April 20, 2000
(Chicago, IL) Religious leaders of color released a statement this week, calling the United Methodist Church (UMC) to accountability for its "continued overt or subtle forms of spiritual and physical violence" against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered clergy and members.
This unique statement, entitled "United Methodists of Color For A Fully Inclusive Church" was the result of conversations held during a landmark meeting of United Methodists of Color in Chicago on April 10. This statement follows the recent decision of Union UMC in Boston, a historic Black Methodist church, to work for the full inclusion of GLBT people.
The Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell, one of the convenors of the Chicago gathering and long time civil rights activist declared, "The statement on inclusively by 'People of Color' recognizes that many racial/ethnic persons have been 'absent' from the justice struggle for inclusion of Gays and Lesbians, and that justice and full inclusion for persons of color in church and society is yet to be attained. We believe that the denial and disrespect of GLBT persons by United Methodism violates our understandings of a Gospel of acceptance and liberation."
"Remembering the voices who have told us to wait on justice, we dispute the notion that issues of race and nationality are so overwhelming that to fight for another issue of injustice is to water down the movement," proclaims one section of the statement. "For the storehouses of God's justice do not run low, and we must recognize the interconnectedness of all forms of oppression if we are ever to achieve the Kindom. The realm of God is at hand."
The United Methodist General Conference, which meets once every four years to legislate church law, is being held May 2 - 12 in Cleveland, Ohio. The major struggle facing the church concerns the inclusion of GLBT people. Chief among these concerns it the reversal of church doctrine stating that "homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching."
The Rev. Caldwell concludes, "Because of conscience and commitment, we have come 'out' to express our concerns about and our willingness to work for the full inclusion of those whom the church has made 'incompatible' because of their sexual orientation."
People of color in the United Methodist Church are being asked to sign the statement. The statement can be read and signed at http://www.rcp.org/statement/ or by emailing email@example.com.
A M A R
Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Methodist Federation for Social Action
and Reconciling Congregation Program
Coordinators: Jeanne Knepper, Affirmation - Kathryn Johnson, MFSA - Marilyn Alexander, RCP
Contact: Marilyn Alexander