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A response to Bishop Ken Carter: More than just welcome needed

– by The Rev. Jeanne Audrey Powers –

Bishop Ken Carter of the Florida Annual Conference recently made a statement at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church near Orlando where they are intentionally welcoming and affirming LGBT people. After many years of either silence or painful words about persons like myself by church leadership in Florida, I’m heartened to hear Bishop Carter’s words advocating welcome and inclusion of gay and lesbian people in Florida UM churches.

Bishop Carter has inserted himself into the conversation not because he was required to make a ruling or respond to a trial, but because he wanted to be Bishop of the entire church—including those gay and lesbian people who continue to be marginalized. For that, I am thankful. While I am pleased that Bishop Carter may be signaling beginning steps for greater love and welcome of LGBT people in the state of Florida, I hope he understands that The United Methodist Church already does belong to LGBT persons and that they need no “permission” to be fully involved in the life of the church. There is still much to be done to address homophobia and heterosexism in Florida…

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Rev. Steve Heiss facing possible charges for same-sex weddings

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After publishing an open letter to his bishop in which he explained why he faithfully officiated several same-sex weddings, Rev. Steve Heiss now shares about his meeting with Bishop Mark Webb and the possible charges he awaits.

…By the end of the meeting, I had reason to believe that the charges brought against me might be dismissed if I would promise not to officiate at any more same-sex weddings. I cannot imagine a scenario in which I would agree to that. And so, we now have 90 days to work together toward what is called a “just resolution.” If after 90 days there is no “just resolution” which the bishop can accept, then the bishop must do what he must do.

My dream for a “just resolution” begins with my bishop dismissing the charges filed against me on the grounds that my actions reflect obedience to the central teachings of Jesus, confirm the best and highest reading of The UMC Discipline, and do, in truth, spring from the Spirit of God herself. If that could happen . . . our UM church could finally begin to proclaim that we want to be a 21st century church – no longer relying on the crumbling architecture of a 19th century understanding of human sexuality.

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Join RMN in DC for The March on Washington 50th Anniversary; Convocation pre-day to include Rev. Dr. Alton B. Pollard

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Before RMN’s national convocation officially begins there is a lot happening in DC… you might just want to come early! Still need to register? Register now with the code EARLYBIRD and receive $$ off current registration fees!

Saturday, August 24: Commemoration of the March on Washington

Tuesday, August 27: 4pm panel and 7 pm worship including RMN Executive Director Matt Berryman and preaching from RMN Board Director Dr. Rev. Pamela Lightsey

Wednesday, August 28: ‘A March for Jobs and Justice’

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Friday, August 30, 9:00 to 4:30PM: Convocation Pre-day opportunities. (See convocation web site for specific groups meeting and registration.) Keynote speaker for the United Methodists of Color gathering, Rev. Dr. Alton B. Pollard, III, Dean and Professor of Religion and Culture at Howard University School of Divinity, will be leading a combined time of all RMN Extension Ministry pre-day participants. He has published widely in the areas of religion and culture.

Click here to register for convocation or pre-day!

Register now with the code EARLYBIRD and receive $$ off current registration fees!

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New Regional Organizers to train coaches to transform churches

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Rev. Israel I. Alvaran has been hired as regional organizer for the Western Jurisdiction. Izzy is an ordained Elder in the Philippines Annual Conference of The UMC. A long-time activist, Israel worked as Person-in-Mission of the UMC General Board of Global Ministries for the Manila Episcopal Area, focusing on advocacy for low-wage workers. For a number of years, he was a community outreach organizer for UNITE HERE Local 2 (the hotel workers union) and Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice of California. He served as national organizer for economic justice with the UMC General Board of Church and Society. Israel lives in San Francisco, CA and is immersed in the life of his community. When not in the thick of rallies and picket lines, Israel loves to cook and bake for friends, and spends quality time with his adorable dog Waui Kush.

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Robyn Henderson-Espinoza has been hired as the regional organizer for the North Central Jurisdiction. She is a Mexican-American and Texas native. She is currently residing in Denver, Colorado finishing a PhD in Religion & Social Change with a specific focus on the materiality of bodies, committed to the emerging work in race and sexuality. Passionate about issues of justice, radical hospitality, and inclusion, Robyn has contributed to the anti-violence movement in Chicago, IL, the immigrant rights and the larger immigration movement in Denver, and LGBT issues nation-wide in academic, religious, and non-profit settings. A born-again vegetarian, Robyn celebrates life with her friend and spouse, Stephanie, along with their two dogs and three cats! When Robyn is not reading or writing, Robyn is enjoying the incredible food and drink culture of Colorado!

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Also, the Institute for Welcoming Resources has release Welcome Toolkit 2.0!

As you consider how best to help your congregation or organization become welcoming of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and families, we highly recommend that you create a strategic, well-thought welcoming process. In order to create a good welcoming process, we recommend the following resources: Building an Inclusive Church: A Welcoming Toolkit.

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RMN’s Annual Report shares stories, thanks donors

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Mobilizing United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our Church and world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love.

 

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