Today, October 17, 900 members of the United Methodist Church (UMC) from congregations in New York State and southern Connecticut announced that they intend to make weddings available to same-gender couples who meet the legal requirements for marriage. In their announcement, they said marriage will be available to all, gay or straight, despite the discrimination present in the current policy against gay marriage within the United Methodist denomination.
These 900 include 164 members of the clergy and 732 members of the laity, representing 74 congregations of the UMC. Among this number are the complete memberships of six congregations, unanimous in their commitment.
This act of ecclesiastical disobedience is part of their participation in “We Do! Methodists Living Marriage Equality,” a project to let all Methodists know who and where there are clergy and congregations willing to marry same-gender couples.
“We do!” is a pastoral movement that since its beginning a year ago has spread to 19 states and the District of Columbia. More than 1000 clergy have pledged to follow its guiding principle to refuse to discriminate against any of God’s children.
Efforts to rescind the current policy ban against gay marriage are expected to come up at the General Conference of the United Methodist Church in April 2012, as they have for the last 40 years.
Lutherans Concerned/North America asks its members and those who read this and support these actions to keep these committed brothers and sisters lifted up in prayer. Their cause is just and right. Their organized disobedience is bold and risky. Most important, their actions are faithful to the Great Commandment, the message of the Gospel and the injunction to spread that word among all people.
Lutherans Concerned joins with other welcoming movements working for full inclusion of LGBT people in the lives of their chosen community of faith, and those working in the secular arena to make legal the solemn commitment by two people to a life of mutual support, caring and love, in the hope that soon full equality and inclusion will replace discrimination and oppression.
“We do! Methodists Living Marriage Equality” is sponsored by Methodists in New Directions (MIND), a grassroots organization working in the New York Annual Conference of the UMC dedicated to ending the church’s prejudice and discrimination against LGBT people. It is co-sponsored by the NY Chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), an organization bringing people together to work for peace and justice in the church and the world. Both organizations are independent of the United Methodist Church. More information on the initiative is available on the MIND website at www.mindny.org.