Inclusivity in the UMC: Pathway to Divorce or Reconciliation?
The United Methodist Church has been embroiled in a struggle over the issue of inclusion/equality/ homosexuality for 40 years now. Many have threatened to leave the church, or they have hoped that those on the other side would leave. What would that look like? But what are other options? What if we agree to have both sides of the question as a part of our denomination? What would that look like? Would it become a “local option” and vary around the country? Could we then move on to greater issues of concern to the Christian community?
Join MFSA in an exciting conversation about the future of the United Methodist Church. Reverend Sid Hall from Trinity UMC and MFSA member Reverend Richard Bates will lead us in this thoughtful discussion. The meeting will be in Saint John’s UMC Fellowship Hall. We will gather at 6:30pm for snacks and mingling. The program begins at 7:00. We hope to see you there!
Rev. Dr. Sidney G. Hall, III is a United Methodist minister, a writer, an activist, a husband, a father, and a grandfather. He has served as the senior minister of Trinity United Methodist Church located in the Hyde Park Neighborhood of Austin, Texas since June 1988. Trinity voted to be a Reconciling Congregation (Welcoming of the LGBTQ community) in 1992 and continues in that public witness. Rev. Hall was one of the original 15 signers of “In All Things Charity” in January of 1997 calling the United Methodist Church into full inclusion for sexual minorities. He was arrested with other activists at the United Methodist General Conference in Cleveland in 2000 for protesting the church’s exclusive policies. A native of Kokomo, Indiana, Hall has served United Methodist congregations in Indiana and Texas since 1978 and has been elected to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences Delegation from Southwest Texas for three quadrennials. Read more about Rev. Hall at http://ucanbu.wordpress.com/staff/rev-dr-sid-hall-iii-minister-of-celebration/.
Rev. Richard Bates is a retired United Methodist minister, a member of University UMC, and a long-time supporter of MFSA. He attended Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University, and he has served as Associate Pastor of UM churches in Del Rio, San Antonio, and Seguin. Rev. Bates took a five year Sabbatical to the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco (founded by United Methodist ministers). Upon graduation, he returned to the SWT Conference to start a private practice (appointment beyond the local church) in the area of Human Sexuality, and to work with the City of Austin as an HIV Counselor. He is now retired and is active at UUMC, currently serving as Chairperson of the Church and Society Council.