I am a firm believer in coming out; I think every LGBTQIA person in the country, in the world, should come out. The more of us that are out and open, the less of ‘them’ — the bigots and the haters — to work denying us simple rights, civil rights.
So I was especially happy to hear that 111 United Methodist ministers have come out as LGBT in order to challenge their denomination’s ban on “practicing homosexuals” and as a way to influence a major church-wide vote on LGBT issues later this week.
Last week, the Reconciling Ministries Network [RMN], an LGBT advocacy group within the United Methodist Church [UMC], published a letter from 111 ministers who were now finally, and openly, declaring their dual identity as both clergy and LGBT persons.
In doing so they have stood out and proud in the face of church policy which prohibits the ordination of “self-avowed practicing homosexuals”. This move comes as thousands of UMC leaders gather in Portland, Oregon, for General Conference where delegates vote on issues of church governance and theology:
“As we gather in Portland to begin the 10 day discernment of God’s leading for The United Methodist Church known as General Conference, we, your Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, and Intersex (LGBTQI) religious leaders — local pastors, deacons, elders, and candidates for ministry — want to remind you of our covenant with you ….
While we have sought to remain faithful to our call and covenant, you have not always remained faithful to us. While you have welcomed us as pastors, youth leaders, district superintendents, bishops, professors, missionaries and other forms of religious service, you have required that we not bring our full selves to ministry, that we hide from view our sexual orientations and gender identities.
As long as we did this, you gladly affirmed our gifts and graces and used us to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world in the varied places you sent us.”
The good news is that this letter, and the coming out of those 111 members of the clergy, crashed the RMN website due to overwhelming traffic. The RMN then posted a version of the message on another blog, Believe Out Loud, where it continued to gather attention, mostly because those who signed the pledge could face repercussions — such as being defrocked — just for coming out.
This latest move by openly gay members of the UMC clergy follows that of a Kansas Methodist minister, the Reverend. Cynthia Meyer, who came out as gay to her congregation in a sermon, declaring that she is in a relationship with another woman.
Another pastor, the Reverend Michael Tupper, pastor of Parchment United Methodist Church in Parchment, Michigan, was disciplined by the UMC for officiating his daughter’s same-sex wedding and he has taken to sleeping in a tent for months to protest the church’s anti-LGBT stance.
Even in North Carolina … North Carolina … two men, the Reverend Val Rosenquist and Bishop Melvin Talbert, officiated a same-sex union in late April in direct defiance of church law. And last week, 15 Methodist clergy from the church’s New York Conference came out as LGBT.
The march goes on, and the more of us that are out and open and just living our lives honestly, the less chance those who wish to silence us, demean us, defame us, mistreat us, fire us, hate us, will be able to fight.
There is strength in numbers and in the UMC the number of openly LGBT clergy is on the move.
Oh, and before I forget, Welcome Out ... and let me run down to the warehouse and start sending out those 111 Coming Out Toaster ovens and the 111 copies of the Gay Agenda.
Rev. Jeanelle Ablola, Rev. Brian Adkins, Rev. Austin Adkinson, Rev. Dr. Israel Alvaran, Pastor Elyse Ambrose, Rev. Douglas A. Asbury, Rev. Jeanne Audrey Powers, M Barclay, Rev. Dr Bonnie Beckonchrist, Rev. Ann Berney, Rev. Anna Blaedel, Rev. Daryl Blanksma, Rev Jan Bolerjack, Rev. Dr. Joanne Calrson Brown, Rev. Kristan M. Burkert, Rev. John Cahall, Rev. James C. Carter, Rev. Dr. Nancy A. Carter, Rev. Randa Jean D'Aoust, Rev. Alex da Silva-Souto, Rev. Karen Damman, Rev. Diana Jani Darak-Druck, Sean P. Delmore, Rev. Greg Eaton, Rev. Dr. Karen Engelman, Rev. Dr. Janet Everhart, Rev. Anthony M. Fatta, Rev. Robert Gamble, Micah Gary-Fryer, Rev. Ruth Ann Charlotte Geiger, Rev. John Girard, Rev. Rebecca J. Girrell, Taylor Gould, Rev. Nancy Jean Goyings, Rev. John Edwin Griffin, Rev. Gregory D. Gross, Rev. Dr. Emily B.Hall, Rev. Trey Hall, Rev. Dr. Edward J. Hansen, Rev. Marcia Hauer, Rev. Michael A. House, Rev. Brittany Isaac, Rev. Monica Isaac, Rev. Marguerite Jhonson, Tyler R. Joyner, Rev. Elizabeth Jones, Rev. Lindsey Kerr, Rev. Dr. Jeanne G. Knepper, Ms. Ellen Knight, Rev. Katie M. Ladd, Pastor Bruce Lamb, Rev. Cathlynn Law, Rev. Ardis Letey, Rev. J. Daniel Lewis, Rev. Dr. Pamela R. Lightsey, Pastor Christine Lindeberg, Pastor Rolland Loomis, Rev. Kelly Love, Rev. Dr. Joretta Marshall, Pastor Lea Matthews, Rev. Courtney McHill, Rev. Ralph A. Merante, Rev. David W. Meredith, Rev. Cynthia Meyer, Rev. Jerry Miller, Rev. Sharon L. Moe ,Rev. Richard W. Moman, Rev. Deborah Morgan, Rachel Neer, Rev. Joshua M. Noblitt, Rev. Catherine Noellert, Rev. Gregory Norton, Rev. Dr. Karen P. Oliveto, Rev. Dr. Rebecca A. Parker, Rev. Lois McCullen Parr, Rev. Matthew A. Pearson, Rev. Drew Phoenix, Emily Pickens-Jones, Rev. Jay K. Pierce, Kendall Protzmann, Pastor Kathleen Reynolds, Pastor Jonathan E. Rodríguez-Cintrón, Rev. Daniel Sailer, Rev. Siobhan A. Sargent, Kenneth M. Schoon, Rev. Tyler Schwaller, Kimberly Scott, Pastor Ryan J. Scott, Rev. Patricia Simpson, Rev. Kim A. Smith, Rev. Althea Spencer Miller, Rev. Terri J. Stewart, Rev. Katie Stickney, Rev. Kristin G. Stoneking, Rev. Mark F. Sturgess, Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy, Rev. Frank E. Trotter, Jr., Rev. Martha E. Vink, Rev. Kathleen Weber, Rev. Dr. David Weekley, Marvin K. White, Rev. Dr. Mark E. Williams, Rev. Brenda S. Wills, Pastor Jarell Wilson, Rev. Angela G. Wolle, Rev. John Robert Wooden, Rev. Vicki L. Woods, Rev. Wendy Woodworth, Rev. Frank D. Wulf, Rev. Laura Young, Rev. Nancy Kay Yount