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New England UMs Respond To Schismatic New England Declaration

From: Rick&Sharon Boyden fishnet@uninets.net
To: John Warrener jwarrene@surfsouth.com
Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2000 10:20 PM

Dear Rev. Warrener,

Attached is a copy of the Open letter. Feel free to publish it on your page. Could you set it up so that people can copy it to circulate in their churches and put a spot for people to sign it? I would like to get feedback regarding any signatures that are attached to it. I think we ought to get local churches to sign it and then have each submit a copy of it to Cross Currents. It would be nice though to keep a copy of all the signatures as well.

Cross Currents
United Methodist Office
P.O. Box 249
Lawrence, MA  01842-0449

I have a number of concerns regarding this issue: 1) Lot's of people have been misled (by pastors) regarding the homosexual issue and don't really know what is true. 2) Homosexuals are being kept in bondage because it's pretty hard to repent of something that you are continually told is good. 3) The U. Meth. Church is going to have to answer for the part they played in that. I for one don't want to deal with that. I've said numerous times when people accuse those who don't support the homosexual lifestyle that I'm not afraid of homosexuals but I am afraid of the consequences for the United Methodist Church if they don't change their ways. God doesn't take too kindly to churches that keep people from Him.

Feel free to keep in touch, I write (with my husbands assistance) in response to things like this because I get frustrated that you either get things that support heresy, or you get a harsh approach that may be true but won't be listened to by those in the average church because it is condemning or attacking. Sometimes we attack the wrong people. I'm more concerned with results, changed lives, changed attitudes than with "being right".

Thanks for your interest.
Yours in Christ's service,
Sharon Boyden

An Open Letter to the New England Annual Conference

Response to the New England Declaration 2000

At the Annual Conference Session in June a document was presented that has caused a lot of conflict within the conference and grief to our spirits. This letter is in response to that Declaration.

We, too, believe that as Christians, we are called to embody God’s love (as manifested by Jesus Christ) in the world and to extend God’s welcoming love to all. However, we differ greatly in what we believe that means and how that is accomplished. It seems that care and sensitivity for the feelings of others and desire to please has been substituted for God’s love. God’s love for us is communicated in the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus’ death on the cross. That’s serious business, it’s about life and death, not what feels good. Jesus gave His life to free us from sin, reconcile us to God, and give us eternal life. As Christians, we have journeyed through the cross to the throne of God, we have experienced His love and are responsible to share that with others and show them the way to experience it for themselves. When Jesus dealt with the woman caught in adultery, God’s love was expressed as "...neither do I condemn you." "Go now and leave your life of sin." God’s love takes people where they are; leads them away from their sin into a relationship with God and the promise of eternal life.

We serve the Almighty God who sees the affliction of the oppressed, who hears their cry, who knows their sorrows, and who comes to deliver them - and we are grieved when those who claim to serve such a God - deny the deliverance He offers to those whose cry He has heard.

Because we know that: God is a just God but in His love for us, He desires that none should perish; Jesus is the only way to that salvation and He has the power to change lives today; through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live a life pleasing to God; the Word of God has authority over Christian living and the Book of Discipline is the rule of the church, subject only to the Word of God, we cannot stand idly by and watch people being misled, in the name of Christ.

We affirm the sincere concern of those whose purpose for signing the New England Declaration is that the homosexual community might feel loved and welcomed in the church so that they will have the opportunity to hear the Gospel and come to know the Lord of Life.

We affirm the desire of people in the homosexual community to be reconciled by the church. But the church has misled them by allowing them to think that is synonymous with what they truly desire - reconciliation with God. We are all subject, as human beings, to the temptations of life that cause us to succumb to our desires for things that we know in our hearts are wrong and self-destructive. Sexual immorality is but one of those desires, we all stand in need of reconciliation. True reconciliation only comes about when we recognize our weakness, desire to change and then accept Jesus’ sacrifice that we might be forgiven and reunited with God. It is only when we have allowed Jesus Christ to be first in our lives that true change - transformation - takes place, and we experience reconciliation with God and peace in our hearts.

We affirm the statement in the Book of Discipline that "the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching" and because we believe that to be true...

We affirm the statement in the Book of Discipline which forbids the performance of same-sex unions by our pastors and in our churches. We will not be a party to misleading people regarding the grace and mercy of God and condoning the celebration of sin in the church.

