Methodist Church would join with other communities of faith in welcoming and affirming all that LGBTQ people and our families bring to the world. That day has not yet come but we have faith that it will.
CLGS is deeply committed to our mission to promote public discourse on faith and LGBTQ issues. This week’s actions clearly reveal the ongoing need to educate our communities and strive for more informed and compassionate discourse on sexuality and gender. Let us continue to work together to build God’s beloved community in which people of all sexual orientations and gender identities gather in faith, affirmation, love, and hope.