Dear Silent Bishop: (GC2016 Newsletter May 19)

Dear Bishop Silent:

For years you have told your clergy to come and converse with you about doing same gender weddings in our churches and in our ministry. You have told us to stay within the letter of the church law so that you can support us. You have reminded us that United Methodists do not agree. You have claimed to be a voice for unity.

Affirmation LogoYour ministry has been very strategic in positioning yourself and your cabinet to prevent trials in your Episcopal Area. In 1992, I would have been pleased with a bishop who was working with me to safely reach out in ministry. However, in 2016 our church needs bishops to faithfully welcome all people and prophetically call our church to change. Our world needs us to lead with bold inclusion.

I believe our church's position now perpetuates and empowers bigotry toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex members of our churches and communities. Our policies support those who refuse to open the doors of the church or society to all people. When good people are silent, exclusion and violence go unchallenged.

Your silence gives free rein to vigilante violence by people who believe they are morally righteous as they bludgeon and rape gays and lesbians. Too many people have been condemned. Too many youth have committed suicide. Too many of the best and brightest have left our church. When you are silent, the actions of bishops who support bigotry and condemnation speak for our church. I refuse to be silent when a Bishop pushes colleagues to leave the denomination.

My ministry has included doing multiple same gender weddings since they have been legal in my state and the blessing of relationships before the wedding option was legal. Churches where I have served have hosted services. I plan to publicly and joyfully live out my call to ministry for all people. I choose to be obedient to my Calling to Word, Sacrament, and Order to our world.

One day we will work together to joyfully lead the church into a new season of following God's call to welcome and serve all people. On that day, I will be proud to say, this is my bishop.

Your clergy colleague

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