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Northern Illinois Congregations "Draw Line" with Conference Leadership and Stop Funding Bishop Sprague's Shenanigans

 News from The Daily Times of Ottawa, Illinois

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Local church leaders differ over gay issue

By JONATHAN BILYK -- Staff Writer

Local United Methodist Church leaders have lashed out against a recent measure by the church's regional governing body officially endorsed same-sex marriages and the ordination of homosexual ministers.

"A lot of people have been kept in the dark," said Karen Michelini, lay leader at Wedron United Methodist Church. "We've had our heads in the sand."

Last month, during its annual convention, the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church adopted a resolution opposing traditional UMC doctrine, which holds that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.

Instead, the resolution affirmed that "loving, monogamous, intimate relationships between persons of the same or opposite gender are an expression of God's love."

The resolution also calls on the church to drop its ban on the ordination of openly homosexual clergy.

"I was shocked and appalled," said Michelini. "This is a travesty."

In the weeks since, she said the Wedron church has acted, sending an official letter of objection and cutting off its contributions to the conference.

She painted the measure as a leading example of the UMC's loss of effectiveness in northern Illinois.

"It's just another sign that the Methodist church has regressed," said Michelini.

The Rev. Doug Williamson, pastor of Evangelical UMC in Ottawa, strongly echoed Michelini's sentiment.

"We believe that homosexual people, just as all human beings, are of worth," said Williamson. "But for the church to sanction the relationship, by performing a ceremony or ordination, is wrong."


Saturday, July 12, 2003

Methodists divided over same-sex unions

By JONATHAN BILYK -- Staff Writer

Battle lines have begun to form within the United Methodist Church over a recent endorsement of same-sex unions by the church's regional governing body.

And local Methodists have pledged to be on the forefront of the coming fight.

"This (resolution) does not represent the greater part of United Methodists," said the Rev. Doug Williamson, pastor of Evangelical UMC in Ottawa. "There's a somewhat silent group that are just beginning to see what is going on."

Wedron UMC lay leader Karen Michelini said she intends to tap into that "silent majority" through a lay organization set up to support traditional UMC teachings.

She believes a rift has formed between the church's laity and clergy over doctrinal matters, such as homosexuality.

"We're trying to put a network in place to encourage the laity to come forth," said Michelini.

She predicted some would leave the church, but she pledged to remain and fight.



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