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