UM Bishop Offers The Gift Of Homosexuality For Christmas
MESSAGE FROM BISHOP MELVIN G. TALBERT
As sisters and brothers, as we approach the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays, and as we come to the close of another year, I extend to you warm greetings and best wishes in the name and spirit of Jesus Christ. Before coming to the point of this letter, allow me to be a bit personal.
It was my privilege to participate in the Hearts On Fire event at Lake Junaluska, NC, September 2-5, 2005. It was inspiring to be among God's people as they gathered for fellowship, mutual support, and to worship and give praise to God, all in the name and spirit of Jesus Christ.
During that event, I shared a bit of my personal story of how it feels to experience marginalization and oppression as a person of color. Thus, I could identify with my LGBT sisters and brothers. I told them that I do not agree with the official position of our church which marginalizes them. Also, I disagree with the more recent Judicial Council Decision, #1032, which upheld a pastor's action denying membership to a man who happens to be a practicing homosexual.
I know sexuality is a blessing and not a sin. I realize and acknowledge that persons may differ in what they believe. However, there are no grounds for people of faith to deny each other access to God's means of grace at God's table. As our church declares, all persons are of sacred worth and are made in the image of God. Personally, I believe we are all sinners in the process of being saved by God's grace. Therefore, we do not have the right to deny another her/his place at God's table. Only God can make that call. It is God who has invited us.
As a person of color, I have always had a loving quarrel with my church because of what it has done to my people and me over the years. Yet, I love my church and will never leave it because of the injustices of some of its members. So, I say to my LGBT sisters and brothers, let no one drive you out of your church. It is your church as much as it is mine or any other member. We all belong to God. Keep praying, loving and fighting for the justice that is already yours in Jesus Christ.
This brings me to the point of my letter. In addition to praying and voicing support for our LGBT sisters and brothers, they need our financial support to undergird efforts to remove all barriers that marginalize and discriminate against them because of their gender or sexuality. As we approach Thanksgiving and the Christmas Holidays and the close of this year, I invite you to consider sending a sacrificial gift or contribution to the continuing work and ministry of Reconciling Ministries Network in support of our LGBT sisters and brothers.
Thank you for any support you can give.
May God richly bless you now and always!
Melvin G. Talbert (Bishop)
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