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Illinois Great River Laity Stand Up To Homosexualization Of Their Annual Conference - No More Apportionment Money!


  IGRAC LAITY IN ACTION Inc. 

An Unofficial Laity movement within the Illinois Great Rivers Conference

Promoting Scriptural Truths and Doctrinal Integrity

To: All Local Church Administrative Boards/Council Chairpersons of The IGRC 

September 15, 2004

PLEASE COPY AND SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH OTHERS IN YOUR CHURCH

 This letter is an update to our letters of April 12 and 24, 2004. It provides additional information and prayerfully asks each local church to take a stand against homosexuality which continues to be a distractive issue.

Informing Laity - Most U.M lay members are uninformed as to many events, issues, and trends beyond the local church.  There just aren't good sources for laity news available.  Laity In Action is attempting to fill that need.  While local church ministries may be progressing satisfactorily, what is happening beyond the local church may not be acceptable or in accordance with God's Word and the U.M. Discipline.  All that happens beyond the local church will eventually affect the local church (e.g. the homosexual issue,  Bible revision, etc.).  With this in mind, it is our belief that all U.M. lay members should strive to be informed.  Official U.M. news sources do not always relay the entire picture. Laity In Action attempts to shed light on that which may not otherwise be adequately covered.   

General Conference 2004 - Many good things happened at General Conference 2004. The Ivory Coast Methodist Church, with 1 million members, was welcomed into the UMC. By 2012 this new African branch of the UMC will elect about 10% of the GC delegates. The 2004 Book of Discipline was strengthened in many areas regarding the homosexual issue.

A bad thing also happened on May 6. Soulforce, a gay rights advocacy group, interrupted General Conference proceedings for about 35 minutes. Some 500 persons circled the conference floor carrying banners and singing hymns of reconciliation. They were welcomed into the conference hall by the presiding bishop and at least 25 bishops stood on the podium in support of their demonstration.

For the first time at a General Conference, orthodox Methodists talked of a church split.  The subject of amicable separation was suggested for discussion.

It is clear the United Methodist Church is not a “united” denomination. 

 

AUGUST 2004 Good News St Lukes UMC, a  Fresno, CA congregation that had severed ties with the U.M. Church over disagreements about same-sex union ceremonies can hang on to its chapel and surrounding property per an August 13, 2004  ruling by the  California 5th District Court of Appeals.  Attorneys for the California-Nevada UM Conference are reviewing the decision to determine what options they will exercise.

A complaint filed against an IGRC lay member for participation in a homosexual promotional event was resolved by a Pastoral Supervisory Response satisfactory to the parties involved.

IGRAC Laity In Action, Inc. became a tax-exempt organization per section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All contributions are tax deductible under section 170 of the Code. 

ACTIONS at 2004 IGR ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Good News

  An offering of phone cards for soldiers in the Armed Forces totaled 686,883 calling card minutes.  There were eight elders ordained, one received  into full membership, affirmed four deacon’s orders and associate membership, and commissioned four to probationary members for elder’s orders.  Eighteen pastors, celebrating over 500 combined years of service – retired.    

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Other News

  1. Approved a budget of $17,774,301, a 4.73% increase over 2004
  2. Approved a budget of $1.5 million for congregational development
  3. Approved a new apportionment formula based on church expenses (excluding benevolence or capital funds).
  4. Pastor’s health insurance will increase from $10,000 to $11,000 per year.
  5. Membership in the IGRC at the end of 2003 was 155,264 – a decrease of 4394 from the previous year;  and 29,071 since 1997. Conference leaders search for the cause of this decline but seem to be in denial for the real cause.  When our leaders stress social, political, and Bible revision theology and lose focus on Jesus Christ, His blessings are lost.  Lost souls are searching for “The Real Thing”.  If the U.M. denomination does not have it, they will go elsewhere.
  6. Delegates “tabled” - for four years - all resolutions having to do with homosexual issues. Of the six resolutions tabled; one of them was a laity resolution seeking a conference-wide Christian homosexual healing ministry to be made available to/for local church uses.

