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Pacific Northwest Gay And Lesbian Clergy Outraged High Court Would Hold Them Accountable to Church Law

PNW-RMN Reacts To The Judicial Council's Ruling on the Dammann Case

We, the Pacific Northwest Reconciling Ministries Network (PNW-RMN), are saddened, deeply disappointed, and outraged by the recent decision of the United Methodist Judicial Council with regard to the Rev. Karen Dammann. Yet, we remain more than ever dedicated to the Good News of Jesus Christ which will lead us toward the kingdom of a more inclusive church and world.

We are saddened for the Rev. Karen Dammann, her family, and the Ellensburg UMC. The Ellensburg congregation has welcomed Karen, her life-partner, Meredith, and son, Beckett, with courage and support; together they have begun to develop a common ministry. Members of the PNW-RMN, having met and worshipped with the Ellensburg congregation, can bear witness to the spirit of love and commitment present in that body. All of that is now in jeopardy because of this decision.

We are deeply disappointed for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (lgbt) clergy in our Conference, as well those throughout United Methodism. Some may leave ministry; some will withdraw even further into secrecy; all will feel the sharp pain of discrimination. This action will also affect the future of our church as seminarians and people exploring ministry decide whether they can serve a church that discriminates against its own. Also negatively impacted will be lgbt laity, as well as the families, friends, and allies of sexual minority persons.

We are outraged at our church, which professes to be the 'body of Christ' and proclaims itself as a place of "Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors." Rather than follow Jesus, who ministered to the marginalized, the UMC acts out a narrow vision of God's love based on selective Biblical literalism and the discriminatory policies inserted into the Discipline in recent years. We of the RMN claim that the "practice of homosexuality IS compatible with Christian teaching" and call on the UMC to reexamine its discriminatory policies.

Although experiencing sadness, disappointment, and outrage, we will not withdraw into the closet of silence, fear, and inaction. We renew our dedication to the gospel of love and vow to continue our work towards a church fully inclusive of all. We claim the authority of the Bible in our individual and corporate lives. We earnestly pray for the end of the oppression of sexual minority people. We celebrate the God of justice who has led oppressed peoples to freedom throughout history. We follow our Lord who embodied God's love for all. And, we will continue to be empowered by the Holy Spirit in all that we do to hasten the time when the UMC will truly be a place of "Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors."

Amory Peck, PNW-RMN Convener, 2003 (AmoryPeck@aol.com) Larry Fox, PNW-RMN Convener, 2004 (larryleefox@yahoo.com)

The Pacific Northwest-Reconciling Ministries Network (PNW-RMN) is a network of over 700 individual Reconciling United Methodists, lay and clergy. It is an affiliate of the Reconciling Ministries Network, an unofficial United Methodist organization dedicated to the full inclusion of sexual minority people within the United Methodist Church. The PNW-RMN's theological study paper, "To Plead the Cause," is available by contacting the Rev. Paul Beeman at paulbeeman@aol.com.

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