Posted: March 6, 2004
The National Council, meeting in Sacramento this January, drafted the General Conference 2004 Platform Statement which summarizes the organization's focus of energy for the General Conference of The United Methodist Church. The document focuses on the traditional values of inclusion which our caucus has stood for since its founding in 1975 as well as highlight growing edges within the movement. The platform statement "We Are The Church" was informed by the work of a strategic visioning committee and local listening posts that occurred in these last two years.
Affirmation is the national caucus within The United Methodist Church for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns. The National Council meets three times a year in various parts of the United States and is made up of lay and clergy with leadership equally shared by men and women. The platform reads:
We Are The Church.
We, as Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns, call on the 2004 General Conference to act as Christ's Church to reject the powers of evil and proclaim an end to discrimination upon lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in church and society.
We support efforts at all levels to propose changes in The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church that acknowledge, support, and encourage growth and ministry of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, adults, families, and allies. This includes, but is not limited to:
We believe that the arguments over these issues are diversions to the church to keep The United Methodist Church from reaching out to the least, the lost and the lonely in the world. We yearn to use our gifts for healing as Jesus directed us.
We affirm the independence and academic integrity of schools, colleges, universities, and seminaries related to The United Methodist Church.
We affirm the mission and integrity of all the general boards, agencies, and commissions.
We affirm the continued movement of local churches to celebrate "open hearts, open minds, and open doors." The 2004 General Conference is our time to put these words into Gospel action.
Affirmation historically has stood for making inclusiveness real in the church. Inclusiveness is rooted in the reality that all are saved in the redemptive act of Jesus Christ and that the church, those called by God's grace to follow Christ, consists of many members with different gifts. The church has often insisted that one of the parts of the body is actually the whole body, consequently denying the other parts of the body.
For the church to be fully the church, we United Methodists must root out the racism corroding its institutional life, the sexism continually reinforced by a system of male privilege, and the dependence on class privilege at the heart of our institutional functioning. We rejoice in the many gifts given by the Spirit to the church's many different parts, and deplore all efforts to exclude to any degree, whether by intention or effect, any group from participation in the life and ministry of the church. A diverse church celebrates the lives of individuals of all sexual orientations, genders, gender identities, gender expressions, racial/ethnic groups, physical and mental abilities, ages, and varieties of relationships.
In 2004, we recommit to build Christ's Church for this and future generations: a church willing to witness, a church willing to grow, a church for all people who identify as United Methodists.
This statement was originally published in Affirmation Newsletter, Winter 2004 (PDF Format, 224K).