Passed: A Statement of Gospel Obedience

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Bishop Robert Hoshibata (right) presiding over the final plenary session of the 2012 Western Jurisdictional Conference. Photo by Patrick Scriven.

The following petition was passed by the body by an overwhelming majority.

A Statement of Gospel Obedience

In response to our common belief that God’s grace and love is available to all persons, the Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church states our belief that the United Methodist Church is in error on the subject of “homosexuality’s incompatibility with Christian teaching.”

We commend to our bishops, clergy, local churches and ministry settings, the challenge to operate as if the statement in Para. 161F does not exist, creating a church where all people are truly welcome.

The secretary of the Western Jurisdictional Conference will submit this statement of Gospel Obedience to the Jurisdictional College of Bishops, each Annual Conference, and chairpersons of Boards of Ordained Ministry for discussion and implementation.

Presenter: Krista McVey, California-Pacific Annual Conference

From: Methodist Federation For Social Action

Subject: Gospel obedience

Petitioners: Krista McVey and thirteen others, including delegates April Hall Cutting, Oregon-Idaho, and Piula Ala’ilima, California-Pacific

Supporting Committee members:

Delegates:
* Krista McVey; Piula Alai’lima, Cal-Pac; April Hall Cutting, Or-Id

Supporters:

John Woodall, Cal-Pac; Diane Rehfield, Cal-Pac; Rosemary Davis, Cal-Pac; Rebecca Tice, RM; Sharon Bowles, Cal-Pac; Phil Bowles, Cal-Pac; * Jeanne Knepper, OI; Winifred Keefer, DSW; Nancy Goyings, Cal-Pac; Randa D’Aoust, Cal-Pac;
Fran Materra, Cal-Pac

Additional committee members:
Joe Ange, RM; Jeanne Audrey Powers, MN; James Dwyer, IN

 

40 COMMENTS

  1. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Thanks for the courageous leadership.

    jim, a signer of the Iowa AC’s “Covenant of Conscience” see “donoharmiowa.org”

  2. Whooppeeee! I thank God for all you visionary prophets of justice. May that same gracious Spirit blow South and East.

    • AMEN, especially to Laurie Hays COFFMAN. Waiting not so patiently for that spirit to blow East, at which point I may actually re-join the UMC.

  3. well said. well done, my brothers and sisters in christ!
    on behalf of the lesbian and gay members of our extended family we say thank you and god bless.

    xxoo

  4. God Bless our Reconciling Western Jurisdictional Conference!!!!!!!!!!!! I believe God has always said YES to our GLBTQ brothers and sisters! At last we are not afraid to say YES as well. Amen.

  5. I know it’s not as much progress as many of us would have liked, but I am proud of, and thank God for, those of you that took this stand. Thank you for speaking for those of us that feel the same way.

  6. Proud of my heritage in the Oregon-Idaho Conference and standing in prayerful solidarity with you all!
    Rev. Linda A. Richard Clergy Member Elder in full connection of the Illinois Great Rivers Annual conference. Received my Deacons Orders and Probationary Member Status from Oregon-Idaho in 1981. “Home Church” Hagerman, Idaho United Methodist Church.

  7. This is a prophetic and transformative moment in UMC history! It was so excitiing to be in the room. The power of the Holy Spirit was palpable!

  8. Thank you, my brother and sisters in Christ, for this stand of conscience and obediance to the message of love and inclusion in Christ’s teachings. May the Spirit blow through the whole church.

  9. On behalf of the “remnant” congregation of Crescent Heights United Methodist Church of West Hollywood – Thanks Krista, MFSA, and all the WJ Delegates that supported this resolution. Now it’s on to the Annual Conferences.

  10. This action definitely restores my faith in the UMC, at least the WJ of the UMC. I grew up always believing that the Methodist Church would get it right on the issue of gay people being included in the church, now at long last, the WJ got it right. I am oh so proud!! This makes it much easier to go back to church, at least for me.

  11. I believe the New Testament is very clear about how God views homosexuality and the Book of Discipline statement that “it is incompatible with Christian teaching” upholds the following scripture. from the book of Romans, chap. 1:24-29
    24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
    26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,…”
    Gay people have every right to attend church and also the right to hear the truth of the gospel preached in love.

    • You mean THAT’S in the Bible?!? Oh my, I never knew that was actually a passage in the scriptures! Well, how on earth did all these good United Methodists just miss that passage??? Now that I know that’s in there I’m going to stop being gay!!!