We affirm the statement in the Book of Discipline which forbids the ordination and appointment of self-avowed, practicing homosexuals. Our pastors are seen as God’s representatives, as those who best know God. When we allow weaknesses to be exalted, sin to be promoted, we do a serious disservice to to those we are called to serve. Jesus said when a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into the pit. Allowing persons who refuse to deal with these weaknesses in themselves to lead others in the church will lead us all into the pit. Our pastors should be the best examples of Christian Discipleship in the church, human but striving for perfection, (as they all vow in the ordination process) not changing church policy to allow for their weaknesses.

We affirm the statement in the Book of Discipline that requires our pastors to maintain fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness.

We stand in opposition to Bishops, District Superintendents, and those in positions of authority in our church, who choose not to enforce the Disciplinary mandates and especially those who chose to ignore the fact that some of the pastors they appoint make no effort to disguise that they are practicing homosexuals. They close their eyes & ears so that they don’t see or hear the "self- avowed" part and therefore knowingly appoint pastors who are actively and intentionally disobedient to the Book of Discipline and the Word of God. (According to the Book of Discipline, a self-avowed practicing homosexual is one who openly acknowledges to a Bishop, a District Superintendent, the District Committee on Ordained Ministry, the Board of Ordained Ministry or clergy session that the person is a practicing homosexual) By their weak response or inaction, they have violated the essence of the Discipline that they vow to uphold. Our churches are paying the price for their failure and they need to be held accountable.

The church has a mandate from God to lead people to Jesus Christ - that is our sole purpose for existing. In the process of doing that, we are called to prepare their hearts by serving and meeting their needs. We have done a grave disservice to the very people we have been called to serve and lead out of captivity when we try to convince them that it’s good to be in captivity and that God designed it that way. Shame on you who repent of racism and cry out loudly against sexism only to keep homosexuals in a different kind of slavery, slavery to sin.

We take our stand with Jesus Who said He was sent "to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed." (Luke 4:18b) and with Moses when he stood up to Pharaoh, as directed by God, and said, "Let My People Go!"

click to endorse the statement
please include your name and church
click for printable copy for distribution



click to endorse the statement
please include your name and church

Jeffrey Hall
Hartwick UMC,
Hartwick, NY
Donald Eiken
25634 S. Ribbonwood Dr.
Sun Lakes, AZ 85248

Sun Lakes United Methodist Church
Rev. Thomas Bentum
Fairfield United Methodist Church
Fairfield, Maine

Coordinator for The New England Conference Confessing Movement Association

Rev. Robert Leon
Chebeague United Methodist Church
Diane C. Leon
Chebeague UMC
Richard L. Kuhn, Jr.
Lay Speaker and Chairman, Council on Ministries
Langdale UMC
Valley, AL
I agree with the statement. It makes it very clear that we can love the sinner without embracing the sin. May God heal our church and may the true reconciler, Jesus Christ, liberate us all from our sins whether it be homosexuality or anything else.

Kyle P. Quinn, Declared Candidate for Elder
Emmanuel UMC
Memphis, TN

I wholeheartedly endore the Columbus Affirmation!

Pastor David V. Ford
New Town United Methodist Church
Williamsburg, Virginia

Dr. Ronald A. Greilich (ret clergy)
California/Nevada Annual Conference
1480 Santa Ana Ave.
Clovis, CA 93611-4049
I endorse this thoughtful response to the New England Declaration.

Charles L. Harrell, M.Div., Ph.D.
Senior Pastor, St. Paul UM Church
Lusby, Maryland
when I became a member of the UMC, no one asked me my sexual orientation. If a homosexual came through our door, and didn't act out, we wouldn't know the difference. I fully endorse the feelings of the body, we don't need this crap to be flaunted before our kids, and in our church. If a homosexual wanted to repent of his misdeeds, it would be a different story, but that is not the case. They want to rub our noses in their homosexuality, have parades, have meetings, etc. like it were a badge of honor. If we have pastors or persons in high office in the church, who openly flaunt their homosexuality, fire them immediately, if not sooner.
Howard V. Miller
Fairfield Center UMC
Fairfield Center Maine.
Please add my endorsement.

Consider this also a call for our Bishops to end their less than inspiring,
institutional silence.

