If you know my past, then you know that I was a lay preacher/pastor within the United Methodist Church. Although, I haven’t been engaged in that denomination for probably a dozen years now. But it still brought a real smile to my face to see a blog post today concerning this new Methodist group which is supporting gay and lesbian couples.
We refuse to discriminate against any of God’s children and pledge to make marriage equality a lived reality within the New York Annual Conference, regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression,” the group declared in statement called “A Covenant of Conscience” and signed by 164 clergy members, 732 lay people and six entire congregations. In all, 74 congregations within the New York Annual Conference (NYAC) are represented among the signers. NYAC is the regional church body representing United Methodist congregations from Long Island to the Catskills and in southern Connecticut.
Individual clergy are also speaking out. “My ordination vows require me to minister to all people in my congregation,” said Rev. Sara Lamar-Sterling, the minister at First and Summerfield United Methodist Church in New Haven, Conn. “This is about pastoral care, about welcoming all people, but especially the marginalized and the oppressed, like Jesus did.”
At least in my memory, one of the first UMC clergy to support gay and lesbian relationships was the Rev Jimmy Creech, who was removed from his position after performing a marriage for two women in his congregation. Jimmy, a straight man with the support of his wife was so courageous, and he touched my life in a very big way. But this new development is truly amazing, and I really don’t have words to express how exciting it is to see so many stand up and speak out for what they feel is truly right in the eyes of God.