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Statement from the Bishops

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Council of Bishops president Rosemarie Wenner tells dozens of demonstrators for full inclusion of gays and lesbians in The United Methodist Church that the denomination's bishops feel their pain. Several dozen demonstrators took over the plenary floor of the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Fla., on May 3 after the body reaffirmed the church's stance on homosexuality. A UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey.

Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, President of the Council of Bishops, offered a pastoral statement from the Bishops as the Thursday afternoon session reconvened. (audio recorded from the floor of the Conference)

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  1. Wanda Altman

    I am relieved that the GC has upheld the language of our existing doctrine. It will be sad if some people feel the need to leave the UMC and join with other denominations. However, it would be an even greater sadness to see our denomination fractured completely if we were to cave in to the ‘itching ears’ of those who want us to say only what they want to hear.

  2. newpastor

    I’m saddened to hear pastorsmate talk about “true scholarship.” True scholarship acknowledges that faithful and learned interpreters of the Holy Scripture have differing understandings of Holy Scripture. Walter Wink’s scholarship is not “true scholarship?” Jimmy Creech (Adam’s Gift) is not true scholarship? Even Richard B. Hays (The Moral Vision of the New Testament) says “For example, if homosexuality should be judged on the basis of empirical factors to be a ‘natural’ part of the created order, this principle could be used to argue strongly in favor of its acceptance within the church.” pg. 395.

    1. Steve

      And therefore, if Pedophlia or Beastiality or promiscuity, or use of pornography are determined to be genetic, and part of the “natural” part of the created order, would you support it’s acceptance, as well? I don’t know that Jesus said much about some of those things, either. Where, exactly, does it end?
      What is the next aggreived group to come, asking NOT that they be included and loved, but that their SIN be allowed and included?

      And just as the lgbt group comes to GC, perhaps we need a large group of FAITHFUL men and women to come to show support for the existing BOD and provide balance in Portland in 4 years. Perhaps I’ll put it that on my calendar.

  3. newpastor

    Steve, I am sorry that you would compare pedophiles to those LGBT persons who are providing faithful witness and service as members of the UMC. Fear for some imagined future pervades your response. I would commend you to read Wink, and Jimmy Creech, and Richard Hays (who actuallly concludes against LGBT folks) and consider it. Get to know some of these folks. I have not always held the position I now hold, but prayer, reading exegesis by these folks, and experiencing first hand the painful jounrey of a gay young man I’ve known since he was born 20 years ago, made me realize my previous position was based on fear and unwillingness to listen to the winds of the Holy Spirit. Perfect love casts out fear. May God bless you.

  4. Christi

    When my husband and I left for him to attend seminary in 2005 (second career) I had a talk with our pastor regarding just this topic. I told her that I wasn’t sure where I stood. That I had not had much in the way of any personal interactions with those in the LGBT community. I was worried that as the spouse of a pastor I would be asked what I thought and I didn’t want to harm my husbands ministry. Her recommendation was to pray and study and if in a tense situation I could always fall back to the BoD.
    Well God does work in wild ways. Within the first two weeks at seminary God placed three LGBT students (one Presbyterian, one Baptist, and one Methodist) into my life. Figured God had heard my prayers and was going to give me some real life experience. Over the next 3 years I attended worship services that these friends led. I got to know them and their stories. I remember in one particular service crying as I watched my Presbyterian friend preach-there was no doubt that the Holy Spirit was in the room and that this woman was called by God to ordained ministry. Why did I cry? Because at that time I also knew that this woman who came from many generations of Presbyterians would not be ordained in the denomination that she loved and that meant so much to her. As I cried this week for my Methodist friend that she too would have to wait on the side lines or go to another denomination.

    I am just a human being with a tiny small brain, who loves a God that is so big and so amazing. I just can’t believe that God would call these people to ministry, and I have no doubt they are called, and not fulfill that call. When I look at it through the lens of the Weslyan quadralateral of scripture, tradition, reason and experience welcoming our LGBT brothers and sisters fully into the church just seems like the God thing to do.

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