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AMARITES Vote "No" For Waiting Four More Years To Reform "Heterosexist" UMs

From: "U.M. Cornet" <umcornet@hotmail.com>

AMAR - Affirmation, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Reconciling Congregation Program and In All Things Charity

For Immediate Release February 28, 2000

AMAR Coalition Responds: "Proposal To Do Nothing at General Conference is Not Acceptable"

Chicago, IL (AMAR) -- A coalition of activist leaders of UM-related organizations reacted strongly to anticipated attempts to sidestep any discussion or legislative action at the 2000 General Conference regarding homosexuality. The proposal to do nothing is not an acceptable option - it continues the hurtful and abusive use of current UMC policies against Lesbian and Gay persons and those who are in ministry with them. Yes, heterosexism is a difficult issue - but, it is the historical responsibility of the church to face and respond to difficult issues like racism, sexism and heterosexism. The United Methodist Church cannot continue "business as usual" while ignoring the reality that the UMC Discipline currently perpetuates exclusion of and discrimination against Gay and Lesbian people.

Meeting in Chicago to finalize shared preparations for the May 2 to 12 United Methodist General Conference, the AMAR Coalition reviewed a range of efforts to witness to and communicate with General Conference delegates. AMAR is the coalition of Affirmation (United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Concerns), Methodist Federation for Social Action, and Reconciling Congregation Program, staffed by In All Things Charity. This coalition was formed to address issues of the heterosexism and the exclusionary policies and practices of the United Methodist Church.

Leaders of the AMAR Coalition have been participants in recent regional discussions which alluded to tabling all legislation at General Conference related to homosexuality. Some United Methodists may view this as expedient, but United Methodists who have actually been in advocacy and ministry with Lesbian and Gay persons see it is hurtful and non-responsive. This is a justice issue that demands attention. The denomination is sending a message to persons both inside and outside the church that says "The United Methodist Church does not care enough about Gay and Lesbian people to bring them into conversation or have conversation about them." A lack of discussion or action is a painful silence. We do not see this as a caring or informed option.

For additional information contact the AMAR Coalition c/o In All Things Charity - ATTN: The Rev Gregory Dell, 3344 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657. Phone 773-935-9354, Fax 773- 327-8477, Email PadiPilot@aol.com.

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