Steven H. Zinser
Endorsed Chaplain
My name is Glen Spann. I am an ordained elder in full connection; my Annual Conference is the Texas Annual Conference. I am on appointment beyond the local church at Asbury College in Wilmore, KY, where I am a professor. I also serve a church part-time here in the Kentucky Conference; that church is Gunn's Chapel, a congregation very much in sympathy with your statement and a congregation which in the past has taken a very public stand against the homosexual agenda in our church. I am also a member of the advisory board for UMAction.
May God bless you.
I want to add my endorsement to the Open Letter response to the New England Declaration. I belive that this letter is a well crafted response to the Declaration. I believe General Conference actions dictate the position of the UM Church and those wishing to stand outside need to be called to accountability. I believe, as other writers have stated, that in a connectional church response from through the connection are valid. Thank you for taking the time and effort needed for sharing this response.

In Christ,
Rev. Larry A. Hakes
Albany UMC, Albany, WI
I was at the Annual Conference at which the original New England Declaration was presented. Pastors I knew as well as Lay came forward to support it. I felt ambushed with no other way of expressing my belief that what had been presented was not of God. I could only sit when they called for people to stand in support. At the time it was my only way of saying this rebellion, at what General Conference had discerned as God's heart for the UMC, was fundamentally wrong. I experienced a grieving of the Holy Spirit within my spirit. My husband and I welcome the opportunity to endorse what we believe.  
Striving to be Faithful to God's Leading,
Laurie and Phil Perkins
Carter Memorial UMC
Needham, MA
By endorsing this statement we become in the current vernacular "haters." But, how can we love sinners, whether homosexual sinners or heterosexual sinners and allow them to continue unchallenged in their sins? By affirming homosexuality, those who claim to love homosexuals only entrench them in their sin. This is not love. I heartily endorse this statement. Thank you for writing it.

Jada D. L. Hodgson
Osawatomie First United Methodist Church
Osawatomie, Kansas
   I am grateful for the excellent response to the New England Declaration. I support it in both tone and content.  It is a well-crafted statement, faithful to Biblical truth, and unapologetic in spirit.
   James V. Heidinger II
   118 Fairway Drive,
   Nicholasville, KY 40356
I fully endorse your open letter in response to the "New England Declaration"

The NE Declaration does not speak for all in New England. There is great confusion in the church because of the word tolerance. Being tolerant does not imply agreement with the statement. Nor does disagreement imply intolerance and "hate". The full truth of God's word declared will be viewed by the world as intolerant. We must stand for what is true. God hates sinfulness of any kind, yet if we recognize our sinfulness and depend on God to cleanse us and keep us through the blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we can be truly free.

I hope this letter will get as wide a distribution as the "Declaration" had.

In Christ, Larry Berg Carter
Memorial UMC
Needham, MA

I endorse this statement. My name is Merriel Oliver and I attend the Tunkhannock, PA United Methodist Church.
Bob Farmer
Bethesda UMC
Damascus, MD
I endorse fully your "Open Letter...".
Douglas George - Cristian Education Advocate
Carter Memorial UMC
Needham, Ma.

In addition I would like to point out the following to those of us who accept the truth of the sinfullness of homosexuallity and don't stand up for it.

1. We are commanded by the Lord to "let our light shine...". Not to do so is against His will.
2. If we truly care for those brothers and sisters of ours who are stuck in this lifestyle and we do nothing to bring them to repentance, then we don't have the selfless love of Jesus Christ in us.
3. The most often used defense I've encountered amongst Christians who support homosexuality is the fact that Jesus never spoke on the subject. They should read Matt 5: 17-20.

By His Spirit:

Doug George

Dear Friends,

Your open letter to the New England Annual Conference deserves a full endorsement. I want to be counted as supporting your condemnation of the so-called New England Declaration 2000. It is a sad day when persons who claim to espouse the gospel of salvation actually participate in encouraging self-imposed slavery. Instead of helping young people avoid the pit of sodomy, instead of rescuing those who have succumbed, they would offer through ecclesiastical fiat a newfangled statutory relief that cannot possibly stand the test of time.

Just as our General Conference repented of its past sins in support of racial slavery, the day will come when support of sexual slavery will call for repentance.

Every effort, including your thorough and excellent response, should be made to point out the error and harm done by those who issued the "declaration." But, if there is no change in their position or willingness to support the denomination's rule, it behooves the church to remove the signers from our ranks. There are times when integrity (of those on both sides of moral issues) is more important than unity, else that unity is a sham, that gives no honor to the Christ.

