Statement in Support of United Methodist LGBTQI Clergy

On Monday, May 9, 2016, 111 United Methodist clergy and candidates released a letter in which they came out to their denomination as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and intersex people. Responding to their coming out, on May 16, 2016, a broad coalition of national faith leaders outside of the United Methodist Church released a statement in support of these clergy and candidates. Only two days later, more than 1,200 religious leaders outside of the Methodist Church had also endorsed the statement.

Their statement reads in full:

“We, as religious leaders outside of the United Methodist Church, unite today in support of the 111 United Methodist religious leaders who on Monday, May 9, 2016, released “A Love Letter to Our Church from Your LGBTQI Religious Leaders”

“We celebrate the courage of these United Methodist LGBTQI religious leaders who, in coming out to their church, have risked their own security in order to share the fullness of their gifts with their faith communities and the United Methodist Church. We acknowledge their desire to remain in relationship with the United Methodist Church and to continue to answer the call to ministry as United Methodists. Their act of boldness is an example for all people of faith of what it means to embody one’s faith and sexuality with wholeness and integrity.

“We affirm the call of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and intersex people to ordained ministry, and we embrace the gifts LGBTQI people bring to faith communities. We recognize that there is a long history of LGBTQI people answering the call to serve in faith communities, including as religious leaders. This service has furthered justice, transformation, and flourishing in both faith communities and society.

As siblings in faith, we join with these United Methodist LGBTQI religious leaders in praying that the United Methodist Church will stop harming LGBTQI persons, and we commit ourselves to a world where sexual and gender diversity are understood as a blessing that enriches all.”

National Religious leaders who endorsed of the statement:

Imam Daayiee Abdullah, Executive Director, MECCA Institute

Dr. Michael Adee, Director, Global Faith and Justice Project

Rev. Daniel Adolphson, Moderator, GLAD Alliance

Marie Alford-Harkey, President and CEO, Religious Institute

Rev. Ray Bagnuolo, Chaplain & Minister Director, That All May Freely Serve

Rev. Dr. Lee Barker, President, Meadville Lombard Theological School

Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director, Global Justice Institute, Metropolitan Community Churches

Rev. Dr. Michael D. Castle, President, Alliance of Baptists

Eliel Cruz, Executive Director, Faith In America

Rev. Dr. Miguel De La Torre, Professor of Social Ethics and Latinx Studies, Iliff School of Theology

Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry

Rev. Ronald Degges, President, Disciples Home Missions

Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ

Ms. Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, DignityUSA

Rabbi Denise Eger, President, Central Conference of American Rabbis

Rev. Dr. Marvin M. Ellison, Director of Alumni/ae Relations, Union Theological Seminary, New York

Rev. Brian Ellison, Executive Director, Covenant Network of Presbyterians (PCUSA)

Bishop Yvette Flunder, Presiding Bishop, The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries

Rev. Francis Fornaro, Interim President and Dean, Episcopal Divinity School

Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune, Founder and Senior Analyst, FaithTrust Institute

Mr. Bruce Garner, President, Integrity USA

Rev. Dr. Larry Greenfield, Executive Director, Parliament of the World’s Religions

Dr. Sharon Groves, Vice President, Partner Engagement, Auburn Seminary

Rev. Ann-Louise Haak, Board Chair, Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists

Rev. Dr. Debra W. Haffner, President Emerita, Religious Institute

Rev. Cedric Harmon, Executive Director, Many Voices: A Black Church Movement for Gay & Transgender Justice

Rev. Dr. Trace Haythorn, Executive Director/CEO, Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc.

Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson, President, Auburn Seminary

The Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple, Bishop Diocesan Pro Tempore, Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina

Rev. Dr. Alice W. Hunt, President, Chicago Theological Seminary

Mary E. Hunt, Co-director, Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER)

Rev. Dr. Mark Johnston, Executive Director, Open & Affirming Ministry Program, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President, Union Theological Seminary

Rev. Dr. Kevin Kanous, Bishop, Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Sapreet Kaur, Executive Director, Sikh Coalition

Idit Klein, Executive Director, Keshet

Pastor Steve Knight, Co-founder, Transform Network

Mr. Bruce Knotts, Director, Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office

Andrew Lang, Executive Director, Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ

Justin Lee, Executive Director, The Gay Christian Network

Rabbi Michael Lerner, Chair, Network of Spiritual Progressives, Editor, Tikkun Magazine

The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church

Rev. Rodney McKenzie, Jr., Director of the Academy for Leadership and Action, National LGBTQ Task Force

Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt, President, Starr King School for the Ministry

Alex McNeill, Executive Director, More Light Presbyterians

Jon O’Brien, President, Catholics for Choice

Rev. Dr. Gail R. O’Day, Dean, Wake Forest University School of Divinity

Ms. Marilyn Paarlberg, Executive Director, Room for All (Reformed Church in America)

The Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge, Episcopal Chaplain, Boston University

Rev. LeDayne McLeese Polaski, Executive Director, BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz

Bishop Tonyia Rawls, Executive Director, The Freedom Center for Social Justice

The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, Bishop, The Episcopal Church

James Rowe, Director, Believe Out Loud

Dr. Bernard Schlager, Vice President of Academic Affairs & Dean; Associate Professor of Historical and Cultural Studies, Pacific School of Religion

Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, Executive for Health & Wholeness Advocacy, United Church of Christ

Bishop John Selders, Jr., Bishop Presider, The Inter-Denominational Conference of Liberation Congregations and Ministries

Gregory E. Sterling, Reverend Henry L. Slack Dean, Yale Divinity School

Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow, Coordinator of the African-American Roundtable, Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion, Pacific School of Religion

Dr. Justin Tanis, Managing Director, Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion, Pacific School of Religion

Aubrey Thonvold, Executive Director, ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation

Bishop Joseph W. Tolton, Bishop, Global Ministries, The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries

Rev. Dr. Emilie Townes, Dean and E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt Divinity School

Rev. Dr. David Vasquez-Levy, President, Pacific School of Religion

Lisa Weiner-Mahfuz, Vice President, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

Dr. D. Newell Williams, President, Brite Divinity School

Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches

Ms. Ani Zonnevald, President, Muslims for Progressive Values

Posted in Social Statements.