      I hope that sounded silly to you. I wish conservatives would do a little more than quote scripture passages that everyone has already heard a billion times over and expecting it to be a huge surprise “gotcha” that somehow changes the conversation on homosexuality and the church because it’s really just not helpful.

  12. The prophetic ministry lives! Thank you, Bishop Hoshibata; and Jeannie Knepper, and Alice, and David, and many dedicated others for showing up and stating, and staying, and daring. Your gifts and presence are a blessing to us all.

    • The United Methodist Church broke the covenant made with me at baptism a long time ago when it decided I was not of the same worth and value as my straight sisters and brothers.

  13. Thanks to all who made this possible. I can now serve my congregation with joy in my heart, knowing that our beloved members (many of whom are gay) know that they truly belong. Praise be to God!

    • carolyn, that’s a pretty subjective basis for a covenant. The covenant you are a part of is concrete. You promised to uphold and defend the doctrines and Discipline of the church. We all voluntarily bound ourselves to that covenant. It is based on trust. When you disagree with the covenant, you try to change it. If that change does not happen, integrity would have you either to abide by a covenant with which you disagree or leave and find a new place to serve, not rebel against what you have vowed.

      • Wesley Putnam, you talk about violation of the covenant, but I would suggest that you look at who it is that has violated the covenant. I have clergy friends (many now retired) who were ordained – and thus became part of the covenant – before the language regarding homosexuality was adopted by the general conference in 1972. If I am in a covenant relationship with my fellow clergy and the fallible human beings at General Conference adopt legislation that I believe to be in error, why should I be required to relinquish my call to ministry in the historic Methodist tradition? Who is it that is really in violation of the covenant? In my understanding of covenant relationships no one changes the rules arbitrarily. We either reach a consensus or we don’t change them. Even the covenant issue is a much more complex issue than your approach recognizes.

  14. I’m glad to see us showing some collective, progressive Christian backbone in exercising ecclesiastical disobedience by being obedient to Christ’s radical and inclusive love! Praise God!

  15. As the proud mother of a gay son whose 16+ year relationship deserves the sme respect as his parents’ 57 years togetther, my heart is full that there is a movement at least in the WJ to follow the teachings of Jesus who taught us about inclusive love and acceptance of the marginalized. Thank God for prophetic action!

  16. Thanks, Western Jurisdiction and to all who worked so faithfully to make this happen. I left Tampa with pain in my heart. Through this bold and prophetic statement, my prayers have been answered.

  17. Those who believe that the WJ has broken the covenant should look at the history of the Methodist Church in America. We are still working hard to keep the UMC intact at this time. However, in the past, the Methodist Church has split over interpretations of the Bible. One notable example is the 95 year split over slavery. Those who wanted to maintain that slavery was acceptable split the denomination by forming the Methodist Church South in 1844. And it took 74 years after the end of slavery (1939) in the U.S. for the church to be one again.

    Those who believe that Christ’s consistent message and example of unconditional love is more important than a handful of verses addressed to specific congregations have tried to work through the UMC’s legal processes for almost 40 years now. It hasn’t worked.

    We continue to lose young people from the denomination. Some of the reasons most often given when they are asked why they have left the Church are that we, as Christians, are homophobic and hypocritical (we teach love but act with hate). I go through a regular debate with myself every four years about whether I can continue to support, by my presence, time, gifts and service, a church that preaches intolerance. The stance of the WJ will help keep me in the UMC for another four years.

    I am a Christian Educator with a UMC seminary degree. Education about the Bible might be one way to start to settle this issue. Bible verses out of context can be used to mean almost anything. When they are used in context, the meaning becomes much more clear.

      • Many of us in the church disagree with your assessment. I view what you are doing as a betrayal not only of ou mutual covenant, but of the Gospel. What you have set in motion is schism. I’d love to see where a denomination that has discarded orthodox Biblical faith has grown. It didn’t work for the Lutherans, Presbyterians, episcopalians, or even Metropolitan Community Church. You are living in a false reality.

        • Is there a US denomination that has clung to Biblical orthodoxy that is growing? This isn’t meant as a snarky reply but my understanding is that all of the denominations in the US are in decline regardless of theological orthodoxy. The Southern Baptists have largely bucked this trend with an aggressive church planting effort but even their growth rates are slowing.

