Homosexual Advocates Launch Four-pronged Attack Against Christians in the UMC
From: "umcornet" <umcornet@y...>
Date: Wed Sep 1, 2004 11:25 am
Subject: Church Within A Church Calls for United Methodist Separation
Group says, "Let two new denominations be born!"
From the Church Within A Church
"To BE Church in a fully inclusive way." August 31, 2004
Dear Friends in Christ,
General Conference 2004 is a matter of record. Jurisdictional Conferences with their election of bishops have come and gone. Where are we as a denomination? Where are we as a church?
The United Methodist denomination is clearly split. The question is not so much whether that is or is not the reality as it is what to do about it!
The Church Within A Church Movement was organized in February of 2002, in response to the General Conference of 2000, and is now focused even more clearly since the results of the 2004 Conferences. We came together with a sense that the denomination's direction on inclusiveness was not exactly hopeful. Attacks were being made on the Commissions on Religion and Race and Status and Role of Women. Those attacks were not successful but they haven't stopped. Most apparent has been the now repeated intransigence and deepening rejection of persons based solely on their sexual orientation. Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender persons and their allies have not been afforded even the respect of recognizing that there is a difference of perspective within the denomination.
The hypocrisy of declaring that the United Methodist Church is a denomination of "Open hearts, Open minds and Open doors" is deeply offensive. To declare on the last day of the 2004 Conference that "as United Methodists we remain in covenant with one another, even in the midst of disagreement, and affirm our commitment to work together for our common mission of making disciples throughout the world," adds further insult to injury. We affirm that there are faithful folks and movements whose intent remains focused on reforming our denomination.
But Church Within A Church recognizes that there are a growing number of United Methodists who feel that the best stewardship of their resources for the struggle for full inclusiveness should not be directed primarily at continued legislative reform. Some of those believe that an institutional split -- as amicable as possible -- is where we should be. Let two new denominations be born! Others feel that it may not yet be time to separate institutionally but we should be prepared for that eventuality, should it occur. Still others see the primary call to be one of living out the vision of the fully inclusive church without heavy investment in efforts of reform.
The Church Within A Church Movement can offer a place of opportunity for progressive people in all three of those postures. We have already begun to consider, explore and implement:
1. Initiating and supporting congregations who may or may not be United Methodist but who will be Wesleyan in their understanding and fully inclusive (by race, gender, sexual orientation, ability and status) in their ministry, constituency and leadership. The one new congregation in that model already begun and growing is Bloom in the Desert Ministries in California. Other congregational models are being developed and encouraged.
2. The possibility of "irregular" ordination leading to gainful employment for qualified LGBT persons -- done in the spirit and model of the first ordination of women priests in the Episcopal Church.
3. Development and sharing of models for the blessing of same- gender covenant relationships.
4. The creation and distribution of progressive, liberal Christian education curriculum for children and adults. Such curriculum unapologetically teaches the scriptures in their affirmation of the goodness of all creation and our accountability to both celebrate and enable the awareness of that goodness.
Pilot projects of this work have already begun.
All of these plans spring from the movement's Action Plan which states: We commit ourselves as disciples of Jesus Christ to full inclusion of all persons without regard to status or economic condition and celebrating race, color, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identities.
To move forward with considering, refining, and implementing these plans, the Church Within A Church Movement will have a national meeting on October 15 and 16 in Chicago, Illinois. Part of our agenda we will be to develop further avenues of full participation of all people, and explore the implications of the new denominational discipline. We would like to invite you to be there. If you are interested in receiving details about the meeting, please return the enclosed form [CORNET ADDED NOTE: No form is attached to this email. If interested, contact Greg Dell] The form also provides a way for you to become part of this movement whether you will or will not be able to be present for the meeting.
We look forward to hearing from you soon! God's grace is alive and well.
Grace and peace,
Gregory Dell National Coordinator c/o Broadway United Methodist Church 3344 N. Broadway Chicago, IL 60657 padipilot@a... Phone: 773-348-2679
P.S. Please circulate this letter as widely as possible. Thanks for your help!
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