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It's Pride Month!

Activities are kicking off everywhere, and celebration is in the air!

 

My thoughts have been directed to recent developments in the news concerning the LGBTQ+ community’s inclusion in religious communities.

 

Notably, on May 9th the announcement was made that the United Methodists General Conference, “the church's global legislative body, voted to overturn every ban on LGBTQ people. The historic changes include a new definition of marriage as a lifelong covenant between ‘two people of faith,’ rather than solely between a man and a woman, and a repeal of its ban on LGBTQ clergy. The General Conference also struck down a 52-year-old stance on homosexuality being ‘incompatible with Christian teaching.’” As reported on CBS News by Sarah Maddox, May 9, 2024, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/united-methodist-church-lgbt-regionalization-vote-whats-next/.

 

We were able to savor that victory for almost a month, but then came yesterday’s disappointing news about the Ivory Coast division disaffiliating from the Methodist Church after the May 9th announcement. It is unfortunate to see a rift grow in a community that shared some, but apparently not all, common beliefs. The forward progress of the Methodist Church will continue and, hopefully, some of those disaffiliated will find their way back to the larger church after deeper reflection.

 

Allies Are Critical for Inclusion

 

When human rights are taking it on the chin nationally and world-wide, as they certainly are these days, having large institutions openly advocate for inclusion is critical. Hopefully the trend for inclusion will grow, because the myriad difficulties we face will be better survived and resolved with collaboration and friendly community interaction.

 

The United Church of Christ (a critical partner in OTP’s founding) has been open and affirming since 1985.

 

1985 was the year the UCC’s General Synod “adopted a resolution encouraging UCC congregations to welcome (or consider welcoming) gay, lesbian and bisexual people after a time of dialogue, study and prayer.”  In fact, the UCC began its serious reflection on issues of social justice surrounding homosexuality in 1969. The Open and Affirming Coalition (formerly the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns) has a detailed timeline on their site - https://openandaffirming.org/about/history/. The Open and Affirming Coalition website also offers resources for support.

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