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Alabama UM Church And Pastor To Teach And Promote "Biblical Homosexuality"


A press release from The Church of the Reconciler This is a re-send which should show the paragraph breaks.


Birmingham, AL: The Church of the Reconciler, a multicultural, multiracial United Methodist congregation, is sponsoring a weekend workshop, Claiming the Promise: An Ecumenical Welcoming Bible Study Resource on Homosexuality, January 26-28, 2001. The public is invited.

"We celebrate a God who shows no partiality, as proclaimed in Acts 10:34. We have experienced the great love of God for all people, and we want to help share that love with everyone in our community," says the Rev. Lawton Higgs, Sr., pastor of Church of the Reconciler.

The workshop will be held at Church of the Reconciler, on the corner of 4th Avenue North and 18th Street in downtown Birmingham. It will begin at 6 p.m. Friday with a common meal, introductory session, and worship, continue Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and conclude on Sunday morning with worship at 9:30 a.m. and final discussion at 11:00.

The registration fee is determined by each registrant on a sliding scale. For those who can afford it, $25 covers the cost of food and materials. (Fees cover Friday supper, Saturday lunch, and a study guide.) Those with no income are welcome to register at no cost.

"Anyone who is willing to discuss this issue with an open mind, study the Bible with an open heart, and respond to God's call with open hands is welcome," explains Marti Slay, chairperson of the Board of Stewards at Church of the Reconciler. "We will eat, worship, and sing together during the weekend as we study and discuss this contemporary, challenging issue. It is our hope that we will develop a new understanding of each other in an atmosphere of love and respect for all God's children."

The workshop sessions will include Bible study, worship, and discussion. Participants will be asked to sign a covenant to avoid putting each other down as unchristian and to avoid acting in ways that assume that we are more faithful or moral than others. In addition, participants agree to keep confidential any personal comments that are made during the discussions.

The workshop will be led by the Rev. T. Kevin Higgs, a United Methodist pastor of a local church and director of the Western Hills Parish. Higgs has been an advocate for the inclusiveness of gay and lesbian people in the life of the church since his participation of as a member of the United Methodist Committee to Study Homosexuality Report given at the General Conference in 1992. Resource speakers will also include leadership from other denominations who advocate inclusiveness, including clergy, both gay and lesbian, who are active in Birmingham area churches.

Claiming the Promise is promoted as a resource for people searching for a deeper understanding of the biblical references to same-sex conduct and those seeking to put those biblical references into the context of the Christian gospel.

The study examines Old and New Testament references or allusions to same-sex conduct. "These biblical references are explored within the larger context of what it means to be Christians claiming God's promise that all persons are heirs of God," concludes Higgs.

--- The Church of the Reconciler P.O. Box 10931, Birmingham, AL 35202 | 205-324-6402 Sunday Service: 9:30 AM Worship Location: 316/318 18th Street North, Downtown Birmingham, AL

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