The Reconciling Ministries Network, with support from MFSA and others, has worked for months to develop a petition and Resolution to be approved by the Southwest Texas Annual Conference that calls on the UMC General Conference (2012) to amend the Constitution of the United Methodist Church. Many of you may have signed a copy of the petition. The Resolution was sponsored by the Conference Board of Church and Society, and formally presented to the Annual Conference by Rev. Cynthia Kepler-Karrer (Chair of CBCS) on Saturday, June 11.
The Resolution seeks to expand the list of people not to be discriminated against as stated in Paragraph 4, Article IV of Division 1 of the United Methodist Constitution to include those people who have traditionally excluded from membership and full participation in the church. Specifically, the Resolution would add “sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression” to the listing of those not to be excluded.
The Resolution was presented by Rev. Kepler, and after an hour of parliamentary wrangling and discussion, the Resolution WAS PASSED by the SWT Annual Conference! The vote was 384 “for” to 325 “against”. Special thanks to Ann Teich of First UMC Austin’s RMN team for heading up the effort to circulate this petition and resolution, and to Rev. Kepler-Karrer and the Conference Board of Church and Society for their courage in taking the Resolution forward.
July 22, 2011 at 5:14 pm
Why was a so-called Christian denomination discriminating against any person for any reason in the first place?
Perhaps sexual orientation should exclude an individual from a pastor or bishop position, but certainly not from full membership or serving on some committee. We’ve had a “don’t ask and don’t tell ” sexual orientation policy in the Methodist church for years. This goes from a gay Bishop I knew in Houston to members of the Southwest Conference that are dedicated church workers.
A Christian denomination is not a college sorority or fraternity selecting who may or may not be “chosen.” Who gave us the right or power to hand out the “black beans?” We, as Methodist, should not presume to make the selection or final judgement on entrance to Heaven or who is worthy to enter our Methodist doors and to what degree an individual might participate. That is God’s job and He is doing a Divine job without the obstruction of overhead and bureaucratic rules constructed by the Methodist church. As a denomination, we might ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” Our job is to win souls and not turn any individuals heart or soul into stone.