NIC Voice GC2004 Update - Part XXI
is a network of laity in the Northern Illinois Conference of the United
UM Action : 2004 General Conference
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Renegade Bishop Participates in "Gay" Church Service
The event began with an address by Rev. Troy Plummer, RMN’s executive director. Alluding to their failure to advance much of their legislative agenda at the General Conference, Plummer urged the audience to “keep calling the church to inclusiveness.”
The centerpiece of the service was the “Witness to the Word” delivered by the Rev. Janet Wolf. Wolf claimed that the church was at a “crisis” point in which the “evil” of those who oppose their agenda “seems to reign.” She urged the audience to thoroughly reject “compromise…and cooperation with the powers and principalities” of evil. She also exhorted them “to keep on keeping on—to not give up.”
Wolf repeatedly told her audience that that despite their failures in the struggle and despite their personal shortcomings, they could take comfort in the fact that God was actively on their side.
Wolf warned her audience to beware of “the man who appears to be the Lamb, uses the words of the Lamb,” and “appears in the places where the Lamb might be, but is not the Lamb.” During one of her many equations of various political struggles for “justice” with the will of God, Wolf approvingly cited an activist friend who had said that proclaiming “Hallelujah!” (Hebrew for “Praise God”) in church was “the same damn thing” as militantly raising one’s fist as yelling “A la lucha!” (Spanish for “To the struggle”).
Rev. Karen Oliveto spoke briefly after Wolf. The San Francisco minister was greeted with resounding applause after being introduced as the first United Methodist pastor to conduct a legally recognized homosexual “marriage” ceremony. She lavished praised upon the RMN, which she said has “made [her] the pastor [she] is today” by giving her a “theology of inclusion.” Oliveto’s vision of “inclusion” did not seem to include theological conservatives, or anyone else who favored a “restrictive definition of marriage.” Denouncing the “oppression” and “homophobia” of official UMC policy, she bragged that “try as others may, they can’t get rid of us.”
The service closed with a baptism service of two children. One was an infant and the other was old enough to walk and converse. Joseph Sprague was one of the officiating ministers. During the liturgy, they warmly spoke of how the children were being baptized the children with their “sexual identity and gender orientation yet unrevealed.”
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