Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Go United Church of Christ!

In their General Synod meeting in Atlanta, the United Church of Christ just passed a resolution endorsing "equal marriage rights for all." This makes them the first mainline Christian denomination to allow same-sex marriage at the denomination level.

The vote affirms equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender and says that the government should not interfere with same-sex couples who want to marry. It calls on denomination officers to press local, state and national legislators to support equal marriage rights.

In local news, the Grand Canyon Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) adopted a resolution that publicly welcomes gays and lesbians.

Last month's resolution says all people of all sexual orientations and gender identities "are welcome within the membership of the synod, and that, as members, are welcome to full participation in the organizational and sacramental life of this church."

According to a news release from Lutherans Concerned/North America, the Grand Canyon Synod's action will encourage its congregations and specialized ministries to embody the resolution and to reaffirm a call for everyone to respect the rights of all people regardless of sexual orientation.

While still not allowing same-sex marriage and ordination for clergy in same-sex relationships, this is a step in the right direction.

As with the civil side of the issue, where I am torn between joy at Canada's and Spain's decisions to further equal rights for GLBT people and disappointment with my own country's lagging behind, I feel both joy and disappointment at this. Joy that there are places my GLBT brothers and sisters in Christ can be fully included. Disappointment that my denomination (at the national level, anyway) is not such a place.



At 12:23 PM, Blogger Wes said...

As on of your gay brothers in Christ, I appreciate your support of GLBT Christians. I am currently working toward ordination in the Metropolitan Community Church which was founded by GLBT persons kicked out of "mainline" denominations. I am also happy about the recent actions by the UCC, Canada, and the like. I also have hope for the other denominations and for the United States because of people like you!

At 12:53 PM, Blogger Susan said...

Metropolitan is a great group! I attended the congregation in San Francisco and loved it! If I were a lesbian I'd join in a heartbeat, but we didn't fit in, if you know what I mean!

At 9:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is so way needed...I mean who would have thought that by the year 2005 we still would not have gotten past this.

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Liberator_Rev said...

Have you all heard of the recent news of "Methodist leaders vote to bless gay couples" ?

Stephen Bates, religious affairs correspondent
Thursday June 30, 2005


The Methodist church yesterday became the first big Christian denomination in Britain to offer the prospect of blessings services for same-sex couples.
Although adamant that such services would not be regarded by the church as marriages, officials admitted that they could well be seen as such by the couples themselves and by the wider society.

In stark contrast to the Anglican communion, which is tearing itself apart over its attitude towards homosexuality, the annual Methodist conference voted unanimously to continue its "pilgrimage of faith" towards gay people.

There are 300,000 Methodists in Britain, making it the country's third largest denomination.

Speaker after speaker affirmed the positive contribution of gay people, including in church offices over recent years. Only one speaker warned that the church was moving away from its Biblical basis.

The conference voted for its faith and order committee to research guidelines to offer ministers on how to respond to requests to conduct prayers or services of blessing for same-sex couples, in the light of the government's legislation on civil partnerships.

The committee's convener, the Rev Jonathan Kerry, said afterwards that the guidance would be published by the autumn, in time for the introduction of the legislation later in the year.

He said: "People are saying if we register civil partnerships, can we have prayers or services, is there something we can do in the church? It would be OK in certain circumstances."

One speaker, Ken Holdsworth, of Crewkerne, Somerset, spoke of elderly gay couples in his church's congregation whose presence had not upset other worshippers. "We need to get on with blessings," he said.

In a day of decisions that could fundamentally alter Methodism and its relations with other churches, particularly the Church of England, representatives attending the conference, in Torquay, also voted to begin consultations about creating the first Methodist bishops in Britain.

The move may help to align the denomination more closely with the Anglicans, with whom there have been discussions about unity, though its decision on same-sex blessings will undoubtedly cause consternation in the Church of England.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

See also http://www.LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/God&gays.html

At 10:02 AM, Blogger Bad Methodist said...

Awesome news! I think it will take a little longer for the UM Church than our sister church in Great Britain. There is a lot of influence here from the very conservative and very large Southeast Jurisdiction and from the African churches as well.

Some day, though. It's not a matter of if, but when.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger catholic_girl said...

Man, I'm jealous of you guys who are in progressive denominations. I can't decide whether to stay in mine and grit my teeth or go join one that doesn't make me want to throttle people... Go, UCC!

At 5:39 PM, Blogger Bad Methodist said...

There are lots of people in the UM church who have given up and left. Others stay to fight for change. I think either option helps bring change.

At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really makes no difference whether you are a bad Methodist or a good one. Every now and then I watch evangelical channels to be amazed by truly ignorant people on TV. A few months ago at the end of the program, Methodists were lumped together with satanists, homosexuals, and Muslims for working against the will of Christ. So, I'm sorry Bad Methodist, all you Methodists are surely going to hell.

At 1:09 PM, Blogger Bad Methodist said...

Heh. I always enjoy when I get to be in a group all of whom some nut job is sure are going to hell. Then I know I'm in good company. :)


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