In preparation for the United Methodist General Conference 2012, which will take place April 24 through May 4 in Tampa, Florida, the Common Witness Coalition has released For Love of God and Neighbor: A Common Witness to General Conference 2012. The coalition is composed of six social justice oriented Methodist organizations: Affirmation United Methodist, Black Methodists for Church Renewal, Methodist Federation for Social Action, National Federation of Asian American United Methodists, Native American International Caucus of The United Methodist Church, and Reconciling Ministries Network. Together, these organizations work towards changing the church’s regulations (called the ‘Book of Discipline’) to welcome LGBT people into the Methodist Church.
For Love of God and Neighbor is a statement of inclusiveness that recognizes the intersections between equality for LGBT people and issues of “race, gender, global partnerships, peace, stewardship of creation and economic justice.” Signatories include Rev. Troy Plummer, Executive Director of the Reconciling Ministries Network and Rev. Amy DeLong, who was suspended last year for performing a marriage between two women in 2009. In total there are nearly 4000 signatures so far.
Take a moment to add your name to those who would like to see a more open and affirming United Methodist Church. The Common Witness Coalition welcomes all to show their support for the statement by adding their signatures.
The United Methodist Church is one of the few Mainline Protestant denominations that has not yet changed its policies to officially welcome LGBT people. The Book of Discipline currently contains a statement supporting “certain basic human rights and civil liberties” regardless of sexual orientation, but also states that relationships can only be affirmed between two people who are married and that marriage is limited to one man and one woman. Despite this lack of institutional support, many Methodists, both clergy and lay people, have made clear that they want their church to welcome and affirm their LGBT sisters, brothers, friends, family, and selves.
GLAAD will be on the ground at the General Conference supporting the coalition with their communications and media. Just last week GLAAD released Missing Voices, a report that highlights the underrepresentation of pro-LGBT religious voices in the mainstream media. Through work with the Common Witness Coalition, we continue to amplify the voices of pro-LGBT United Methodists. We commend the Common Witness Coalition for their continued support of LGBT inclusion in the United Methodist Church and for their dedication to seeing change enacted.