United Methodists apologize to LGBT members

As a life long Methodist, I am concerned about the direction that some in the Methodist church have taken. It surprises me that we would be apologizing for the bad behavior of others that in reality not only do they do not follow the laws of God and Christ but willingly flaunt it on others. No one is arguing the point that we have all sinned and continue to sin and God loves us even though we have clay feet. But it is written that we must move away from our sins if we expect to sit with God and accept his judgement; not embellish them.

And God has always existed as judge over His creation. But we need to understand how He judges, when He judges and why He judges. Knowing how, when and why He judges helps us understand the kinds of judgment written in the Bible

“God is the judge of men’s actions” (Genesis 18:20-25).

Psalms 75:7 declares, “But God is the Judge; He puts down one, and exalts another.’ Nebuchadnezzar came to understand this (Daniel 4:37), and Daniel passed on this truth to the blasphemous Belshazzar (Daniel 5:21-22)

Sin is always judged to be worthy of death (Romans 6:23), and therefore the whole world is guilty before God (Romans 3:19), and death is upon all because of their sin (Romans 5:12).

David saw God’s judgments in all His works and recognized that they were apparent throughout the creation (Psalms 105:5, 7). David knew all God’s decisions regarding him were right and in his best interest. Therefore David praised God continually for His faithful judgments in his life (Psalms 119:20; Psalms 119:62; Psalms 119:75).


H/T to Bill

Shared from the 6/23/2019 Chattanooga eEdition 

Originally Posted in The Tennessean June 20th, 2019


TENNESSEE

United Methodists apologize to LGBT members

Picture

United Methodists in Tennessee are apologizing to their LGBT members for the harm they say their denomination caused earlier this year when its top policy making body upheld the church’s ban on same-sex marriage and gay clergy.

Voting delegates at the Tennessee Annual Conference passed a resolution June 14 expressing remorse to those hurt by the global church’s February decision. The move comes as human sexuality issues continue to divide the United Methodist Church, which is the nation’s second largest Protestant denomination.

Image result for Rev. Paul PurdueThe Rev. Paul Purdue, who leads Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville, supported the apology. Members of his congregation have long been a part of the push toward full inclusion for LGBT people within the denomination.

“I just think that harm was done and we’re seeking to be reconciled to people and to tell people they’re loved and welcomed by God,” Purdue said.

“It is so important to make space for people to hear from and connect with Jesus Christ and then allow Jesus to be the one to guide their hearts and lives. To me that’s the key thing.”

“Let us move forward so that all ages, nations, races, classes, cultures, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities are fully included into every aspect of our communal life. Let us reject the stale bread of cynicism and decline. Let us believe the Good News that Christ brings salvation, liberation and transformation to even broken sinful institutions. Hallelujah- now the harder work begins!”

The resolution says the approval of the Traditional Plan by the specially called 2019 General Conference in St. Louis caused harm to LGBT people.

The Traditional Plan reinforced the denomination’s current prohibitions on same-sex marriage and LGBT ordination while strengthening enforcement of the policies.

The resolution, a nonbinding statement that has been described as aspirational, urges lay and clergy in the Tennessee Conference to consider church trials as a last resort when addressing issues of same-sex marriage and ordaining LGBT ministers.

The resolution also makes reference to how the denomination’s rule book states that the “practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

“We affirm that ‘all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God,’ and urge all in ministry, whether lay or clergy, to affirm that no human being is incompatible with Christian teaching,” the resolution states.

The conference overseeing East Tennessee, including Knoxville, also approved a resolution this month stating that they welcome and affirm LGBT members and grieve over the St. Louis decision.

In Middle Tennessee, the Rev. James Johnson Jr., who leads Gallatin First United Methodist Church in Gallatin, was among the 38% of delegates that voted against the Tennessee Conference resolution. He believes in the church’s current teachings on homosexuality and members of his congregation both agree and disagree with him.

Johnson thinks the people of the United Methodist Church realize and see that members of the LGBT community are hurting. But he did not feel an apology was the right step.

“My best understanding of the most sincere apology is one that says we won’t continue to do something,” Johnson said.

“I am not able to support a movement to do something different than what was passed at General Conference and so I could not in good conscience support that resolution.”

It is clear that human sexuality issues continue to divide the church in Middle Tennessee.

Bishop Bill McAlilly, who leads the United Methodist Church in much of Tennessee and western Kentucky, said those differing views are not unlike the political divisions in the state. But during last week’s annual conference, the delegates took care to discuss their opposing viewpoints with grace and compassion, he said.

“People were thoughtful in the words they chose,” McAlilly said. “I thought it was a positive sign for our people to be able to say we recognize that harm has been done and we seek to avoid harm in the future.”

2020 GENERAL

CONFERENCE

DELEGATES ARE

MORE DIVERSE

The annual conference also picked the voting delegates they will send to the 2020 General Conference where the denomination’s human sexuality debate is expected to surface again.

The delegates selected by the Tennessee Conference are a more diverse group than past years.

Women, people of color and those under the age of 35 are among the eight lay and clergy representatives from the Tennessee Conference that will be headed to the big, denominational meeting being held in Minneapolis next year.

There was a concerted effort to have more young people be a part of the Tennessee Conference’s delegation.

The Rev. Sam McGlothlin, a 32-yearold pastor at Belle Meade United Methodist Church, is among the eight delegates.

McGlothlin, an affirming pastor who personally supports same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy, does not know how the church will work through such a divisive issue, but she wants to be a part of the process.

“If we can remember that many of us have these foundational beliefs that have been set for a while and when we begin knocking at those foundational beliefs, it’s difficult for people,” McGlothlin said.

“I want to hold in tension that we can always be wrestling with our faith and asking new questions of our faith while also being compassionate and empathetic of one another.”

MORE YOUNG PEOPLE GOING INTO MINISTRY

The debate in the global church on samesex marriage and LGBT clergy is far from over and questions remain about the denomination’s future.

But at the Tennessee annual meeting, 28 young people were commissioned and ordained into ministry and 19 pastors were licensed. That is the largest group since McAlilly became bishop of the conference seven years ago.

“In spite of the challenges of our denomination, people are still responding to God’s calling on their life,” McAlilly said. “That’s exciting to me.”

TWO CONFERENCES

VOTE TO BECOME ONE

The Tennessee Conference also took a big step toward their own future. They voted in support of combining their conference with the Memphis Conference, which covers West Tennessee and western Kentucky.

The week prior, the smaller Memphis Conference also voted in support of uniting with the larger Tennessee Conference.

“We believe that it gives us a stronger connection that allows us to share our assets, our knowledge, our strengths, our gifts for ministry, McAlilly said. “We can be more efficient and more effective.”

McAlilly is already the bishop of both conferences and is one of the last in the denomination to be overseeing two. He has been intentional over the last six years of trying to combine as many of their operations and ministry work as possible.

A decline in membership was a factor in move.

“It’s no secret that mainline denominations are growing smaller and not larger,” McAlilly said. “One of the realities is that it is preparation for a future that may be more difficult to sustain on ones own.”

The decision to join together still needs another layer of approval, but the two conferences would start functioning as one by Jan. 1, 2021.

Contact Holly Meyer at hmeyer@tennessean. com or 615-259-8241

and on Twitter

@HollyAMeyer.

 

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