This statement remains posted for historical interest. The final list of laity signers. This statement was originally released on Saturday, March 7, 1998. Signatures were not collected after the United Methodist General Conference of 2000.
The tide of sentiment is growing against the 1996 addition to the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church which seeks to deny the celebration of holy unions to gay and lesbian persons. Around the country, clergy and laity are expressing their commitment to see The United Methodist Church truly become a denomination which invites, "all persons to be full participants in the life of the church, both in policy and practice."
United Methodist clergy are signing a new "Statement of Commitment," the purpose of which is to be a clear, unequivocal, public statement that holy unions for all persons, regardless of gender, are being celebrated and will continue to be celebrated, privately and publicly. Many lay folks are asking how they can show their solidarity with the pastors who have made this public commitment to follow the integrity of their faith. A "Laity Faith and Solidarity Pledge" has now been prepared for this purpose:
For many years, General Conference actions have added increasingly condemnatory and exclusionary language to The Book of Discipline concerning the full participation of gay and lesbian persons in our denomination. The 1996 General Conference added the words, "Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches," (¶ 65.C, 1996 Book of Discipline) to the Social Principles of the our church. We, the undersigned lay members of The United Methodist Church, have watched these developments with dismay.
We publicly affirm and celebrate the integrity, faithfulness, and courage of United Methodist clergypersons from around country who have signed the "Statement of Commitment" which states, "we will celebrate rites of union with all couples, regardless of gender, as part of the pastoral responsibilities consistent with the gospel and spirit of Jesus Christ...."
We further state that if any of these clergy and/or their congregations are subjected
to punitive reactions for their commitment to be a living witness to the gospel of Christ,
we will support them spiritually, morally, and financially to the best of our abilities.
Our support may include, but will not be limited to, personal and corporate prayer;
sponsoring educational events about covenant services, the Bible, and Wesleyan theology;
petitions and letters of support to the denominational hierarchy; attendance at church
trials; media publicity; and financial contributions.
To join us in this important, prophetic action, please indicate your support for this pledge by sending your name, email address, and Annual Conference affiliation via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us you are signing the Laity Pledge.
We will notify you that your signature has been received (if sent by email). We also urge you to send a personal letter, identifying your support for this pledge to your District Superintendent and Bishop. Please feel free to distribute this statement to other individuals who you feel would be willing to pledge their solidarity.
Issued by the Proclaiming the Vision Committee (3/98)
Greg Dell, "In All Things Charity;" Dick Royal Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA); Morris Floyd, Affirmation; Lawrence Jensen, "Supporting the Vision" from First United Methodist Church in Omaha, Mark Bowman, Director of Reconciling Congregations; Joanne Brown & Mark Henderson, CORNET; Laura Montgomery Rutt, National Organizer for Proclaiming the Vision, a project of MFSA. (This task force disbanded after Jimmy Creech's first trial. CORNET now maintains the Statement of Commitment signers' lists.)