following letter was originally posted on the website of
Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns on
November 17, 2012. It is used by unanimous permission of the Council of
Affirmation: United Methodists.
Click here for background (provided by the United Methodist News
Service) on the events that prompted the Council's letter.
Affirmation Letter to the Council of Bishops (of The United Methodist Church)
October 18, 2012
Bishop Rosemarie Wenner
and the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church
Council of Bishops Office
100 Maryland Ave NE
Washington DC 20002
We write you as congregants of United Methodist Churches and fellow servants of the Good News of Jesus Christ. This letter is to inform you that the Council of Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns supports the Western Jurisdiction, Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, and their call for Gospel Obedience.
The Council members of Affirmation: United Methodists were present earlier this year when the General Conference meet in Tampa, Florida, U. S. A. We witnessed the voting on resolutions regarding this denomination and “homosexuals”. Those decisions left many individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, with feelings of rejection by what we still consider our church. General Conference did harm to us by causing deep pain. Once again this denomination declared “homosexuality incompatible with Christian teaching.” And so, in an organization that calls the church “a community of all true believers under the Lordship of Christ,” we were told that as believers, we don’t exist. We may be members, but we have no voice in this church.
Yet, during that time, we also witnessed Bishop Talbert's clarion call for Gospel Obedience. In the midst of our despair, his was a voice reminding us that the words in the Scriptures and in The Book of Discipline, declare ALL people to be beloved Children of God.
For this is a church which “affirms 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.”
We read in the Gospels, that after healing the centurion’s male companion, Jesus complimented him and said, “not even in Israel have I found such faith.” Jesus could well have been referring to the members, volunteers, staff, and clergy of The United Methodist Church who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. It has never been, nor will it ever be, the position of Affirmation: United Methodists that persons who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer should withdraw from United Methodism. We are a part of this church. We seek to assist the church grow into being the Church of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Talbert's call for Gospel Obedience is in the spirit of the celebration of the good gift of sexuality that is in The Book of Discipline. We strongly urge you not to censure him for speaking this word of God and of the Church.
Yours in Christian Love,
Walter C. Lockhart IV
As an independent voice of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people, Affirmation: United Methodists radically reclaims the compassionate and transforming gospel of Jesus Christ by relentlessly pursuing full inclusion in the Church as we journey with the Spirit in creating God’s beloved community.
Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns is an activist, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization with no official ties to The United Methodist Church.