Story Of Convicted, Defrocked Lesbian UM Pastor To Become Pro-homosexuality "Jesus Film" On Public Broadcasting This Month
From: "umcornet" <umcornet@y...>
Date: Mon Dec 6, 2004 12:11 pm
Subject: Ubi caritas et amor, ubi caritas Deus ibi est
From Chris Paige.
Ubi caritas et amor, ubi caritas Deus ibi est
Where there is charity and love, God is there.
We were back at First United Methodist Church of Germantown this morning. God's sunlight was streaming through the stained glass windows to cast a wonderful light... just as it had in weeks before.
The morning started with a fun old-style Methodist Prayer Meeting that helped us to learn something more about the Methodist heritage of the congregation. The time for "testimony" offered a special opportunity for sharing feelings about what had happened in the past week -- pride, inspiration, healing and hurt.
The main service was in the style of the Taize community, which allowed for the congregation to be together through prayer and song without having to try to put words to the many feelings. We sang meditative hymns from Taize, including "Bless the Lord," "Laudate Omnes Gentes (Sing praises all you people)," "Ubi Caritas," "Veni Sancte Spiritus (Come Holy Spirit)," "Jesus, Remember Me," and "Jubilate Deo (Rejoice in the Lord)."
Beth and Fred said a few words before the service began. Beth's first words were greeted with a standing ovation that lasted quite some time (one news crew clocked it at 25 seconds). The service closed with communion -- only this time, Beth received communion with the rest of the congregation rather than presiding or serving. After the service, we proceeded to the church dining room where we and our parents (both Stroud and Paige) served lunch to the congregation (casseroles, of course!).
Once again, we were joined by all of the local media -- whose interest seems to be continuing (and a presence we are starting to get used to). Watching the news this evening, the media seems especially interested in Beth's continuing employment at the church. One of the tv crews was interviewing yet another supportive person from the church and asked, "Is there any chance of finding someone in the church who is not completely supportive?" (the answer was no!) A variety of church members were interviewed on camera expressing their support and concern.
We are eager for the broader public to know that there are people and congregations within Christianity that are welcoming of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people -- places where God's love for all people is proclaimed. We are thankful that this is part of the story that is being told, even through the secular media. Beth says that even the drive-thru attendant at the donut place inquired if she was doing ok.
Academy-award winning film-makers, Susan and Alan Raymond, will also be telling this story through "The Congregation" -- to air December 29, 2004 on PBS (check your local listings). While the premiere date was set months before the trial date, God has arranged things so that this event can help us to continue the conversation that has started around Beth's case. Please mark your calendars and spread the word! Consider whether this premiere might be an opportunity for you to encourage further conversations in your community.
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