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Wisconsin Confessing Methodists Reject the Notion Christian Message Motivates Hate


["This page reflects actions taken by WACUM in the late 1990's and is included for archive purposes only. Current contact for the Wisconsin Association of Confessing United Methodists is Rev. Ethan Larson, president, 608-637-3551."]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

EAU CLAIRE, WI: "The Wisconsin Association of Confessing United Methodists condemns violence or hatred against any groups or individuals, whether based on sexual practice, race, nationality, or any other factor." This statement was issued in a resolution on hate crimes adopted at the group's regular Fall meeting November 7 in Lodi, Wisconsin. The resolution noted that "there is no place in the life of a Christian for hatred or violence against anyone." Furthermore, "hatred and violence only drive others farther from the healing love of Jesus Christ."

The Wisconsin Association of Confessing United Methodists (WACUM) called upon "all those expressing moral viewpoints . . . to do so with gentleness and charity, in keeping with God's grace." The group specifically dissociated itself "from those who proclaim that certain persons or groups are condemned by God more than any other person or group. We acknowledged that all persons alike are sinners in need of the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ." The WACUM resolution rejected the claim that "those who express traditional Christian viewpoints on issues of sexuality are somehow responsible for creating a climate that fosters hate crimes." "We deplore the insensitivity some Christians have shown toward gays and lesbians," said the Rev. Thomas Lambrecht, president of WACUM. "However, we believe the answer is not to change the traditional teaching of the Church, but to learn how to share Christ's truth in love."

Enacting this resolution climaxed the gathering that saw approximately 70 United Methodist laity and clergy talk about the practical implications of their theology. Rev. Eradio Valverde, pastor of Trinity UMC in San Antonio, Texas, gave two presentations during the day. Rev. Valverde participated in the theological dialogues sponsored by the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns in 1997-98. These dialogues produced the report, "In Search of Unity," which has been endorsed by the Wisconsin Annual Conference. Rev. Valverde's theme was "Sharing the Faith: How Our Theology Affects the Way We Do Church.'" He shared how he had been led to Christ in a United Methodist Church and experienced God's call into ministry there, as well. "Faith-sharing is at its core one person caring enough to share with another: This I believe.'" Rev. Valverde believes that, despite the importance of technology in the 21st Century, faith-sharing will always require a personal dimension. "There will always be the need for people to share their faith with others, one-to-one."

In other business, WACUM approved an annual budget of $9,100, supported by individual membership fees and other donations. The group also reelected Rev. Thomas Lambrecht (Eau Claire) as president, Rick Kindschi (Racine) as vice-president, and Rev. Jerry Lipka (De Forest) as Treasurer. Newly-elected secretary will be Karen Johnson (West Allis). Lay members of the Executive Council are Judy Gitchell (Clear Lake), John Hise (Neenah), and Steve Dirks (Waterford). Clergy members of the Executive Council are Rev. Steve Foster (Neenah), Rev. Forrest Wells (Lodi), and Rev. Deborah Gorman (Montfort). The group currently lists 250 individual members and 22 congregational members in Wisconsin.

Founded in 1996, WACUM is a state-organized branch of the national Confessing Movement Within the United Methodist Church. Its purpose is to confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in our lives, our congregations, and the United Methodist Church in Wisconsin. Its aims are: Promote personal and corporate spiritual renewal within the United Methodist Church. Proclaim and defend the apostolic Christian faith based on the full and primary authority of Scripture. Hold the United Methodist Church accountable for its doctrinal integrity based on the doctrinal standards of the United Methodist Church. Support and promote Biblically-based and Holy Spirit-empowered ministries within our communities, state, nation, and world in the name of Jesus Christ. Network with, support, and encourage like-minded members and congregations of the United Methodist Church in Wisconsin.

CONTACT: Rev. Tom Lambrecht, President, Wisconsin Association of Confessing United Methodists - 715-832-2333.

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FULL TEXT OF THE RESOLUTION ON HATE CRIMES FOLLOWS

RESOLUTION ON HATE CRIMES

WHEREAS, there is no place in the life of a Christian for hatred or violence against anyone (Matthew 5:21-24); and

WHEREAS, hatred and violence only drive others farther from the healing love of Jesus Christ (I Peter 3:1-2, 8-12); and

WHEREAS, the Social Principles state: "We support efforts to stop violence and other forms of coercion against gays and lesbians. We also commit ourselves to social witness against the coercion and marginalization of former homosexuals." (66H, 1996 Discipline)

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Wisconsin Association of Confessing United Methodists condemns violence or hatred against any groups or individuals, whether based on sexual practice, race, nationality, or any other factor.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Wisconsin Association of Confessing United Methodists calls upon all those expressing moral viewpoints based on Scripture and the tradition and teachings of the Christian Church to do so with gentleness and charity, in keeping with God's grace. We specifically dissociate ourselves from those who proclaim that certain persons or groups are condemned by God more than any other person or group. We acknowledge that all persons alike are sinners in need of the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Wisconsin Association of Confessing United Methodists rejects the notion that those who express traditional Christian viewpoints on issues of sexuality are somehow responsible for creating a climate that fosters hate crimes. We also object to any hate crime laws that would restrict the ability of Christians to preach and teach Biblical precepts.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we commit ourselves with all other Christians to strive to imitate Jesus Christ our Lord in word, thought, and action.

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