Archive for November, 2013

Justice struggles

Dear Kindred in the Spirit,
It’s been a tough week for justice seekers in the United Methodist Church. Recent actions to deny gay people the right to have their pastors perform their marriage ceremonies have been widely publicized in the press and reveal an ugly side of the denomination which is mean-spirited, out-of-touch and legalistic. But the UMC also has long history of social justice commitment and faithful people working against discrimination and those who attended the Schaefer trial and Council of Bishop meeting find hope in the witness made by reconciling folks and by the truth of the inclusive gospel being told by Rev. Schaefer, his son and others. Persons and congregations have offered strong responses, like this response from Urban Village:

While we resonate deeply with and are truly proud of our denomination’s central theological beliefs and core mission, we disagree deeply with the current institutional policy that attempts to limit evangelism, discipleship, and ministry, as though the full expression of life in the church were only for people of some sexual orientations and gender identities, but not others. In the past week, we have seen this policy nakedly expressed: a bishop has been reprimanded for celebrating the wedding of two men and a pastor has been “found guilty” of officiating at his own son’s wedding to his male partner. This is hurtful to the body of Christ.

The Reconciling folks in Boston are planning a gathering for those who would like to grieve/vent/discuss these events next weekend but we’ll have Western MA opportunity to gather this Saturday (i.e. tomorrow), in the ELUMC parlor from 3-4. Drop by to light a candle, offer a prayer, discuss the situation with others and gather some hope for journey. I’ll provide the candles, the latest info, and hot water for tea, and you bring your own coffee. One of the most hope-filled things I’ve heard lately is the On Being interview with the Indigo Girls. While not specifically about these most recent UM actions, Emily Saliers and Amy Ray both have strong ties to the UMC, and they discuss the ongoing struggles of church and culture. It’s 51 minutes of hope and inspiration for the ongoing work of justice-making and the music that fuels our discipleship. Light a candle, adopt an attitude of prayer and treat yourself to its call to work of the gospel.

I’ll also be working in the office today until at least 6 p.m. in case anybody wants to drop by to talk. If I’m not there, wait a minute, I’m down at the Starbucks getting re-fueled. There’s also a chance to discuss these matters or whatever you’d like with the Bishop (I know he welcomes the conversation on these trials) on Saturday December 7 from 1:15-3:30 at Enfield UMC. There’s already a couple of folks planning on attending that event if you need a ride.

More information is available on the church’s facebook page– “like” us to keep up to date.


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