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Member responds to criticism of apportionment redirection

- April 14, 1998 Tue, 14 Apr 1998 is the address for the other point of view regarding the issues at our church.

One of the things that I find very interesting is that all of the ones that are opposed to the re-directing or withholding of apportionments that are being vocal, agree that there are problems within the UM Church. They only disagree at the method chosen of gaining attention to the healing that needs to take place. They repeatedly ask for alternatives, to which our pastor has said many, many times that he can think of no alternatives. He has pointed out at great length all of the petitions that we have signed and the statements issued in the past and the fact that they have received little if any attention at the national church level.

He has repeatedly told all groups that if they have any ideas for alternative measures that will gain the attention of those that need to be shaken, to let him know! He will prayerfully consider any and all ideas or alternative plans that they will submit.

They (I hate to keep saying "they" as if we are on opposing teams, when in fact we are all Christian brothers and sisters determined to love one another through this issue, however, I can think of no other concise way to refer to the "other school of thought" as opposed to my own. Please forgive my lack of vocabulary!) have the opinion that we "owe" something to the United Methodist Church that is greater than what we owe our Father in Heaven. "They" perfer to listen to our Bishop, who has proven by his Emory vote that his spine is in definite need of starching, over their (our) pastor who has very courageously (sp?) called our Bishop to be accountable for his actions, our pastor who has stood in the pulpit Sunday after Sunday, preaching the Good News, telling us to love everybody, hate all sin, love God, love Jesus, pray, read our Bible, give to missions, support our youth, love and pray for our church, and otherwise live holy lives.

He has publicly apologized and begged for forgiveness from the church for sheltering us all those years while the national church made decisions and moved in directions that grieved his heart and soul. "They" keep bringing up the point that they were surprised at the January 25 meeting to learn of the rampant sin and worldliness of action and thought that was taking place within and without the United Methodist Church. I am more than a little annoyed at all of those that keep saying that they knew nothing prior to this point, and why won't anyone give them the details that they require. The "Report on Doctrinal Integrity" (available at has published all of the details that anyone should require, however, the opponents of this action choose to belittle and attack the integrity of those volunteers that did the research and wrote the report rather than read it and research it for themselves. The UMW has issued a statement defending their position as regarding issues in the report, (i.e. - Re-Imagining and others), however, RENEW has countered with other facts, to which the UMW has replied, a never ending story. The facts as printed in the report are facts, not fiction, and in my opinion are not defendable.

Assuming first of all that until January 25, 1998 you knew of no wrong being committed by your denomination, why would anyone sit back and wait for someone else to do the research for them?? If you are really upset by the finding out of information, why are you not also called to action? Our library at church is full of research materials that could bring anyone up to date in a short time. During the 60 days while the report was being written and the information gathered, the tables, bookcases and open shelves all around the library were covered in books that addressed many different issues within the church. From the intellectual, scholarly books (I passed those over!) to the ones written on a level that anyone could understand (those are the ones I checked out and read!). Books that presented the factual pictures...gave details, dates, times, faces, and places to historial events that surround the issues that we are facing today.

We are facing a crisis in our local church that is being repeated many, many times nationwide. The Creech action and verdict screams to me that now is the time for action. Now is the time for the church to wake up and take note of the world around it. Why have we sat back for so long and allowed the world to infiltrate our church to this degree?? Yes, it is painful. Yes, there will be many "families" divided on these issues. Yes, this is a battle worth fighting. I have often said that we must choose our battles. Are the issues of an eternal significance? If not, then keep your mouth shut and move on. If so, speak up! Speak loudly, in LOVE, and keep on speaking until somebody listens.

When the church fails to see and call "sin" "sin", I would say that is a matter of eternal significance and that we must speak up and out and keep on speaking until somebody listens. We are also called to correct our brothers and sisters with the love of Christ. We are not out to harm anyone but to love them into the kingdom!

In His Service,

Ellen Beebe Marietta FUMC Marietta, GA

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