Homosexual Issue Continues

  The most divisive U.M. issue is homosexuality.  Is homosexuality “sin?” The Bible unequivocally says Yes!  So does our Book of Discipline.  What do our bishop and cabinet say?  They do not speak publicly, but by their silence and unwillingness to initiate action to assure “pastoral accountability”, they speak loudly for the promotion of the homosexual agenda. Should homosexuals be welcome in the church?  Yes!  That they might be nurtured in the faith, and have the opportunity to seek God’s Divine healing grace.  Should unrepentant homosexuals be ordained and placed in leadership positions?  No!  This is contrary to Wesley’s quadrilateral:  Scripture, experience, reason, and tradition (as well as The Book of Discipline). 

   Several IGRC pastors call themselves “The Reconciling U.M. of the IGRC”.  They advocate full participation (including ordaining homosexuals) of people of all sexual orientations.  Although this is counter to Scripture and the U.M. Discipline,  Conference leaders have allowed them to remain active without restraint.

COMPLAINTS DISMISSAL

  Eleven Laity In Action filed charges against six conference pastors who actively participated in a homosexual promotional event on March 3, 2001 at Faith UMC in Champaign, IL.  Six Laity In Action members were present at a 2/17/04 hearing with the Bishop and five District Superintendents who were acting as a Supervisory Response Team.  On 6/1/04 they dismissed the charges, falsely concluding that the purpose of the event was for study and dialogue.  The event was not advertised with intent for study and dialogue.  Two Laity In Action members attended and saw it for what it was, “A homosexual promotional event.”  The U.M. Discipline states that there is to be a satisfactory resolution to a complaint. However, the Bishop and District Superintendents made an arbitrary decision to dismiss all charges.

  The “dismissal” verdict – based on an untrue premise – is further evidence that the Bishop and Cabinet not only support, but aid and abet the infiltration and promotion of the sinful and unrepentant homosexual agenda into the church of Jesus Christ; contrary to Scripture and The Book of Discipline, even though General Conference 2004 strengthened the Discipline language in ¶161G to read: The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching. 

  The same eleven Laity In Action had earlier filed a complaint (10/18/02) against Bishop Christopher for not fulfilling her responsibilities in dealing with the above six pastors.  A North Central Jurisdictional Supervisory Response Team heard the complainants evidence, but dismissed (9/8/03)

the complaint without a satisfactory resolution.  With no appeal process available, it seems all semblance of accountability for U.M. church leaders has been lost. 

  When will our leaders “take a public stand” on this “eternity” issue of homosexuality? As leaders in Christ’s church, they have both a duty and responsibility to clearly and publicly state their beliefs. Laity have a right to know! On page 159 of his book “A Strong Delusion – Confronting the ‘Gay Christian’ Movement”, author Joe Dallas writes: “The question shouldn’t be Can a person be homosexual and still belong to God? but rather Is homosexuality right or wrong according to God’s Word?   

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  Two situations from the recent 2004 annual conference also show IGRC leadership support for the “Reconciling United Methodists of the IGRAC”.

  1. A number of homosexual activists quietly demonstrated throughout the four-day conference. Some activists held signs and handed out supportive literature at entry doors; some wore blue polo T-shirts to indicate support; and some wore “gay” rainbow stoles around their necks, both on and off the  conference floor. Some activists were at doorways with water to indicate that they were baptized too. No official action was taken to admonish or quell these demonstrations that are in violation of the conference rules of order, even though the bishop was aware in advance of annual conference that demonstrations would occur.

  2. Before any debate, Bishop Christopher ruled the following resolution #402 “out-of-order”:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that on behalf of the IGRAC, the clergy session (per Discipline ¶ 605.6) be diligent in assuring the annual conference that the moral and official conduct of its ordained and local pastors are blameless in their life and administration; to be sure that none are affiliated with, or promote the Reconciling Ministries Network mission statement, or identify themselves as a “Reconciling United Methodist of The IGRAC.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that on behalf of the IGRAC, the Chairperson, Secretary and all members of the Nominations Committee be diligent in nominating only those persons (Pastor and Lay) who are loyal to the United Methodist Church, who believe that our doctrines are in harmony with the Holy Scriptures; and who will support and maintain them; and who do not identify themselves as a “Reconciling United Methodist of The IGRAC”.

