AMARites Lament Committee Vote To Uphold Biblical View Of Sexuality, Homosexual Hopes Turn To Plenary Session
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AMAR-- Just the Facts Monday, May 8
AMAR Coalition-working for full inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender persons in a supportive, grace-filled way. Monday May 8
WHY WE MUST CHANGE
Legislative committees began addressing issues of sexual orientation over the weekend. It is clear from the first petition votes in committee that the primary movement is to maintain the status quo.
One of the most injurious results of this movement is Faith & Order's decision to maintain the language in our Book of Discipline stating "the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching." Why must this statement be changed?
It's untrue. The truth is, there is a diversity of Christian teaching regarding sexual orientation and this reflects only one of them.
It continues the contradictions in UM polity. We say Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) persons are of sacred worth, but at the same time we condemn their sexuality with our language.
It's driving people from our churches. GLBT people and their families are taking their gifts, skills, money and fellowship away from our church due to our discriminatory policies.
It's deadly. The church teaches that GLBT persons are not acceptable to God, and many, many GLBT persons commit suicide or are killed by others for this reason. Delegates, as you begin week two of General Conference, the AMAR coalition urges you to take a moment to step back. Remember the damage we are inflicting on our GLBT brothers and sisters - and the people who love them - when we support statements that limit God's love for them. We urge you to look for creative ways that will allow our church to truly extend God's love to all.
Faith & Order. Over the past couple of days, many delegates delivered passionate, deeply moving testimonies supporting full inclusion of GLBT persons. Despite their efforts, it is clear from initial votes that the committee seeks to maintain the current language in the Discipline. But the resulting petitions should not be seen as the direction the plenary will move. The committee was a high-priority for delegates who care deeply about sexual orientation issues - on both sides. Very few "moderates" are on Faith & Order - the people, like AMAR supporters, who really care about the church extending and not limiting God's love.
Local Church. Supportive delegates submitted a minority report to respond to the committee's vote against a petition that would allow local churches to decide by vote at Charge Conferences whether they would allow holy union services to be conducted in their churches. After taking time to understand the concerns around this petition, the delegates proposed a report that would allow All-Church Conferences to develop a policy to allow or not allow holy union services, without negating authority of the pastor to choose whether or not to perform the services.
RAINBOWS FOR INCLUSION Beginning Monday morning, United Methodist delegates, volunteers, visitors and friends will begin wearing rainbow ribbon armbands. This represents our steadfast commitment to the full inclusion of GLBT people in the life of the church and to the reversal of the church's discriminatory policies against them. The ribbon used to make the armbands is taken from the ribbon that surrounded the Convention Center with love at the conclusion of the RCP rally and Communion Service on Saturday.
WITNESS THIS WEEK! Wear a rainbow ribbon. Show your support for a fully inclusive church by wearing a rainbow ribbon armband.
Listen to the stories of United Methodists. AMAR volunteers will continue sharing personal stories with delegates about why issues of sexual orientation are important to them. Please listen.
Attend daily communion service. Each day this week, RCP will host a multi-cultural communion service at noon outside the northwest end of the Convention Center, across the street from the Cleveland Browns stadium.
AMAR COALITION COORDINATORS Affirmation: Jeanne Knepper
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