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Central PA to Consider Transforming Conference
- A Scriptural Approach to Homosexuality

This Resolution will be presented to the Central Penn. Conference, June 12-14. Please be in prayer for that conference. You are welcome to adapt this resolution for use in other conferences. Bob Kuyper, Editor, Transforming Congregations


Resolution for the Central PA Conference to be a Transforming Conference [R - 10]


Romans 12:2 - "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will."

WHEREAS, there have been two alternatives by which many churches have all too often responded to homosexuality:
the first is unloving exclusion and rejection; the second is unquestioning inclusion and approval.

WHEREAS, we believe there is another option available by which churches may choose to respond to homosexuality. We believe God can and does deliver people from a homosexual lifestyle through Christ's atonement and the Holy Spirit's sanctifying work. This is the transformational power of our Lord Jesus Christ - available to all - spoken of in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Romans 12:2; Galatians 5:16-25; 1 Peter 2:24; and exemplified especially in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are commanded to be not conformed to this world, but to transform this world to the mind, reason and Spirit of Jesus Christ.

WHEREAS, this special work of our Lord's transforming power is uniquely emphasized in our day by the rise of a movement of many who are overcoming homosexuality. Organizations like "Exodus International" (a Christ-centered coalition of "ex-gay" ministries) and "Transforming Congregations" (a network of redemptive churches, begun within our denomination) reach out with the biblical message of transformation from homosexuality.

WHEREAS, "Transforming Congregations" is committed to provide information, resources, and training to churches, districts and annual conferences in understanding and involvement in a ministry of transformation of homosexuals, and also to encourage transforming ministries based on loving compassion, scripture, and The Discipline of the United Methodist Church. Transforming Congregations seeks to:

AFFIRM the Biblical witness that homosexual practice is sin (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:9-10) and that the power of the Holy Spirit is available to transform the life of the homosexual (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Romans 12:2; Galatians 5:16-25; 1 Peter 2:24). MINISTER to persons struggling with homosexuality, their families, and all others affected by homosexuality as partners in Christ's work of healing. CALL the church to recognize its need for repentance and healing of its homophobic and accommodating responses. INTEGRATE all persons striving to live as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ into full membership in the local church. [Mission Statement of "Transforming Congregations" used by permission of Transforming Congregations, 724 Niles St, Bakersfield, CA 93305]

WHEREAS, in light of the need for a redemptive and pro-active response to the homosexual issues of our day that presents both Christ-like compassion and Christ-like standards of behavior, and in light of the fact that "Transforming Congregations" is a positive ministry with positive results that has been developed within The United Methodist Church and is easily adapted to the local church, we propose the Central Pennsylvania Conference go on record as affirming both traditional biblical teachings on sexuality and the desire to minister in a compassionate and healing way to men, women, and children with a homosexual orientation or behavior. Likewise, becoming a Transforming Congregation involves a local church going on record with similar affirmations. Becoming a Transforming Congregation is a way for a local congregation to stand against the trend to accept homosexuality as normal, and make themselves available to directly assist in the healing and transformational process.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the Central Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church become a Transforming Conference and thereby encourage local churches to become Transforming Congregations.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that our conference staff retrieve and disseminate to the local churches of our Annual Conference printed information and training resources from Transforming Congregations, 724 Niles St, Bakersfield, CA 93305, for our local congregations that request it, and that the associated costs of providing and mailing these resources be supported by our Conference budget.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we communicate with our local congregations the way to become a Transforming Congregation by sharing this resolution and the attached handout, "How to Become a Transforming Congregation" with our local congregations by way of our pastors, lay members, district superintendents, Conference Council on Ministries, Conference staff, Conference mailings, and The Link.

Submitted by clergy members: Bradley C. Knepp, Gene W. McCallips, David S. Miller, John S. Mullen, George S. Reynolds, Wayne G. Stebbins; additional clergy and laity signers (see Attachment)


[editorial note for web readers only: The following handout would be distributed to the local churches of the conference should the above resolution be adapted by the conference. The handout is therefore an approvable part of the resolution]


How To Become a Transforming Congregation - Handout

"Transforming Congregations" minister to the needs of all persons affected by homosexuality, utilizing the resources from both within and outside the Church in order to facilitate healing and wholeness (Romans 15:1-2; Galatians 6:1-2). Local Transforming Congregations integrate all repentant, redeemed persons, including homosexuals, into active membership and full participation in the life of the Church. The mission of "Transforming Congregations" is to:

AFFIRM the Biblical witness that homosexual practice is sin (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:9-10) and that the power of the Holy Spirit is available to transform the life of the homosexual (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Romans 12:2; Galatians 5:16-25; 1 Peter 2:24).

MINISTER to persons struggling with homosexuality, their families, and all others affected by homosexuality as partners in Christ's work of healing.

CALL the church to recognize its need for repentance and healing of its homophobic and accommodating responses.

INTEGRATE all persons striving to live as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ into full membership in the local church.

"Transforming Congregations" is a positive ministry - with positive results - for dealing with homosexuality that has been developed by people in the United Methodist Church. It can be easily adapted to any church situation, both large and small. Basically it is the underlying organization called "Transforming Congregations" that involves the local church going on record as affirming both: the traditional teachings of Jesus Christ and the Church on sexuality, and the congregation's desire to minister in a compassionate and healing way to men, women, and children with a homosexual orientation or behavior. Briefly, the ministry works this way:

  1. The local church undertakes a study of homosexuality from a biblical, pastoral, and psychological perspective. Based on that study, the Administrative Board / Church Council will adopt a statement expressing the congregation's position with respect to homosexuality. The statement would generally include an affirmation of our own United Methodist doctrinal statements affirming the historic Christian teachings on sexuality and homosexuality.

  2. It would recognize that the church's proper ministry to persons termed homosexuals is one that should be directed towards healing and heterosexual wholeness.

  3. It would be a statement that the congregation welcomes persons termed homosexuals who seek and really want to understand the church's ministry and the person of Jesus Christ.

  4. It is a commitment to support other Christian ministries whose purpose is the healing/transformation of the homosexual.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a Transforming Congregation, our conference, the Central Pennsylvania Conference - a Transforming Conference - can help you. Simply call the conference office at 1-800-874-8474 (or 717-652-0460) and ask for the information and training resources on "Transforming Congregations" to be sent to you for your church to evaluate and implement if your church chooses to do so. The cost of the materials and the mailing is paid for by the conference. You may also write the conference office at: Central PA Conference, Room 112, 900 S. Arlington Ave., Harrisburg, PA 17109.

The thousands and thousands of those who have found freedom from homosexual lifestyles are living evidence to the transforming power of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that it is possible for Jesus Christ to transform persons who have a homosexual orientation, or even those who have been living a lifestyle of homosexual behavior. The Church of Jesus Christ can minister to homosexuals without endorsing homosexuality, and you can do so in your local congregation by becoming a Transforming Congregation.

If you can use this in your conference, all the power to you. We have no copyright. Use whatever you want. Brad Knepp bcknepp@ruralife.net  


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