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THE NORTHERN ILLINOIS DECLARATION

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NOVEBER 16, 1998

LETTERS FROM THE FRONT
Rev. Kent Svendsen
Nothern Illinois Conference Coordinator
Confessing Movement
Reporting

This is an actual E-Mail that I received only with the names and places deleted to protect the writer:


I belong to a UMC in ----------, Il and we are being held captive by the beliefs of the Bishop, DS and our pastors.

We are receiving one side of the issues, it's good and ok, but I believe we need to get the true side of the message to the members, but do not know how to approach this.

If you can provide some insight I would appreciate it and eventually so would those who hear the true words.

[Send your letters and questions to Letters From The Front at godrilla@accessus.net]


Dear Friend Of The Truth,

I keep coming back to your letter and just couldn't bring myself to delete it from my message board. It has inspired me to begin a new series in which others who share similiar views can write and receive counsel. As an ordained Elder, I sometimes think about how much easier it would be for me to just turn in my credentials and walk out of the denomination. But that is exactly what is wanted by those we oppose. They want us to either quit or sit in silence while they usher in a new era. This battle is very destructive to both our denomination and to our spiritual well being. Even more sad is the fact that it is only going to get worse.

We have a very hard reality to face. Consider the present social cilmate we face in our country. No matter where you would go this situation will still be looking you in the face. In the past the plea was to have a diversity of opinion and to just leave each other alone. However, that is not the case today. We now face angry confrontation and militant assault for any suggestion that views contraty to the Reconciling agenda hold any merit. The time is here in which our opponents are "out of the closet" and in order to protect ourselves many biblical Chirstians (Those who support orthodox scriptural views on the issue of Homosexuality) may be tempted to "enter the closet" to protect their jobs or careers. Don't let the tempation to run and hide overcome you, be courageous and stand strong. "God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid, but a spirit of power and love and self-control." (2 Timothy 1:7 New Century Version) So we must stay and fight, because this is as good a place as any to take a stand. We must stay and fight, because otherwise we would be abandoning our sisters and brothers in the faith if we left. Think about it, what would be happening right now if all those who had left had stayed and taken a courageous stand? Was it God's will that they left or their unwillingness to offer a bold witness in the face of adversity. Your orginal question asked what can be done to get the "true side of the message to our members". Well, here is something individuals can do to promote that cause.

ACTION PLAN: WHAT CAN I DO?

The biggest disadvantage we face is the supression of information. Most do not know about what is going on except for what is being "spoon fed" to them. The Reconciling Movement has the support of many within the upper leadership of the denomination either through the direct actions on the part of the clergy and bishops or indirectly by their being silent on the issue. Most will only address the issue when faced with angry confrontation and then their attempts are to minimize and suppress. The Bishops don't want full disclosure on these subjects because that would just add fuel to the conflict. Most sit in their pews each Sunday morning in ignorant bliss. Even those bishops who are sympathetic to our cause are pressured to suppress, because they are faced with militant Pro-Reconciling forces which will cause them serious grief and accuse them of "promoting hatred and violence" if they try to promote a balanced view.

Please pray for them. Sometimes you can just get tired and beaten down. You just don't want any more conflict, so it is easier to submit then it is to stand strong. This has happened over and over again wihtin our denomination. Consequently, what as been achieved by the Reconciling forces is a "call for openess and the sharing of ideas and perspectives", without it actually being offered. It just has the appearance of being offered. Unlike your situation, many parishioners do not know exactly where their pastor or delegate to annual conference stands on these issues. If you don't know, ask them about it. The views of your church body may not be the views that are expressed by voting at annual conference.

Here is another way to take individual actions. One very important source of information which is tightly controlled is the United Methodist Media sources. Perhaps there is something we can do to make them more willing to be open to allowing the expression of other viewpoints.

Action Item

(Note for other Annual Conferences who use the United Methodist Reporter contact your Conference Communications Chairperson)

FOR THOSE IN NOTHERN ILLINOIS Encouage othrs to write to:
Rev. Eugene Winkler,
Communications Committee Chairperson
The Northern Illinois Conference,
c/o Chicago Temple
77 W. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602:

Write to him about the United Methodist Reporter and other UM publications. Tell him you are tired of the lack of balance and the suppression of evangelical views and opinions. Tell him that you are tired of opening the paper and continually being bombarded with Reconciling promotional articles with no way for anyone to respond to those articles except through the occasional token "Letter To The Editor" that is allowed through. Tell him if things do not change, that you will begin supporting legislation to stop using the Reporter in our conference. We don't have to you know. They have no official ties to the General Conference and there are other conferences that do not use them as a media resouce.

ACTION ITEM FOR ALL UNITED METHODISTS

Also write a similiar letter to:

Ronald Patterson
Editor & Publisher
The United Methodist Reporter
PO Box 660275
Dallas, TX 75266-0275.