An Open Letter to Erin Hawkins

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.

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