The Spirit of God Continues to Lead

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.

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