Over 100 United Methodist clergy members have come out as LGBT as part of an effort to convince the UMC to rethink their stance on gay marriage and the LGBT community.
The Huffington Post reports that the leaders of the United Methodist Church are scheduled to meet in Portland to consider around 1,000 legislative petitions in favor of embracing the LGBT community in the UMC.
More than 100 pastors, deacons, elders, and other leaders in the UMC released a letter right before this meeting, proclaiming their solidarity with the LGBT community and revealing their own affiliation with it.
“Our prayer, as the church begins its time of discernment, is that you will remember that there are nameless ones around the world, hungry for a word of hope and healing,” stated the letter. “LGBTQI people and their families exist in every church in every continent of this denomination. They are seeking to remain in faithful relationship with you, even when you refuse, because they know God’s tender mercies and great faithfulness.”
The UMC’s official stance regarding gay marriage is that UMC clergy are not authorized to perform gay marriage ceremonies, and members of the LGBT community cannot be ordained in the church.
Laura Young, an ordained UMC minister based in Westerville, Ohio, explained why the issue of LGBT rights in the church is important: “I signed the letter because I think that the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy that’s been operating in the church and in our society is damaging to a person’s soul.”
“The policies of the United Methodist Church ask LGBT people to live in secret and hide our light. God calls us to shine our light brightly, and it’s time to change these unjust policies,” she continued.
Matt Berryman, the executive director of Reconciling Ministries Network, said he hopes the leaders at the UMC meeting will choose to embrace the LGBT community:
“By refusing to obey the rules and moving forward with what we believe to be the right thing, it shows that the rules aren’t working, and it’s time for things to change,” he said. “It’s hard to expect how the Holy Spirit will move, but we do believe that anything can happen.”
Publication date: May 10, 2016