In the Master's Name,

Charles F. Cooley, member
West Ohio United Methodist Annual Conference
4922 Honeysuckle Blvd.
Columbus, Ohio 43230
We fully endorse this at the Rio Linda Community United Methodist Church in the CA/NV Conference. We have lost members and funding because of the lack of enforcement of the Discipline. We are continuing at an accelerating rate to lose evangelical pastor's, members, and sometimes the overwhelming majority of entire congregations who support the position of the UMC but are in a conference & jurisdiction in open defiance of the law of the Church. Rev. Richard E. Pitcher
Wesley Putnam
General evangelist
1320 Brown Trail
Bedford, TX

Earlier today I signed on in support of this refutation of the NE Declaration, but I didn't provide any "feedback".  Early in this "Open Letter", the document states that God "...desires that none should perish...", obviously referring to Second Peter, Chapter 3.

I've heard many UM clergy cite this fragment as though it were an entire verse unto itself.  They seem baffled when I ask them to finish the sentence ("...but that all should come to repentance.")  The repentance is necessary; without it there is no salvation.

So with this suggested addition, I wholeheartedly support this Open Letter. I pray (from here in the Western Jurisdiction while praying is still authorized :) ) that the New England area and other conferences and jurisdictions being lulled into complacency by the Deceiver will arise and walk in the light of Jesus' love.

Pat Bailey
Bremerton WA
Donald B. Benson, Ph.D., M.Div.
Woodside United Methodist Church
Mamers, North Carolina
Neil Gastonguay

EverGreen/Fairfield Center UMCs
I endorse this Reponse to the New England Declaration.

Lisa Gastonguay
EverGreen United Methodist Fellowship
Pittsfield, Maine
Pat Bailey
Silverdale UMC
Denise E. Downing
Chichester UMC
Chichester NH.
Rev. Bradley C. Knepp
16 Hilltop Drive
Mt Holly Springs, PA 17065
Pastor, Mt. Holly Springs UMC

Isaiah 5:20 -- "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!"
I endorse the Response to the New England Declaration written by Sharon Boyden.
Rev. Stephen E. Bascom, Sr.
Centenary UMC
Skowhegan, ME
I pray for more endorsements from the New England churches.  The Bible dictates right from wrong and we need to follow it.  We need to spend our time living and proclaiming God's word, not looking for ways to get around it.

Robbin R. Grill
143 High Street
Boscawen, NH  03303-2807

Chichester UMC, Chichester, NH
Gods call to be obedient requires standing for the faith in unpleasant and difficult times.
Today is such a time and the "Open Letter to the NEC" conveys obedience to Gods will.
Standing for the faith will insure that the called are attacked and called names or worse yet that is the place for Gods children in these human feeling led times.

In Jesus who makes us whole
tom weathers
Lay Speaker and Lay Leader
Tuolumne UMC
Tuolumne Ca.
Fernando Q. Gouvea
Pleasant Street UMC
Waterville, ME
I completely endorse this response to the New England Annual Conference. 

John Cadman
People's United Methodist Church
So. Portland, ME  04106
A very articulate statement!
Fred and Dianne Yosua
Peoples UMC, South Portland, ME
Melissa Yosua
Peoples United Methodist Church, South Portland, Maine
                            REV.JERRY PUTNAM                                    
                        SENIOR PASTOR                                           
                    ASBURY UMC                                                  
                DENTON, TX.    
Lorraine Fitzpatrick

Brownville Jct. United Methodist Church
I wish to add my name to the Open Letter by Sharon Boyden.
         Rev. Daniel V. Weaver, Exeter United Methdodist Church, Exeter, NH
Russell C. Wentling
17 General Lawrence Rd.
South Yarmouth, MA 02664
Retired Elder, Eastern PA Conf.

Let us be like Phineas, of whom it was said that he was as zealous for the honor of God as is God Himself
At last!  This letter is the answer to our prayers.  The New England
Declaration had left us
feeling discouraged and questioning where the UMC was really heading.
To sit in silence is
not the answer nor if we hide our heads in the sand will it go away.  It
is our turn to speak
and we will he heard.
                        Stephen Dean      Brownville Junction UMC,
Brownville Jct. Maine
                        Glenna Dean             Northern Maine District,
New England Conference
                        (Certified Lay Speakers)
I strongly endorse this response to the New England Deceleration
Alan R. Grill
Chichester United Methodist Church
"But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that, while we
were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:8
Thank You.
Alan R. Grill
Robbin R. Grill
Chichester UMC
Chichester, NH
I endorse the statement as written.

