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"Welcoming Conference" May be New Buzzword Affirming Homosexuality in the UMC

The California-Pacific Conference under the leadership of United Methodist Bishop Sano, consultant for a new Bible study series affirming homosexuality, Claiming the Promise Bible Study: An Ecumenical Welcoming Bible Study Resource on Homosexuality, appeared to bring unity to the divided opinions regarding the practice of homosexuality.  The California-Pacific Conference voted to become a "Welcoming" conference affirming neither the Reconciling Church Program, which actively works to change the traditional Biblical prohibitions against homosexuality of the United Methodist Church, nor affirming the more orthodox Transforming designation which affirms "...the Biblical witness that homosexual practice is sin and that the power of the Holy Spirit is available to transform the life of the homosexual."

It was earlier reported that Bishop Sano "worked to maintain 'unity' in the conference with the Welcoming resolution.  However, the outcome of the debate seemed predetermined, making the welcoming decision appear artificial."

In light of the history of the pro-homosexual movement in the United Methodist Church asserting its political agenda under the banner of words that traditionally have had positive moral meanings, such as "reconciling" and "affirmation," it appears that the word "welcoming" has been added to the list of homosexually redefined words. Like the Reconciling Church Program in the United Methodist Church and Affirmation (United Methodists for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Concerns), Welcoming Ministries claims the The Reconciling Congregation Program as part of its much larger ecumenical "welcoming church" movement which now encompasses more than 800 congregations, ministries, and judicatories in ten faith traditions. Welcoming Ministries claims to be an "ecumenical movement growing at the rate of two new churches each week--probably the fastest-growing grass roots movement in mainline churches today."

Taking into consideration:

  • Bishop Sano's consultation in the publication of a pro-homosexuality Bible study series entitled: Claiming the Promise Bible Study: An Ecumenical Welcoming Bible Study Resource on Homosexuality [emphasis added],
  • The  Reconciling Church Program being part of a larger pro-homosexuality organization called Welcoming Ministries and,
  • The predetermined and artificial nature of Bishop Sano's Califirnia-Pacific Annual Conference voting to become a Welcoming Conference,

One becomes suspect to think that the California-Pacific Annual Conference is to be added to the Reconciling Church Program's list "as of March 1998, the RCP encompasses over 12,800 Reconciling United Methodists, 146 Reconciling Congregations, 20 Reconciling Campus Ministries, 6 Reconciling Conferences, and numerous other reconciling groups" including the General Commission on Christian Unity & Interreligious Concerns.

The Confessing Statement of Confessing Movement within the United Methodist Church, a growing organization of concerned United Methodists who hold to the more Biblical Wesleyan Christian doctrine, includes the statement:

We repudiate teachings and practices that MISUSE principles of inclusiveness and tolerance to distort the doctrine and discipline of the Church. We deny the claim that the individual is free to decide what is true and what is false, what is good and what is evil. We reject widespread and often unchallenged practices in and by the Church that rebel against the Lordship of Jesus Christ. For example:

  • experimenting with pagan ritual and practice
  • consuming the world's goods without regard for the poor
  • accommodating the prevailing patterns of sexual promiscuity, serial marriage and divorce
  • resigning ourselves to the injustices of racial and gender prejudice
  • condoning homosexual practice
  • ignoring the Church's long-standing protection of the unborn and the mother

Any new teachings in the Church that seek to set aside the biblical witness cannot be established by votes, or appeals to personal experience, or by responding to contemporary social pressures. According to the apostolic faith, such teachings and practices are false and unfaithful to the Gospel.

Resolutions for Annual Conferences to affirm the Confessing Statement and similar resolutions have met with much opposition by church leaders throughout the United Methodist Church, while it appears that the pro-homosexual caucus is adding "...two new churches each week" and one new Welcoming Conference under the leadership of the Church's highest officials.

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