"A right relationship with God
means a holy impatience
with the present order in which people are denied their dignity."
Martin Luther King Jr.
I believe in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and I try my best to grow in his saving, amazing grace. I believe that the Bible contains the Word of God and that God speaking through the Bible is the central authority upon which I seek to live my life. God also instructs me through my experience and reason, and through the long tradition of the Christian community.
Among the last words that Jesus spoke to the church before he ascended were these, "Little children, love one another for by this everyone will know that you are my disciples!" What Jesus taught as ultimately important for family life was not its form, but its center. To build a family upon Christ and the love which Christ came to show is that center which holds families together.
I know many gay and lesbian families who have centered their lives on Christ and whose lives are vessels of God's grace to their spouse, children, and community. These are persons that the church has baptized, nurtured in the faith, and received as full members upon their confession of faith in Christ. Many of them desire loving, healthy relationships that are pleasing to God. They listened when the church described marriage as a holy covenant entered into by adults called by God whose relationships are marked by mutual love, commitment, responsibility, and monagmony.
Some gay and lesbian persons ask the church which baptized and confirmed them, received them as full members and for which they have been loyal in offering their prayers, presence, gifts, and service to now help them prepare for and enter into a holy covenant with the one that God has called them to share the rest of their life.
As their pastor, I must respond to the request of "our kids" for pastoral care. If these kids were heterosexuals, there wouldn't be a moment's hesitation in offering them the care they seek; but our church through its Discipline has asked its pastors to discriminate among its kids and refuse "to conduct a ceremony that celebrates homosexual unions."
I believe God's love is unlimited, God's embrace unrestricted. In their creation, baptism, growth, faith, commitments, love, and sexuality; indeed in everything that makes gay and lesbians whole, I believe God loves and blesses them.
Therefore, for the church to withhold rituals of support and accountability for such loving and committed relationships is unconscionable. The standards for preparation and celebration of covenantal unions with same-gendered couples should be the same as for weddings of heterosexual couples.
I love the United Methodist Church and know that our great church has been unable to arrive at a common mind on the compatibility of homosexual practice with Christian faith, I will therefore strive by my actions as a United Methodist pastor to be balanced between a loving regard for its formal teachings and the pastoral care needs of all its kids.
I commit myself to work for that day when our church through its Discipline and practice treats all God's kids the same, and through its invitation and hospitality reflects the all-inclusive nature of God's love.
Dennis J. Alexander
Minnesota Annual Conference
June 8, 1998