For Immediate Release, Thursday April 14, 2011

By Affirmation: United Methodists Co-spokesperson Tim Tennant-Jayne

Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns celebrates the recent Statement of Counsel to the Church – 2011 signed by nearly half of the retired United Methodist Bishops. This statement recognizes current errors in The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church and proclaims that indeed, all human beings are beloved Children of God. This is the message of inclusion Affirmation: United Methodists is promoting.

The signers of this statement are all respected leaders of our denomination. They come from all backgrounds, served in all geographic areas of our church, are diverse in much of their theology, and have all led our denomination with dignity and faithfulness for many years. Now, with the wisdom that can come with years, as well as the safety of being retired and less affected by denominational politics, they publicly speak on their concern about our denomination's official policy of exclusion. This statement shows that God is indeed leading our denomination in a new direction. They do not speak lightly when urging the General Conference delegates and the church members to make this change in the church’s laws and principles.

Affirmation: United Methodists officially began thirty-five years ago because there were no other voices calling for change in how this denomination regards persons of different sexual orientations and gender identification. Twenty years ago only one bishop was willing to publicly stand in opposition to the majority of the Council of Bishops and lead in a different direction. Today nearly one half of the delegates at the last General Conference and forty percent of the retired bishops are seeking to fully accept Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer individuals within this church. God continues to increase the numbers.

As Christians, we are live in the time when Christ is among us, yet we also look forward to the future fulfillment of God's Will on earth. Likewise, we who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer are finding ourselves in an almost, but not yet time. We recognize the hatred and challenges of this time. However, we also acknowledge the denominations which are fully welcoming of us. We celebrate those states where we can get legally married to the person we love and the increasing number of states recognizing civil unions for our families. And we celebrate the recent decision by President Obama that the federal so-called “Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)” is indeed unconstitutional and his administration will not support it. All of this shows the Spirit of God moving over our land, just as long ago it moved over the waters of the Red Sea. Even then, the Spirit caused great division among the people of God. Some wanted to stay in slavery because that was familiar. Others, including their leader Moses, wanted to move forward into the unknown. May we, like our spiritual ancestors of long ago, find the strength to follow God's Spirit into a new and unknown land. Affirmation: United Methodists thanks the leadership of these bishops for urging us forward.

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As an independent voice of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people, Affirmation: United Methodists radically reclaims the compassionate and transforming gospel of Jesus Christ by relentlessly pursuing full inclusion in the Church as we journey with the Spirit in creating God’s beloved community.

Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns is an activist, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization with no official ties to The United Methodist Church.

How to Contact Us:
umaffirmation_at_yahoo.com
http://www.umaffirm.org

Past Affirmation press releases are available at: http://group.yahoo.com/group/UMAffirmation_PressRelease/messages

To receive our press releases, send a blank email to: UMAffirmation_PressRelease-subscribe_at_yahoogroups.com

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For Immediate Release, Tuesday May 17, 2011

By Affirmation: United Methodists Co-spokesperson Tim Tennant-Jayne

Dear Ms. Hawkins:

Thank you for your prophetic words in your commentary, What I Didn’t Say at the Leadership Summit. Your presence at the Leadership Summit is a reminder that our United Methodist Church has very faithfully engaged in “addressing issues of inclusion” in the past. We recognized the importance of acknowledging that God’s children are of different genders, races, ages, ethnicities, national origins, and physical or mental abilities. And we continue to be aware of these concerns and know we must continue to address them. We have learned to discuss these concerns in faith and in love. Now this denomination needs to again expand our discussion of inclusion to embrace the issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Unfortunately, you also wrote very accurately that including this discussion in the Leadership Summit at that moment most likely “would somehow derail the conversation and undermine this attempt to initiate worldwide conversation on mission and ministry effectiveness.” It is good that the conversation you were a part of continued. However, if the discussion of overcoming our divisions is to honestly and fully continue, it is vital to prayerfully talk about sexual orientation and gender identity. Thank you for raising this concern. Our leadership can no longer avoid this discussion except by intentionally ignoring it.

Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns seeks the full inclusion of people of different gender identities and sexual orientations into The United Methodist Church. We look toward the coming day when our denomination fully acknowledges that we are all God’s beloved children. This discussion has been very painful in the past, for almost every person involved in it. We support your call for this discussion to continue in love and with respect for one another. We join with you, and with the Apostle Paul, in praying that our love will grow more and more and that our life in Christ will bring glory and praise to God. Amen. Hallelujah.

