Why Little Will Change At the UMC General Conference

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May 182016

As some of you may know, the United Methodist Church is holding their quadrennial General Conference in Portland, Oregon this week. As has been the case for the past several General Conference’s (GC), a major topic is the  full inclusion of LGBT people (or as the conservatives call us, “the self-avowed practicing homosexuals”) in the life of the church. My prediction is that little will change in regard to those issues.

There are several things at issue. One is some hateful language in the United Methodist Book of Discipline (BoD) which says that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. The others are the ordination of openly gay clergy, and of course; marriage is a topic, but not at the top of the list.

If anything changes in regard to these issues, it will be for the worse, and we’ve seen some of that already with the election of all conservative members to the Church’s Judicial Council, or the UMC Supreme Court if you will. Continue reading »

An Open Letter to the UMC General Conference Commission

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May 132015
Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe

It seems the Commission on the General Conference for the United Methodist Church, meeting last month, decided to hold the first quadrennial General Conferences outside the United States . The original choice had the GC going to Zimbabwe in 2024, and the Philippines in 2028. Fortunately, an ever-present advocate for LGBT people within the Church was there, and raised a few concerns, including the fact that Amnesty International has declared Zimbabwe one of the most dangerous countries for LGBT people. The years were switched.

Needless to say, I’m not happy, and am writing the Commission members to let them know. I can only believe this is an attempt to create such cost and hardship for the many constituent groups that attend the GC, that many won’t attend. There was some discussion this year to try to hold the General Conference behind locked doors, and indeed, a number of committee and commission meetings have been held in this way. Since that didn’t go over so well, I think this move is designed to effect the same result.

My letter is below: Continue reading »