Chapter Meeting in February Features Rolando Perez

Rolando-PerezThe Rio Texas Chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action will continue its focus on Racism/White Privilege at its meeting on Thursday, February 11 at Saint John’s UMC, 2140  Allandale Road.  Our speaker will be Rolando Perez, a local civil rights worker and member of Trinity Church.  Rolando’s talk is entitled Identity, Power and Privilege: Perspectives on Racism.  Come, listen, ask, discuss, and learn more about this urgent justice issue in our community and around the country.

Snacks and mingling begin at 6:30pm, followed by the program at 7:00.  Bring friends of any (or no) faith tradition.  We hope to see you there!

Documentary Screening – An Act Of Love

Saint John’s UMC

5:30 p.m. Sunday February 21act of love_Poster_3000_URL_RGB

Free admission

Join us for the screening of An Act of Love, a documentary about the trial that rocked the United Methodist Church and the minister, Rev. Frank Schaefer, who risked it all for his son. Cosponsored by: Saint John’s Reconciling Team, Rio Texas MFSA, and Rio Texas Reconciling Ministries Team.

 Why this film is important now

We now have marriage equality in all 50 States, but the U.S.’s 2nd largest protestant denomination is still sharply divided on this issue.

Full equality for the LGBTQ community cannot exist in the U.S. without the support of the Christian community. Laws may be passed that provide more rights and protections, but those rights will be routinely ignored in places where the community does not agree that LGBTQ citizens should be treated as equals under the law and under God. Just as the struggle for racial and gender equality made huge strides forward once they gained the support of influential religious communities – so will the LGBTQ movement.

We hope that this film will be a strategic and important tool used to elevate the conversation about LGBTQ rights in one of the most significant Christian denominations in the U.S. – the United Methodist Church.

In May 2016, at the denomination’s General Conference, there will be another chance for the rules of the UMC to change and allow for ordination of LGBTQ clergy and for same-sex marriage within the Church. We created this film with this critical turning point in mind.”

Matthew Vines to Speak

mattvines_aboutFriday, Feb. 5th

University Christian Church

Labyrinth Progressive Student Ministry, TX Freedom Network (UT Chapter), and University UMC Campus Ministry will host a free keynote lecture by Matthew Vines, LGBTQ+ activist and author of, “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same Sex Relationships.”  The lecture will be held at University Christian Church (2007 University Avenue) on February 5, 2016 at 7:30pm.  All are welcome!  No RSVP necessary.

University UMC’s 5th Anniversary as a Reconciling Congregation

reconciling-ministry-screen-2016

Please join UUMC on February 7th as we celebrate 5 years of being a Reconciling congregation.  We have invited former Youth Director and Justice Associate, M Barclay, to be our guest preacher for the day.  M will be preaching at both the 8:30am and 11am services.  M now works for the Reconciling Ministries Network as their Director of Communication. During the Sunday School hour, all are invited to the Fellowship Hall as M engages us in dialogue around RMN’s efforts and plan for General Conference 2016.  On February 7th the congregation will also have the opportunity to become an Individual Reconciling Member.  This gives the Reconciling Ministries Network a better idea of how many individual supporters there are as opposed to church groups.  If you would like to register to be a Reconciling Individual today follow  this link!

Getting Ready for General Conference

United Methodists Gather in Portland for General Conference Briefing

From Reconciling Ministries Network Flashnet (1/26/2016)

In January, nearly 400 delegates, agency representatives, and communicators gathered in Portland, Oregon for a briefing on General Conference legislation and practices. Alongside other important legislative conversations on fossil fuels, global restructuring, and an alternative legislative approach, discussion of policies regarding LGBTQ persons were front and center. The Commission on General Conference, which plans the legislative gathering, hopes its Group Discernment Process might provide a template for dealing with other contentious issues in the life of the church.

On Friday, January 22nd, the gathered heard a panel on “Conversation about Topics Related to Human Sexuality.”  Dr. Dorothee Benz, representative of MIND in NY, opened by reminding those listening that a more apt title for the panel would be “Whether and how The UMC will continue discriminate against LGBTQ people.” The diverse panelists were given the opportunity to share their convictions, answer questions, and respond to one another.

Dr. Benz was a courageous presence on the panel as the only queer voice. She used the opportunity not only to share about her own call to ministry being denied in the church, but to also lift of up the stories of LGBTQ asylum seekers facing violence in their home countries and youth struggling with suicide because of church teachings. Benz was also able to articulate a precise and compelling explanation of why acts of Biblical Obedience are the most authentic way forward for those who are invested in justice for LGBTQ persons in The United Methodist Church.

The full panel is now available for viewing here. We invite you to tune-in to this important conversation and then visit our website to tell your delegates to let them know your own conviction, story, and response.

Successful panels are important for expanding education and building relationship, but after over forty years dialogue and discrimination, #ItsTime for change.

http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=38f2eb8a4757127e09ba18224&id=c86dfea480&e=ea209fd75b

General Conference 2016 News: http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/general-conference-2016-news

Love Your Neighbor Coalition

The Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC) has released an Epiphany statement, “An Open Letter to the African Bishops of The United Methodist Church”, in response to the Africa College of Bishop’s “A Statement on the state of global UMC and our common world”. You can read LYNC’s response here: http://bit.ly/1PDzNhg

Resources on Homosexuality and the Church

To learn more about the controversy around the church policy regarding homosexuality, watch:

PBS documentary, Dividing the United Methodist (2014) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnRVhB2tYS8

Gay Marriage: The Battle For The Methodist Church’s Soul (2012) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeeBBcMh-UA

We have not drawn swords. by Sue Laurie (1/26/2016) http://www.rmnetwork.org/newrmn/we-have-not-drawn-swords/

Advance Daily Christian Advocate (including legislative petitions)

Everything you want to know and more about General Conference 2016 in this 1488 page document posted at:  http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/gc2016-advance-edition-daily-christian-advocate. There were 999 petitions about sexuality submitted, but they have been combined in the following way.

Human Sexuality – page 305 Daily Christian Advocate

Amend the Book of Discipline, 2012 ¶ 161.F Human Sexuality as follows:

BOD 2012 ¶ 161.F Human Sexuality—We affirm that sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons. We call everyone to responsible stewardship of this sacred gift. Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage. We deplore all forms of the commercialization, abuse, and exploitation of sex. We call for strict global enforcement of laws prohibiting the sexual exploitation of children and for adequate protection, guidance, and counseling for abused children. All persons, regardless of age, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation, or gender identity are entitled to have their human and civil rights ensured and to be protected against violence. The Church should support the family in providing age-appropriate education regarding sexuality to children, youth, and adults. We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God. All persons need the ministry of the Church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self. The United Methodist church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers his practice incompatible with Christian teaching. Though faithful United Methodists remain in disagreement regarding our understanding of homosexuality, We we affirm that God’s grace is available to all.  We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving, and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us. We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.

Rationale:

Disagreements on human sexuality among United Methodists will continue as discussions continue. Removal of this inflammatory language will help facilitate removal of animus during holy conferencing and acknowledge that we “agree to disagree.” The current statement no longer reflects the beliefs of all United Methodists.

Since adoption of the current ¶161.F. [For Group Discernment Process (p. 1187)] Petition Number: 60825-CB-¶161.F-G; Cramer, Phil -Nashville, TN, USA for Belmont UMC. 999 Similar Petitions

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