The Peace of Christ be with you,

Affirmation: United Methodists

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As an independent voice of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people, Affirmation: United Methodists radically reclaims the compassionate and transforming gospel of Jesus Christ by relentlessly pursuing full inclusion in the Church as we journey with the Spirit in creating God’s beloved community.

Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns is an activist, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization with no official ties to The United Methodist Church.

How to Contact Us:
umaffirmation_at_yahoo.com
http://www.umaffirm.org

Past Affirmation press releases are available at: http://group.yahoo.com/group/UMAffirmation_PressRelease/messages

To receive our press releases, send a blank email to: UMAffirmation_PressRelease-subscribe_at_yahoogroups.com

To subscribe to our news service, UMCalledOut, send a blank email to:
UMCalledOut-subscribe_at_yahoogroups.com

For Immediate Release, Tuesday May 31, 2011

By Affirmation: United Methodists Co-spokesperson Tim Tennant-Jayne

United Methodists celebrate the day in May, over two hundred years ago when John Wesley's “heart was strangely warmed” and he experienced the power of God's Spirit in his life. This event led the Rev. Wesley to found what is now The United Methodist Church. As we approach the anniversary of that momentous event, Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns celebrates how this May, the Spirit of God has warmed the hearts of the members of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and of the national legislative body in Uganda.

In the summer of 2010, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) removed the restrictions on Gay and Lesbian persons being ordained by and appointed to local churches. This was contingent on a majority of the local presbyteries confirming the legislation. This has now occurred. The Holy Spirit has led a majority of the presbyteries to approve that local congregations may now ordain and call any qualified persons as their pastors. No longer will the Church exclude some people because of their same gender sexual orientation.

Meanwhile, for two years Uganda’s parliament has been debating legislation that would establish very strict penalties on any person who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender; or on anyone who knows such a person and does not report them to the authorities. This has become widely known as the “Kill the Gays” bill. The legislature has now recessed for the season without passing this legislation, in spite of some recent movement towards passing it. Once again, God's Holy Spirit has moved across the land to spare God's children from potential persecution. Unfortunately, the legislators did not defeat the hate-filled bill, they only tabled it. However, we are grateful for this action.

Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns celebrates these recent actions of God's Spirit moving through human hearts, minds, and actions. We look toward the day when the delegates of a General Conference of The United Methodist Church will allow the Spirit of God to warm their hearts and remove the proscriptions against all qualified persons called and appointed to service its members and in its congregations. We look toward that day when The United Methodist Church will join the Presbyterian Church (USA), Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, and others in fully welcoming its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children.

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As an independent voice of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people, Affirmation: United Methodists radically reclaims the compassionate and transforming gospel of Jesus Christ by relentlessly pursuing full inclusion in the Church as we journey with the Spirit in creating God’s beloved community.

Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns is an activist, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization with no official ties to The United Methodist Church.

How to Contact Us:
umaffirmation_at_yahoo.com
http://www.umaffirm.org

Past Affirmation press releases are available at: http://group.yahoo.com/group/UMAffirmation_PressRelease/messages

To receive our press releases, send a blank email to: UMAffirmation_PressRelease-subscribe_at_yahoogroups.com

To subscribe to our news service, UMCalledOut, send a blank email to:
UMCalledOut-subscribe_at_yahoogroups.com

For Immediate Release, November 14, 2008

By Affirmation Co-spokespersons Diane DeLap & Tim Tennant-Jayne

The 2008 elections are over. On the one hand, we all breathe a sigh of
relief. No more attack ads. No more constant arguments over what candidate
said what. Also, these elections do bring hope. There is hope for the
future in the selection of a new President and in the ever-increasing number
of elected officials who are openly queer. On the other hand, the 2008
elections gave us several setbacks in civil rights.

"Same-gender marriage" bans passed in Arizona, Florida, and most
disappointingly, California where the status of thousands of same-gender
marriages is now unknown. We say "same-gender marriage" in quotes because
for us it's not "gay marriage" or "lesbian marriage." Also, the use of the
term "one man and one woman" in most of the legislation ignores the many
transgender and intersex citizens who are forced, under these statutes, to
remain unmarried. Civil marriage should simply be the life commitment of
one person to another. This is something fundamental and taken for granted
by a large portion of our populace. In addition, a ban on adoptions by gay
and lesbian couples and non-married heterosexual couples passed in Arkansas.
Our country has, since its beginning, rejected the influence of religious
opinions on civil law. The laws passed this week reflect a broadening
influence of religious fundamentalism on governments that could lead to far
more serious issues in the future.

