A Pastoral Response to 'A Love Letter To Our Church From LGBTQI Religious Leaders'

A Pastoral Response to 'A Love Letter To Our Church From LGBTQI Religious Leaders'

5/17/2016

We speak from among those who are called to shepherd the United Methodist flock. Our hearts break knowing that some United Methodists from their suffering and vulnerability have written a love letter to our church at great risk to themselves. These persons are self-identified LGBTQI United Methodist leaders who faithfully serve throughout our connectional church, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and transforming the world by God’s grace. On May 9th they released their letter knowing that some might bring charges against them, strip them of their credentials, and even ask them to leave their beloved church. We are aware that there are others who facing great risk of rejection, retaliation and even harm, could not express their support by signing on publicly. These are all persons of extraordinary courage and profound love.

We know these brothers and sisters. We confirm and affirm that they are our sons and daughters in the faith, nurtured in the Wesleyan way, serving among us with love and gospel truth. God does love us all without exception.  But these our colleagues in ministry are weary of living in the closet, forced by their own church to be less than who they were made to be by our Creator God.  Even more, they are concerned about the well-being of LGBTQI young people who like them are hearing the call of God to serve as ordained clergy in The United Methodist Church and are in need of the church’s support and care.

We write our letter now to say to these sacred children of God and members of our United Methodist family that we love them and have been blessed by the many spiritual gifts that God has given them and that they have shared with us.  We have been blessed by their ministry in the church and throughout the world in the mighty name of Christ Jesus. We stand with them in their courageous witness to the church.  While they could have left, day by day they choose to stay because of their love for the church that baptized, nurtured and called them to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind, and to love their neighbor as they love themselves.  Even while marginalized and rejected by their mother church they love her back.

They remind us that Jesus consistently traveled to the margins of life where the forgotten, the rejected, the excluded, and those considered less than, lived.  It was at the margins of life that Jesus offered especially to those he found there, the mercy, grace and love of God. It saddens us that after all these years of knowing and proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ, we United Methodists have yet to fully surrender to and follow the One who came that we would know that God loves us all.

It deeply concerns us that we United Methodists have failed to learn the lesson that the Apostle Peter learned through the Holy Spirit as God prepared him to meet Cornelius through whom God would show him that the gospel was to be shared with all people throughout the world. Nothing that God has made is unclean.  Under the anointing of the Holy Spirit Peter came to know that God shows no partiality, and that any one who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to God (Acts 10:1-36).

Our United Methodist Book of Discipline continues to bear legislative decisions that treat LGBTQI persons as if they were unclean because of their God-given gender identity. Even in their fear of God and their commitment to do what is right and acceptable before God we have judged our LGBTQI brothers and sisters as unworthy of being full members of the body of Christ. God have mercy upon us!

When shall we United Methodists have the courage of Peter to stand and say that nothing that God has made is unclean? When shall we believe that the love of God is truly for all?  When shall we learn to live in faith and humility before our God of love?

We call The United Methodist Church to repentance for its lack of love for all God’s children, and for its arrogance in believing that we establish the boundaries of God’s love. May we learn from our LGBTQI United Methodist religious leaders who give witness to us of what it means to love without exception as God loves. They teach us much about the love of Jesus within them as they extend love even to those who would turn them away.

Peace and Love,
Minerva G. Carcaño
Grant Hagiya
Robert T. Hoshibata
Warner H. Brown Jr.
Elaine J. W. Stanovsky
Judith Craig
Susan Murch Morrison
Calvin D. McConnell
Joseph H. Yeakel
Mary Ann Swenson
Beverly Shamana
C. Joseph Sprague
Alfred Johnson
Peggy A. Johnson
Susan W. Hassinger
Felton E. May
Sally Dyck
Elias G. Galvan
Daniel C. Arichea Jr.
Marshall (Jack) L. Meadors Jr.
Albert Frederick Mutti
Jane Allen Middleton
Donald A. Ott
Melvin G. Talbert
Sharon Z. Rader
Forest Stith
Roy Sano
Sudarshana Devadhar
 


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