Skip to comments.United Methodist Future in Jeopardy, Say 400 UMC Clergy
Posted on 09/17/2011 7:09:35 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Hundreds of United Methodist clergy are expressing deep concerns over a pledge made by a large group of fellow ministers to marry same-sex couples. They argue that if the pledge is carried through, the future of the denomination is in jeopardy.
"We do not know how many, if any, marriages or 'holy unions' of same-sex couples will be performed by UM clergy in the near future," reads a letter, currently signed by more than 400 pastors, to the Council of Bishops. "But we do know the destructive effects that will result in our local churches and throughout the denomination if such services are performed by UM pastors."
The concerned clergy are referring to a pledge that some 900 ministers have endorsed in support of same-sex civil unions. By signing the pledge, they agreed to defy the denomination's ban on blessing same-sex unions.
The United Methodist Church holds the position that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching and that homosexual unions "shall not be conducted by our ministers" or in UMC churches.
While the denomination has debated the issue of homosexuality for decades, the growing number of clergy willing to disobey church laws and marry gay and lesbian couples has many in the church concerned.
"For forty years we United Methodists have listened to each other, respected each other and have engaged in holy conferencing on the important issues of same-sex marriage and the practice of homosexuality," concerned clergy say in the letter.
"Though the discussions and resultant protests have not always been pleasant, there has been the assurance that we would respect the decisions of General Conference and live by the covenant that holds us together."
The United Methodist Church's General Conference meets every four years. In its most recent meeting in 2008, delegates voted to maintain the church's policy prohibiting the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of partnered homosexuals.
But with hundreds now signing on to a pledge to defy the decisions of the denomination's highest governing body, many clergy say this could prove destructive to the unity of the church.
"Honestly, we fear that many of our people will decide that if The United Methodist Church will not live by the covenant that holds us together, it will be time for them to find another church," they state in the letter to bishops.
"The positive ministries of transformational discipleship that we are attempting to build are threatened by this group of defiant clergy."
A website, faithfulumc.com, was launched to collect more signatures from both clergy and laity. According to the website, a total of 1,266 individuals have so far endorsed the letter of concern.
They are urging the Council of Bishops not to allow the "defiant minority" to undermine the witness and unity of their denomination.
"We must see our leaders act with integrity to uphold and support the Discipline as they promised in their ordination and consecration to ministry. We ourselves must act with courage and faithfulness to uphold our commitment to Scripture, The United Methodist Church, and the Wesleyan way."
I agree with my fellow elders, but I would find a way to throw the defiant ones out....in other words, a split.
The decisions of the "General Conference" are irrelevant spiritually. Either the Methodists decide to abide by God's Word, in which case their decisions say nothing new, or they decide to defy God's Word, in which case their vote is irrelevant to proper conduct. No conference majority can out-vote God. One can vote on peripheral issues on which the Bible is silent or unclear, but not on a central issue such as whether active homosexuality is consistent with following God.
I left the United Methodists over this very issue some years ago. The church I belonged to lost a very fine pastor (retired) and his replacement was a woman who preached constantly about the value of homosexuals. She was also obsessed with animals and the souls of animals. She rarely mentioned Jesus and I got the distinct impression that she didn’t believe in God.
My family have been Methodist for over 40 years, but if this occurs we will be changing churches..
Hubby and I have been talking of a move for about a year now and we more than likely will make that move..
right now we have a pastor who is a native South Korean, and he seems very Conservative and does not support liberal ideas. He has a Doctorate Degree and we look for him to move soon...young people in the rural areas just don’t seem to be interested in attending church services..so sad............
I grew up UMC in Texas. My mom still goes to that church.
I live in California now, and there is not a Methodist church that I would go to out here.
I go to a non-denominational church that is conservative in it’s beliefs, but modern in the way they teach those beliefs (rock music, videos, facebook, etc). I miss the more traditional service, but my kids love our church and want to go, and that’s more important to me.
Sad, sad, sad.
The Journey Home - 4/25/11 - Joshua Johnson - Former United Methodist minister
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Faith Journey Leads United Methodist from Pastorate to Catholic Priesthood
Allen Hunt, Methodist Minister ...Journeys Home (Catholic, Re: Real Presence)/a>
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Too bad St. Paul didn’t know all the scientific facts we know now. He’d have written Romans differently.
When a moderate or conservative denomination moves “liberal”, they lose members. Conservatives hold to conservative churches as a bastion and rock against a liberalized culture, thus leave churches moving left. Those on the left rarely go to left-leaning churches, since being non-theist is freer.
My family left the United Methodist church back in the late 1980’s because of increasingly liberal leanings of the pastor and the church body. Even then, there was a distinct sense of approval and acceptance for homosexual behavior that, to me, indicated a tacit rejection of God’s Word. When an assistant pastor (semi-retired, not a young man) openly stated (at a dinner in a private home) that he saw nothing wrong with same-sex ‘marriage’, that did it. Although I held a ‘lay leader’ position, we were gone within a month. (With apologies to Yogi Berra) it appears to be Déjà vu all over again in the United Methodist church.
I believe prayer is powerful and I use it all the time..the Master and I are on first name basis...I know he listens and HE knows I believe.
Allen Hunt had a local radio show here. From what i recall he retired from the ministry to go back to school (Emory Univ - a very liberal methodist college) and the female prof he had was so off the wall he says that helped him convert to catholicism. Of course Allen Hunt has a high opinion opf Jerimiah Wright so go figure.
True, but they keep trying. Remember the conference majority in Sodom which had only six dissenting votes (Lot, his wife, two daughters and the two visiting holy men)? How did that turn out?
We had a woman pastor in our Methodist church a few years ago and she was just as goofy. I think they wound up taking away her credentials and she sued the church for sex discrimination. I was dismayed she was ordained to begin with; she was clearly unfit.
As for the issue here if these ministers want to leave and start their gay church I say go ahead. It’s addition by subtraction and the best thing that could happen. However if the Methodist church permits gay marriages, I’m outta there.
The Methodist Church started to swing left in the late 50s or early 60s. When I found out they were a sponsoring founder of Handgun Control Inc. and trying to raise funds for a VC field hospital I walked out the door.
My daughter was a gospel singer for awhile in a group that traveled all over the US. They sang in all sorts of churches and venue’s and were able to observe the different traditions of each denomination. In one Methodist church we were invited to communion with them after the singing. They brought out a loaf of French bread and broke pieces off for each member. I couldn’t believe they didn’t know the significance of “leavened” bread. They seemed to have no clue. There were a half dozen other things I observed that didn’t make sense, but it just seemed they went to church because you were supposed to on Sunday. Many didn’t believe in answered prayer and some didn’t believe Jesus was the only way to Heaven. It was scary to think of this as a “major” denomination. Error was all around. Most churches have luke warm pew sitters, but other than a Unitarian, Methodists are right up there.
I know of several Bishops on the Council who are openly supportive of ordaining queers. The Council of Bishops is not a body I would expect to be sympathetic to traditional Biblical values.
Methodists, as a denomination, lost their way upon becoming “united” and leaving the tradition set by the Wesley brothers. My dad’s family was Methodist to the core but when my oldest uncle passed away, he left nothing to the local congregation because he was so disgusted with the state of the denomination.