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Pro-Life UM Leader—Denominational Leaders Silent As Millions Of Innocents Die

Lifewatch, United Methodism’s unofficial pro-life network, held its annual worship service in Washington, DC on the 29th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade court decision that legalized abortion on demand.

Lifewatch leader Paul Stallsworth, a UM pastor, reminded United Methodists that we are “called to be saints together ” by joining with the vast majority of Christian churches across two millennia who have defended the sanctity of all human life. Lifewatch is the short name of the Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality.

The Lifewatch service was held in the chapel of the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill, across from the Supreme Court. The building is owned by and houses the UM Board of Church and Society, which routinely defends abortion on demand – even though The United Methodist Church opposes partial-birth abortion and abortions for birth control and gender selection (The Book of Discipline, par. 161J).

Several Board of Church and Society staffers, including General Secretary Jim Winkler, attended the Lifewatch ser vice. BCS employees have usually ignored the annual service, even though it is only an elevator ride away from their offices.

“Bishops, General Church executives, thousands of pastors, and millions of laity are quiet about abortion, ” Stallsworth said. “As millions of unborn children are lost to abortion and their mothers are damaged in countless ways, most United Methodists remain quiet about it.”

Stallsworth likened The United Methodist Church to the ancient church at Corinth, as described in the Book of Acts. Some Corinthian Christians followed Paul, while others followed Peter or Apollos. They were treating the church “like a store, ” following their own “choice according to their own preferences. ”

Stallsworth said Saint Paul reminded the Corinthians that the church of Jesus Christ is not about exercising “choice ” but being “consecrated together, …blameless together, …holy together.”

“Through the ages, the Church, made up of those ‘called to be saints together,’ has always included respect and protection for the life of each human being, ” Stallsworth said. “For nearly 2,000 years, the Church has taught that the unborn child and mother are human beings created by God, in God ’s image. ”

The United Methodist Board of Church and Society, along with the United Methodist Women ’s Division, belongs to the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, which defends the legality of abortion under all circumstances.

SPECIAL ACTION Help your local church elect a pro-reform Lay Member of your 2003 Annual Conference --more than one, if your church elects more than one Lay Member. Help elect a pro-reform Alternate too. Please act now.

Key points:

  1. The 2003 Annual Conference will elect the delegates to the vitally important 2004 General Conference.
  2. Talk with pro-reform friends. Select and work for a good candidate for each position. Consider and pray: are YOU willing and able to serve as a Lay Member?
  3. Find out who is on your local church Nominations Committee, and get the date of your annual Charge Conference (usually in the Fall).
  4. This Summer, talk with your Pastor and the Nominations Committee members and recommend your candidate. Plan for several pro-reform friends to do the same. Do not delay; Nominations Committees usually discuss nominations in the Summer or very early Fall, before the charge conference.
  5. If the Nominations Committee does not nominate your candidate, consider going to the Charge Conference, nominate your candidate (you have the right to make nominations from the floor), and request a written ballot.

To return the UMC to Christian faithfulness and accountability, many more pro-reform Lay Members of each Annual Conference are urgently needed.



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