In ruling the resolution “out-of-order” Bishop Christopher “passed the buck” to the clergy session by citing ¶ 605.6; and ignored the Discipline mandated Duties of Bishops and District Superintendents stated in ¶ 404.1 “..to guard the faith, order, liturgy, doctrine, and discipline of the church....”; and the Specific Responsibilities of Bishops stated in ¶ 414.5 To teach and uphold the theological traditions of The U. M. Church”. In short, games are being played with The Book of Discipline by our leaders.

CONCLUSION

These actions by the Bishop and Cabinet place them on record as aiding and abetting the efforts of “The Reconciling United Methodists of The IGRAC” to legitimize homosexuality in the Church of Jesus Christ.

 

Responsible Christian Stewardship (excerpts from Allen Morris’ book, At the Crossroads follow)

 Giving of Your Offering to the Lord

We have long known that responsible Christian giving means giving the first portion of your income to the Lord’s work, and giving it in ways that it will do the most good with the money available. The needs always exceed the available resources given. It is therefore necessary to maximize what you give to ensure that it “goes as far” as is possible.

 First, we need to understand that it is our money we are giving; no one, ministry, organization, or even the church is “entitled” to it.

Secondly, we need to inform ourselves. We have the responsibility to give wisely. We cannot claim innocence when we know it is wasted.

 

To give one a balanced, down-to-earth common sense approach to the subject of personal stewardship, we

have proposed what we call:

THE RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of CONTRIBUTORS

The issue of personal stewardship can be addressed by what we believe are “free choice” rights people have in the giving of their tithes and offerings to the Lord’s work:

1.  Each person owes his offerings to the Lord, not any institution.

2.  Each person has a right to know how his offering is spent.

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 3.  Each person has the right to not be coerced, pressured, manipulated, or lied to in the area of stewardship.

4.  Each person has a right to having his offering spent to support those causes that are biblical and with which he agrees, and not to have his offering spent in ways that are unbiblical and/or antithetical

to his beliefs.

5.  Each person has a right to give through whatever agencies will best use his offering in accordance with his wishes.

6.  Each person has a responsibility to give his offering through the agency or combination of agencies that will  make the most efficient use of it, of which the United Methodist Church is one.

7.  Each person has a right to support those ministries in the local and/or general UM church with which he is comfortable, and not to support those ministries of the local and/or general UM church with which he is not comfortable.

8.  Each person has a right to exercise the actions delineated above without being pressured, manipulated, or asked to leave the church. 

Simple and to the point. It might be added that if untruthfulness is involved in the expenditure of church funds for any purpose, Then that type of “mission” is not the legitimate work of Jesus Christ.

 

APPORTIONMENTS

The April 12 and 24, 2004 Laity In Action letters asked each local church/charge to seriously consider placing apportionments in escrow until such time as the Bishop and Cabinet of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference can present unequivocal proof and assurance to local churches that there are no longer any active Reconciling United Methodist Pastors in the IGRC who support and promote the sinful homosexual agenda of the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN).

Some churches who have done so have been accused of “breaking the covenant” of the connectional United Methodist Church; and some have been told that only the “charge conference” of the local church has the authority to affirm withholding. We see these leadership pronouncements as forms of coercion, pressure, intimidation and manipulation. All Bishops, District Superintendents and Ordained Pastors who promote the homosexual intrusion into the life of The United Methodist Church (or allow it be promoted without initiating “accountability” action) have repudiated Scripture and have “broken the sacred trust of their vows of ordination”; and the covenant with all Christians whom they lead and serve.

We believe the Holy Spirit is a higher authority which directs the giving of our tithes and offerings.

