GC2012: A Witness to God's Radical Love

In a world full of hatred, we can strive to love our neighbor. Stand with us as we bear witness to the radical love of God!

For Love of God and Neighbor

A Common Witness to General Conference 2012

WE ARE people committed to following Jesus Christ to embody God’s love and justice through The United Methodist Church. Ever open to the surprising movement of the Holy Spirit in our midst as we strive to love our neighbors, we embrace our unity in Christ in the midst of diverse opinions to provide a Common Witness:

WE BELIEVE in a church that passionately works for racial justice. We rejoice in the historical diversity of the Wesleyan tradition and the stream of resistance to racism that has existed from the beginning. We confess that we also have a history of failing to eliminate prejudice, exploitation, oppression, fear and despair based on race and ethnicity. From the Ethiopian eunuch to the people of all nations at Pentecost, the church has a mandate to love our neighbors who comprise God’s diverse humanity.

WE BELIEVE in a church that embodies full inclusiveness. Jesus reached across lines of gender, class and religion. In the book of Acts, Peter was told not to call unclean what God has declared clean. The Gospel welcomes all people regardless of human distinctions through God’s grace. The invitation to Christ’s banquet table is for neighbors of every age, race, culture, nationality, theological perspective, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, mental and physical ability, economic condition, and marital status.

WE BELIEVE in a church that celebrates both women and men as equally created in God’s image and blessed with gifts and graces for leadership and ministry. The diversity of gender expression by both women and men is part of God’s creation. Cultural gender role expectations must not limit freedom in Christ. In particular, we recognize the importance of the historic mission work of the Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries and members of United Methodist Women as well as the women in so many countries who claim their rightful place in God’s mission and have blazed the trail of justice, service and righteousness for the entire church.

WE BELIEVE in a church that yearns to be global and connectional and addresses the residual structures of colonialism. Recognizing the membership growth within the Central Conferences, the tendency to focus upon U. S. issues at General Conference, and cultural issues with the Book of Discipline, we affirm that which moves us in the direction of 1) deeper connections throughout the global church, 2) greater local authority, and, 3) more equitable sharing of power, representation, and responsibility around the world. Regional (rather than global) decision making will have a profound effect on our ability to be in fruitful ministry in each local context.

WE BELIEVE in a church that ensures peaceful pursuit of self-determination and religious expression. We share with persons of other faiths the truth that has come to us through Jesus Christ, and we listen for truths we can learn from them. We do so in the hopes of deepening respect for one another, not to impose conversion nor express self-righteousness. We reject merging religious beliefs with nationalism or subjugating one belief system or cultural group to another. We deplore using religion to promote warfare or the exploitation of others and the earth. Leaders in all faith traditions must lead the way, modeling respect for all our neighbors and all of life.

WE BELIEVE in a church that proclaims the stewardship of creation joyfully and without reservation as an expression of social and environmental holiness. We confess our failure to recognize our essential interconnectedness with our environment, our exhaustion of resources, and our pollution of land, water, and air that threaten the continuation of our civilization. We urge the development of energy policies that aim at the well being of the whole world rather than simply the increase of goods and services.

WE BELIEVE in a church that strives for the economic justice called for in the scriptural witness: for fair scales and honest weights, to provide for the stranger, widow, and orphan, to forgive debts, and to live into the Jubilee. We recognize that economic injustice is linked to other forms of social evil, whether inequality based on race, gender, or sexual orientation, harm to creation, or the vast inequalities between nations and regions of the world that give rise to conflict and war. We hold that a nation’s greatness is measured by its treatment of its weakest members. To that end, we call for economic policies that reflect love of neighbor by ensuring such basic needs as food, clothing, shelter, quality education, health care, a clean environment and a living wage in a workplace open to collective bargaining and free from violence and coercion.

WE PLEDGE TO