By Gary Shephard    
General Conference 2016 is in the rearview mirror. However, for an issue extremely important to many of us, we
won’t have to wait until GC 2020 to see what’s next.

On the second Wednesday of GC 2016, the Council of Bishops made a proposal. They would form a special
commission, to be known as the Commission on a Way Forward. This commission would have as its goal to propose
how the church could move forward on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. Including in this proposal
was a request that trials of LGBTQI and LGBTQI supporting clergy be curtailed (but not eliminated). It also tabled
all petitions that had made it out of committee.

January 31, 2018

Love Your Neighbor Coalition Statement to the Commission on a Way Forward, Council of Bishops, 2019 General Conference, and all United Methodists

In Leviticus 19:18, it is written, “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” (NRSV)

Rabbi Hillel was one of the most important and influential rabbis of all time and passed away during Jesus’ early life. Hillel drew on the passage above in articulating the fundamental principle of Jewish moral law, in this famous quote: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole of the Torah; the rest is explanation; go and learn.”

Bishop Karen Oliveto, Mountain Sky AreaThe Judicial Council of the UMC met in Newark, New Jersey, April 25-28, 2017, and has issued its rulings. Here are links about the meeting:

UMNS Story about the hearing held Tuesday, April 25. Key Briefs are linked.

Affirmation was present! A statement about the hearing and subsequent ruling will be in the upcoming newsletter, due out soon.

Western Methodist Justice Movement Rise Up! logoYou are invited to A WMJM Conference:

Presidents Day Weekend 2017
Sheraton Airport Hotel, Portland, OR

Come be inspired and strengthened in mind and soul, for the work of Justice in the world!

Consider how justice issues and movements intersect each other with intercultural, multidisciplinary processes.

Beth Zemsky will lead the main part of the weekend, which will focus on building our movement of people who are passionate about justice in a lot of different areas. Beth has the ability to help people think intersectionally and will help move us to a new competence in intersectionality to strengthen our movement.

Bishop Karen Oliveto, the newest Western Jurisdiction Bishop, will help focus our hearts, spirits and commitments with her compelling preaching. Visit for much more detail--and registration!

Affirmation Logo

June 9, 2017

To: The Commission on a Way Forward
From: Affirmation: United Methodists
    for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns

We in Affirmation have been “out” and advocating for the full inclusion of LGBTQ persons since 1975, in response to the statement added to the Social Principles that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” For us, as one of our members says below, this statement does not feel like a condemnation of behavior, but a condemnation of our being, since for us, being gay is far more significant than sex and sexual behavior, and our reality is embodied in our Christian experience of our sexuality.

What follows are the reflections of two of our long-time members, Gary and Ben.

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