Earlier this month, the New England Conference of United Methodists, a group of 600 churches spanning six states, approved a resolution calling for an end to the nation's war on drugs. They believe the love of Christ constrains us to do so.
In part the resolution reads, "In the love of Christ, who came to save those who are lost and vulnerable, we urge the creation of a genuinely new system for the care and restoration of victims, offenders, criminal justice officials, and the community as a whole. Restorative justice grows out of biblical authority, which emphasizes a right relationship with God, self and community. When such relationships are violated or broken through crime, opportunities are created to make things right."
According to the Christian Post, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a nonprofit organization apparently based in Medford, Massachusetts, worked alongside the Methodists Conference to get the resolution passed. more >>
Self-identified "Christian agnostic" Frank Schaefer, the United Methodist pastor defrocked for officiating a same-sex wedding and reinstated on a technicality, remains in defiance of the UMC Book of Discipline. He blogged about his participation in Santa Barbara's "first ever Pride inter-faith service." He was part of the planning committee and drafted this "litany of confession" as an apology to the LGBTQ community:
"As a gathering of people of various faiths we acknowledge the wrongdoings of the past toward persons of the LGBTQ community. We, as communities of Faith, have not always been welcoming and affirming of you. We, as clergy have failed to listen and support you, we failed to acknowledge your human dignity and worth, have often treated you as second-class believers and have harmed you with words of exclusion and hatred defining you as 'inherently disordered,' as 'contrary to God's will,' as 'sinners,' as 'perverts,' and as 'abominations.' We, as religious leaders, have denied you the rights of self-definition, integrity and humanity; we have not given you a voice. We have subjected you to abusive 'religious counseling' and harmful 'conversion therapy.' We, as religious institutions, have defrocked, excommunicated, and shunned you. We have turned your loved ones against you; we have forced you into the closet and made you internalize our lies. We, as religious lobbyists, have supported measures that denied you the rights granted under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution to equal protection under the law. We have supported measures to deny you entry into the institutions of your choice and prevent you from gaining your rightful place in our society. This should have never happened, we were wrong in our beliefs, words and actions. We sincerely apologize to you and your loved ones. We are committed to remember your struggles and sufferings at the hand of hetero-sexism and homophobia and our part in it. We, as people of faith, will strive to welcome and embrace all people, promise to do all in our power to oppose those who to discriminate against anyone because of who they are or who they love, and together we hope that one day all people may find the courage and saftey to break free from the closets of the world."
He also wrote a "litany of thanksgiving for the advancement of LGBTQ rights: more >>
An ex-employee of a major pro-LGBT United Methodist group who filed a legal complaint accusing them of wrongful termination and "gender identity discrimination" has received broken personal effects from the group.
Last Thursday Andy Oliver, former director of communications for the Chicago-based Reconciling Ministries Network, posted a photo on Facebook of items sent to him by his former employer.
The objects, which included an image of the United Methodist cross and pottery his sons made for him, were broken into several pieces. more >>
Bill Mefford, an official of the General Board of Church & Society of the United Methodist Church, posted a response on social media dismissing the teachings of Jesus Christ on human sexuality, following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last month.
Mefford posted on the Facebook page of Maxie Dunnam, president emeritus of Asbury Theological Seminary, where Mefford celebrated and confused the Supreme Court's ruling with the Holy Spirit. Mefford told Dunnam, "I never have asked Jesus to define marriage."
Dunnam, a United Methodist himself and outspoken proponent of a Christian understanding of marriage, posted on social media declaring "Jesus, not the Supreme Court, defines marriage for the Church." more >>
Conservative members of the United Methodist Church have expressed doubt that a recently approved petition from a local state body of the denomination will influence a change in the Church's position against homosexuality.
During the weekend, a majority of the delegates at the UMC Virginia Annual Conference voted in favor of a petition calling for the denomination to change its position on homosexuality.
Known as Petition 14, the measure called for the striking of language in the UMC Book of Discipline that describes homosexuality as "incompatible with Christian teaching." more >>
The United Methodist Church in North Alabama announced the closing of nine churches on Monday just weeks after a Pew report found that the number of Americans identifying as Christian in the U.S. has decreased since 2007.
One of these locations, however, Lakeview Highland United Methodist Church in Muscle Shoals, could stay open if it's successfully taken over by a Hispanic congregation that moved into the church building last fall. Lakeview, now goes by the name Iglesia de la Puebla and is led by pastor Ruben DeLeon.
"It was an answer to prayer for them and it was an answer to prayer for us," Rev. Kelly Clem, the superintendent of the Northwest District of the UMC, told Al.com of the change. "They've renovated the building. They're leasing it for $1. They just got to work on the roof and painted the building. It looks great." more >>