I am very grateful that I get to return home to the Mountain Sky area to continue the work we’ve begun there. The decision was confusing and I think it reflects the confusion we have in the church regarding human sexuality in general and the role that L.G.B.T.Q. people have in the life of the church. We’re not of one mind. And instead of offering each other grace, and allowing a difference of opinion to exist, we’ve become more rule-bound, which is creating fractures in the United Methodist Church. I think inherent to United Methodism is a grace that allows for tension of differences to exist.
I know there are people that are very upset that I’m a bishop in the church, but I’m committed to being a bishop that cares for them and prays for them and loves them. Because one part of the body of Christ cannot tell another, we have no need of you.
There’s a lot of people working very hard to make sure the church is big enough for everyone. And we’re not going anywhere. I would say that if you need to leave for your spiritual care, I understand. But I think there’s a love revolution going on in this church.
“I just hope we Methodists can find common ground” and prevent a schism from happening.
Scott Faldon, 49, Fort Smith, Ark.
Member of Goddard United Methodist Church
My great-grandfather was a Methodist preacher, my mother helped found a couple of Methodist churches, and I’ve been a Methodist all my life. A schism has been brewing for a bit now, and this might be the proverbial straw breaking the camel’s back. I just hope we Methodists can find common ground and prevent it from happening.
I feel this is very generational. Younger people, and my generation, I don’t think we have that much of a problem with it. But the older generation, the baby boomers, who are still in power in church leadership, they tend to. There are so many churches that skew so much older.
For the entire time that I’ve grown up in the church, there have been homosexual members serving in various roles, whether as music leader or Sunday school teacher, or something. So it’s just a matter of admitting that they’ve been a part of the church for decades. There’s no shame in it. They love the Lord and want to serve the Lord and serve their communities.
“It’s holding us back to be still fighting this.”
Stacey Sarnicola, 52, Brooklyn
Member of Park Slope United Methodist Church
The United States and other liberal-minded countries need to split from the African and Asian churches. That is the only resolution I can see. The people in my church have a committee that’s just about going to church conferences and trying to change the policy. Every year they come back disappointed.
They’ve been fighting this for the 20 years I’ve been there. Our country is progressing. Most Americans agree with marriage equality and gay rights. So it’s holding us back to be still fighting this. If the United Methodist Church is dwindling in the U.S., that’s why.
“I agree with the judicial council’s decision. … We all bring sins with us.”
Lisa Kindervatter, 60, Newtown, Pa.
I agree with the Judicial Council’s decisions. Unity of message and doctrine and vision between churches is important because it says, “as Methodists, this is what we believe.”
I have never heard the pastor of our church speak about homosexuality from the pulpit. I know his general views from one-on-one conversation, which are in line with the conservative viewpoint that the Bible speaks of homosexuality as a sin. The message is always in the context of love, mercy and grace.
Understanding that we all bring sins with us when we come to Jesus … whether it be bad choices, attitudes, addictions either chemical or sexual. As we confront those things when reading the scriptures, we are taught that yes, we must turn from those things, but He will help us and forgive and heal us. We have about 500 members and four services. New believers, not just transfers, are coming on a weekly basis.
“As of today, I forever leave behind the Methodist Church over this thoughtless, divisive decision.”
Dan Cox, 54, Los Angeles
Member of the Hollywood United Methodist Church
I have served the Methodist church my entire life with my talents, my time and my financial gifts. As of today, I forever leave behind the Methodist church over this thoughtless, divisive decision by a small group of small-minded leaders.
It’s been a really traumatic day. I’m getting emergency emails from my church, from my mother. My own church is even saying our response is to wait and pray. And I’m like, NO. I’ve waited 50 years. I’m tired of waiting until they behave like their religion tells them to.
One of the emails from a leader of the conference said if the church has hurt you in the past, then we apologize. It seems to be hurting the L.G.B.T. community even worse now.
The first dictate of the church is, spread the good news. We’re actually doing the opposite.
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