Even where marriage rights are achieved at the state level, same-gender
couples still have to spend thousands of dollars on legal documents to
achieve the over 1,000 federal protections any opposite-gender couple can
get with a marriage license and a simple ceremony, either religious or
civil. We tire of paying first class taxes for second class citizenship in
a few states, third class citizenship in most of them.

There are those voices that claim this is just following biblical teachings.
Yet the fundamentals of those teachings are our equality before a God who
loves each of us as we are, wills the best for us, and urges us to treat one
another as we wish to be treated. There are those voices that claim this is
not the same as racial struggles for equal rights. The similarity is that
we can no more change our sexual orientation or gender identity than others
can change the color of their skin.

Affirmation will continue to work to open the hearts of The United Methodist
Church so that one day "Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds" will become a
reality. We will also work to rescind state and federal laws that relegate
us to second- and third-class citizenship.

We rejoice in the support of the United Methodist congregations,
conferences, pastors, members, and bishops in California who recognize the
basic human and civil right of two people legally uniting their lives.

There is, unfortunately, even in 2008, still much to do.

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As an independent voice of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer
people, Affirmation radically reclaims the compassionate and transforming
gospel of Jesus Christ by relentlessly pursuing full inclusion in the Church
as we journey with the Spirit in creating God's beloved community.

Affirmation is an activist, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization with
no official ties to The United Methodist Church.

How to Contact Us: email: umaffirmation@...
<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/affirmation/post?postID=KyEJodZJKggrmaJ5YR3uN
WxFHoxcNSGyRIMDYE4PSWjlmXEi6AYcnW6mc3BeLiZE8NjxhECmkUuaacMrnLEP>
Affirmation web: http://www.umaffirm.org

For Immediate Release, Wednesday July 13, 2011

By Affirmation: United Methodists Co-spokesperson Tim Tennant-Jayne

The end of June has long been a momentous time for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or an ally. June 27 and 28 are the anniversary of the ‘Stonewall Uprising’, marking a milestone in the formation of the modern lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. Now there are more reasons to celebrate this time of the year.

On June 23, a United Methodist church trial found the Reverend Amy DeLong innocent of being a “self-avowed, practicing homosexual.” DeLong was found guilty of officiating at the wedding of a lesbian couple. Previously, denominational courts defrocked or suspended indefinitely individuals declared guilty on either of these charges. For officiating at the ceremony, DeLong was given a 20 day suspension and ordered to write about how her actions affected the clergy covenant. It is the action of forbidding DeLong to minister to her parishioners that endangers the covenant between clergy, rather than her actions of ministry. Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns regrets that the Rev. DeLong had to face this trial. However, we rejoice in the court's decisions and that her punishment is relatively light.

Affirmation: United Methodists also celebrates the actions of two state legislatures. The New York legislature and governor legalized marriage equality for different sex as well as same sex couples on June 24. On June 29, the Rhode Island legislature and governor approved civil unions for same sex couples. While the later are not full marriage equality, they are a step in the direction of affirming love and relationships.

All of these events represent very good news within our society and within our church. The Spirit of God which ignited the first Christians at Pentecost continues to burn strongly. The on-going actions of anti-homosexual bullying that occurs in schools and in our communities shows that there are still far too many unenlightened places in our world. There are places where homophobia still exists. Likewise, The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church still supports this type of activity. The Church refuses to acknowledge God's Calling of well qualified individuals whose gifts include being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer. It also denies some members the full ministries of the church in the action of marriage. Affirmation: United Methodists celebrate the actions of Rev. DeLong's trial and of the States of New York and Rhode Island. We also acknowledge the amount of work that remains and re-dedicate ourselves to the task of aiding the United Methodist denomination allow God's redeeming love reign within our lives.

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As an independent voice of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people, Affirmation: United Methodists radically reclaims the compassionate and transforming gospel of Jesus Christ by relentlessly pursuing full inclusion in the Church as we journey with the Spirit in creating God’s beloved community.

Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns is an activist, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization with no official ties to The United Methodist Church.

How to Contact Us:
umaffirmation_at_yahoo.com

Past Affirmation press releases are available at: http://group.yahoo.com/group/UMAffirmation_PressRelease/messages

To receive our press releases, send a blank email to: UMAffirmation_PressRelease-subscribe_at_yahoogroups.com

>To subscribe to our news service, UMCalledOut, send a blank email to:
UMCalledOut-subscribe_at_yahoogroups.com

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