          If we are to judge the efficaciousness of one’s theology by a corresponding increase in members, shouldn’t we all join the Church of the Latter Day Saints? The reality I’ve experience is this. I’ve seen vital and growing ‘progressive’ churches and I’ve seen vital and growing ‘conservative’ churches. They were different in many ways except for a common and passionate engagement in their community/mission field.

        • originally, I don’t like the idea of a requirement when it comes to mreembship. On the other hand, if I were to come to a new church, without any knowledge of Methodism or Christianity, and then not be challenged to find out what it was and what I could do, I may not come back.I was challenged to begin this walk many, many years ago. I have try to meet that challenge and hope that I can challenge others to begin the walk themselves. That is more along the lines of what Wesley expected (I think)

  18. Newly released data show Seventh-day Adventism growing by 2.5% in North America, a rapid clip for this part of the world, where Southern Baptists and mainline denominations, as well as other church groups are declining. Adventists are even growing 75% faster than Mormons (1.4 percent), who prioritize numeric growth. For observers outside the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the growth rate in North America is perplexing. This is a denomination that is basically going back to basics … saying, ‘What did God mean by all these rules and regulations and how can we fit in to be what God wants us to be?’,” per Daniel Shaw, an expert on Christian missionary outreach at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.

    • I read that USAToday article as well. This is another denomination that has invested heavily, as the SBC did, in starting new churches. We could learn some things but there are other things best left behind.

  19. There may be no direct correlation between our inclusiveness for all persons and numerical growth. My son’s 6 th grade teacher posted an inspirational saying that I feel fits the situation well: “What’s popular isn’t always right. What’s right isn’t always popular.” I believe the Western Jurisdiction has decided it is more important to be Right than to be Popular. May God bless all in ministry @ this prophetic time!

  20. This kind of “embracing” a scripturally inauthentic life style is what happens when the Holy Spirit leaves churches that have become apostate…….having a “form” of godliness, but denying its power.You see, when a church becomes like the world, the world has no need for a church. There no longer exists any real difference. The world sees no need for that church, because there is no need to change/repent….because the church says it’s now aceptable. Therefore, that church will die. No REAL spiritual life EQUALS death. That is precisely what is happening to the PNW Conference of the UMC. Even in the very face of spiritual death, the “blind” cannot see LIGHT. Only a true renewal/revival can bring new life to a church. You see, I am gay…….and celibate. Is that my first-aid preference?? No. But I would rather be faithful to scriptures and follow Christ, have peace and know that I have life eternal than to give in to my fleshly nature and not have have real spiritual life……LIFE that only comes from knowing Christ as your LORD and Saviour! I dont reinterpret scriptures and justify a lifestyle that I had Been actively involved with for well over 30 years. I literally have known THOUSANDS of gays and lesbians (and still have many of the same friends), and have NEVER once know anyone in true, faithful, committed, lifetime relationships. Most of what I personally have verifiably witnessed in the typical gay lifestyle over the last 30 plus years has Been filled with dishonesty, unfaithfulness, lying, heartaches, disease, dissapointment, loneliness, selfishness, unhappiness. You see, one cannnot interpret scriptures based on personal experience ( could you imagine what Christianity would look like if We approved evey “natural” desire We were “born” with??????? …Wow!).Are We going to then allow bisexuals to marry into multiple partero marriages? Or push for younger legal ages for Those that are born attatched to younger persons? Were would it end? You see, it wont if We go down the humanístic path. Once We leave God’s clear, non negotiable moral standards, and reinterpret them to fit OUR human experience, there is no end to that path. I have since stopped attending the UMC for this, and other scriptural reasons, and instead now belong to a evangelical, scripturally faithful “sister” Methodist denomination (what the UMC used to be) that warmly welcomes me for who I really am in Christ…..a person who is/will be attracted to the same sex for my life, but who is forgiven and made whole in Christ in spite of my sexual leanings. I find open support and fellowship to maintain a celibate life faithful to Christ.wow, what peace I have about that decision. I am happy to long to a denomination that preaches and LIVES the true scriptural Wesleyan gospel. I am proud to worship, live and serve along side like minded fellow believers. I know that when I place money in the offering, it goes to causes I really believe in. I have no hatred or Ill will for my fellow UMC friends, only peace and prayers that they will return to Their teológica roots and once again spread “scriptural holiness” throughout the land; begining with themselves. The Peace of Christ be with you!! Sincerely, AL

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