Why some are choosing to stay in The United Methodist Church…
by Joan C Wrenn
I am a life-long, almost 70-year-old United Methodist. I stay in the United Methodist church because I was brought up in a theology of social justice, grounded in the teachings of Jesus.
Jesus never flinched from treating people with love, no matter their social station, health status, religious purity, or whatever categories of exclusion were around in his time and place. Seeing Jesus’ model, and the model of the Old Testament prophets, I can do no other, to stay in right relationship with God.
Our current social categories, race, gender, age and sexual orientation and preference are no different from the categories Jesus lived among, ways to discriminate against people who are different from us. To serve the God I love, I must stand with God’s love when confronted with current issues.
The church I choose is one where all people, regardless of any social categories, are welcome completely in the full activities of the church. We are all finite creatures of God, in desperate need of God’s continual grace, of nurture in a home congregation, of opportunities to be in meaningful mission to alleviate the pain of those around us in our communities and our world.
So I stand behind Bishop Melvin Talbert and Rev Frank Schaefer and all the others who do what is right when it is hard, painful, and risky. I pray for the day when the world will be one, and all people will be equal in opportunity and happiness. And if I have my choice, I will stand with the United Methodist Church.
In fact, my husband and I are currently making plans to transfer our membership from a local congregation that failed to become reconciling, to one that has been reconciling for 20 years, where we see LGBTQ people in prominent places in the life of the church, in worship and in mission. Since beginning attending there two months ago, our lives have felt so much lighter and happier than they have been in a long time.
Joan C Wrenn
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Reasons I Stay is a project of Reconciling Ministries Network dedicated to share the stories of individuals who have decided to stay in The United Methodist Church despite its descriminatory, unjust, immoral rules against LGBTQ persons. It is part of the Biblical Obedience movement sweeping across The United Methodist Church. We recognize that staying is not the right and healthy choice for all people, and we celebrate those too who have chosen to leave to more inclusive faith communities. You can read all the Reasons I Stay stories here. We invite you to submit your own story to Reasons I Stay.