Marie B. Quale
Corinth United Methodist Church
Corinth, Maine  04427
I affirm this declaration.  Barry Hallman, pastor, Henryville UMC
Edward and Georgia Smart, Howland UMC, Howland, Maine
John and Charlene French, Corinth United Methodist Church, E. Corinth,
Judith Bascom
Centenary UMC
Skowhegan ME.
I endorse this response to the New England Declaration written by Sharon Boydon, I do so as an individual , not as a representative of my local congregation. I stand by Romans 3:23, " For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." I serve a living Redeemer, who came to set the captives free and to those who were in bondage, sweet liberty! God is more than able!
Judith Bascom
Centenary United Methodist Church
Skowhegan ME.
Rev. Walter R. Webb
Trinity and New Sharon United Methodist Churches
Farmington, Maine
I fully support this compassionate yet bold response which articulates much of what I have been discerning needs to be said - Praise the Lord someone has the motivation to say this, since so many of us feel the same !
Rev. Michael Pike revmpike@msn.com
Corinth United Methodist Church
Box 17 Corinth ME 04427
(207)285-3557 or 285-3515 (home)
I fervently endorse this response to the New England Annual Conference. Jesus welcomed all sinners who chose to accept His free gift of salvation, but He and the Apostles did not teach that after conversion it was all right to continue in a habitual practice of sin. The Church needs to uphold this divinely revealed truth from Scripture in Holy Spirit boldness.

Gary Loy, B.A., O.S.L.
Main Street United Methodist Church, Kernersville, NC
Seminarian, Regent University Divinity School, Virginia Beach, VA

Mickey Phillips
Holly Pond UMC
Holly Pond, AL
Joan Ritta
1st UMC
Heber Springs, AR
I affirm the statement.  Rudy Guess, Gardendale-Mt. Vernon, North Alabama
Russ Knight

Celebration Church (Non-denominational)

Perry FL

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:26-31).

Jake Barker & Charlotte Armstrong-Barker
First UMC
Checotah, Oklahoma
1 Kings 15: 11-12 And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made
Due to our connectional nature, I feel it is my business what happens in
New England. Therefore, I strongly endorse this statement of reaction to
the "New England Declaration".

Rev. J. S. Graham
Dawson Springs FUMC
Kentucky Conference
Pastor R. K. Vineyard
Oceana/Sun Hill Charge
Oceana, WV
Thomas Illman, local church lay speaker
Vasa UMC (Finland-Swedish Provisional Annual Conference)
I most heartily agree with this statement.

Joe McManus
First United Methodist Church
Goliad, Texas

"But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in
your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit."
                 Jude 1:20
The Rev. Dr. C. Karen Covey Moore
Pastor, Peniel UMC
Newport, DE
NEJ Coordinator, Confessing Movement
James Gibson
Marshallville United Methodist Church
Marshallville, GA
Tom Graffagnino
Hamilton UMC
Hamilton, GA
John Warrener
Palmyra Road, UMC
Albany, GA
I offer my wholehearted endorsement of this statment.   "Ye Shall Know the Truth and the Truth will make you free."      I pray for all who are in bondage to sin to find the Santifying Power of the Holy Spirit that Makes them free.

Dwain Whitehurst,  Elder
The Mississippi Conference
Iuka South Charge

Rev. Roy E. Jacobsen, Trinity UMC, Windsor, CT   NY Conference
Luke Callaway
St. Mark UMC
Atlanta, GA
We are concerned Methodist's from Saint Luke's in Fresno, CA. We stand by your declaration. Methodists from all over the United States, were is your outrage, stand up and let your bishops know how you feel about what is going on in conferences all over the United States.

Michelle and Randy Griggs

Rev. Jeffrey Foster
Hohenwald Circuit United Methodist Church
112 Cedar St.
Hohenwald, TN 38462
This statement says everything that I wish I had said. Therefore, I pray that everyone who reads this statement will endorse it. We are charged with making disciples of all peoples and that includes bringing ALL us sinners into the loving arms of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who died for those sins.

Barry M. Watkins        Gibson Corners United Methodist Church  (NY)

Norman Carter
Hot Springs Village
Richard Dalfiume
Nichols UMC
Nichols, NY
the Rev. John M. Dunnack
Conference Confessing Coordinator
Red Lion UMC
Bear, DE  19701
William W. Hamilton
Bethany United Methodist Church
Smyrna, GA 30080
I strongly endorse this statement.
Robert H. Klingerman
Cokesbury UMC
Knoxville TN
Bill Wells
First UMC
Johnson City, TN 37604
Rev. Carson Daniel Lauffer
1500 Rock Run Drive #3D
Crest Hill, Illinois 60435

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