Yes --- There is Hope!  God still seeks the faithful

 

FOR CHANGE TO COME ONLY “GRASSROOTS” LAITY ACTION CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN!

 

HOW CAN YOUR CHURCH HELP?

 

By not paying another dime for leaders who have set aside Scripture and Church Law to support and promote immoral sexual behavior

1. Until such time as the Bishop and Cabinet of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference can present unequivocal proof  and assurance to local churches that there are no longer any active Reconciling United Methodist Pastors in the IGRAC who support and promote the sinful homosexual agenda of the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN); please seriously consider the following actions: 

(a) Place all apportionments in escrow; or

(b) Place in escrow only those apportionments paid to the Episcopal and District Superintendents Funds. These funds pay salaries and appear as separate line items in the conference budget. For 2005 the Episcopal Fund is $ 398,754; and the District Superintendents Fund  $ 1,198, 072. These line items can be found in the Annual Conference Workbook Report #104 on page B-19, line #’s 4 & 5 under “Clergy Support & Administration”. To place these funds in escrow, the local church treasurer would remit only 73.46% of the apportionment for Clergy Support and Administration.

 

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ADDITIONAL HELP CONSIDERATIONS

1. If your pastor preaches and teaches the “eternal” truths of Scripture, thank him/her and praise the Lord.

  The large majority of IGRC pastors are faithful to Scripture and their vows of ordination.

2. If your pastor has not made known his/her beliefs and position  –  relative to the homosexual issue –  call a Pastor/Parish meeting for the purpose of allowing him/her to express it, so your congregation will know. (The clergy session at Annual Conference  {¶ 605.6} has not clearly faced this “eternity” issue)

3. Write the bishop and your district superintendent. Ask them to answer this question:

  Is homosexuality right or wrong according to God’s Word?

  Ask them to publicly announce their answer in a statement to the entire conference. Just saying they “will uphold The Discipline” does not answer the question.   

4. To do nothing allows the homosexual intrusion to continue.

5. Pray for our church and its leaders that they do His Will in leading His Church.

6. Support Laity In Action. See “Request for Laity Support” form below.

 

 

Please direct questions to Carleton Munday – 309-452-7664  or  Omer Ulrich – 618-395-2679

 

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IGRAC LAITY IN ACTION, Inc.

Purpose Statement

1.  Provide ways for IGRC laity to communicate with each other and the leadership.

2.  Inform the laity of conference and nationwide homosexual items of interest and other concerns.  Official U.M. media sources don’t always give the entire truth.

3.  Stop the intrusion of the homosexual agenda in our conference by a group of pastors who call themselves “The Reconciling United Methodists of the IGRAC”.

4.  Support pastors who are faithful to the sacred trust of their ordination vows-- who preach & teach Biblical Truths in accordance with the Polity of the UM church.

5.  Seek accountability of pastors who knowingly violate their vows of ordination.

6.  Work with IGRAC leadership to promote Christian healing ministries for repentant homosexuals.

______________________________________________________________________________

 

REQUEST FOR LAITY SUPPORT (please sign up only once)

 

Date_________Name (please print)___________________________________________

 

Address_________________________________________________________________

 

Church/Charge______________________________District_______________________

 

Phone (_____)__________________________e-mail_____________________________

 

Fax # ____________________________I am  willing to help in this effort Yes___No___

 

Please return to: Omer Ulrich 411 Brian Dr. Olney, IL: 62450-2401 (oulrich@otbnet.com)

  or:  Carleton Munday 1322 E. Vernon Normal, IL 61761-3266(cmunday@pngusa.net)

 

Please make copies and use to invite others to stand with us.

 

Board of Directors

 

Carleton Munday Omer Ulrich LeRoy Hankins Sam Terrell  Joe Wilkerson

  1322 E. Vernon 411 Brian Dr. 3213 Oak Ave.  750 Main St. 702 Lynnwood Ct.

Normal, IL 61761 Olney, IL 62450 Mattoon, IL 61938   Hoopeston, IL 60942 Olney, IL 62450

 

   form date 6/04

 

 

 

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