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Commentary


When Are UMC Bishops Going To Come Clean?


News and Comment
Mike Evans

February 17, 2006

First the News

The following is one of several announcements that appeared on The Reconciling Ministries Network "Flashnet" on February 16, 2006.  These e-newsletters of the RMN are later archived at http://www.rmnetwork.org/flashnet/.  

1. CREATING SAFE PLACES-NEBRASKA, FEB 19

* Reconciling United Methodists in mid-Nebraska (heartland folks!)
YOU ARE INVITED TO JOIN US Feb 19 Reconciling United Methodists Gathering "Creating SAFE PLACES in our Churches"

If you wish to find out more about Reconciling Ministries Network, if you hope to create SAFE PLACES in our churches and communities for all persons-- gay or straight, if you are called to WELCOME and AFFIRM others, or if you want to enjoy OPEN HEARTS, OPEN MINDS, OPEN DOORS, then you are INVITED to join us Sunday, February 19, at 3:00 PM, Trinity UMC, Grand Island, Nebraska.

If you are wanting to share "radical hospitality" as Disciples of Jesus Christ, as our Bishop is challenging us to do, or if you are wanting to find out how to become a "Reconciling United Methodist" or if you are just wanting to meet other people who want a fully inclusive UMC, come join us February 19 at Trinity UMC, Grand Island!

We will meet Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at Trinity UMC, Grand Island, 5th and Elm, at 3:00 PM in the Gathering Place.

We are calling this a COMING TOGETHER with information and sharing to start a reconciling support group in the heartland.

Bring a finger food to share!

For more information email Maureen Vetter at mvetter@charter.net
You are invited to COME JOIN US!!

Now for the Comment

In fairness to Bishop Sherer, I have written her via e-mail to ask if this event has her endorsement and if not would she be asking the RMN to retract this statement implying her endorsement.  Unfortunately, I have since found out that Bishop Sherer is attending the World Council of Churches in Brazil and will not be able to reply for at least two weeks.

Such announcements bring up the issue of endorsements by bishops for such events.  Sometimes it is difficult to ascertain whether a bishop really does endorse an event publicly, privately behind the scenes or not at all.  This is nothing new.  Back in 1993 with the "Re-Imagining Conference" supporters were claiming to have the endorsements of bishops yet no bishops were ever named.  Even as of 2005 when a debate took place between leaders of the Women's Division and the leaders of Renewal (The Good News women's division) the Women's Division of the UMC were still claiming episcopal support for that event without naming any bishop in particular.

If bishops are going to support such events as they sometimes do (see examples of Carcano and Minnick at http://www.gbgm-umc.org/cedargroveofsunshine/umbishopwatch.htm) they need to do so clearly.  If they are not endorsing these events retractions should be demanded or statements clarifying the bishop's position should be issued.  As for this event, it will go by with Bishop Sherer's implied endorsement.  If the endorsement is real it flies in the face of the "incompatibility" wording of The BoD towards homosexuality.  If the endorsement is not actual then an episcopal office has been used unwittingly.
 

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