Home > Our World > News > News Archives by Date > 2011 > December 2011 > News - December 2011
Gay, lesbian ministry still 2011 flashpoint


3:00 P.M. ET Dec. 16, 2011

A UMNS photo illustration by Kathleen Barry.
A UMNS photo illustration by Kathleen Barry.
View in Photo Gallery

The Rev. Amy DeLong is nearing an important deadline after being found guilty this summer of violating the denomination’s ban on blessing same-sex unions.

By Jan. 1, DeLong must present a draft that outlines procedures for clergy to help resolve issues that “harm the clergy covenant, create an adversarial spirit or lead to future clergy trials.” She has been collaborating on the document with Wisconsin Annual (regional) Conference leaders, including Bishop Linda Lee.

DeLong’s church trial, from June 21 to 23 in Kaukauna, Wis., was just one of many flashpoints this year in the ongoing debate about how the church should minister to gays and lesbians.

Over the past few months, DeLong’s collaboration group members have discussed at length how they define the word “covenant,” DeLong said recently.

“Our understandings of covenant were incredibly varied and multiple and incredibly divergent,” she said. “I don’t feel like I’ve broken the clergy covenant at all. I feel like I’ve honored my clergy covenant to be in ministry to all people.”

Others disagree. “This is not some insignificant violation of the terms of the Book of Discipline,” the Rev. Thomas Lambrecht, the church’s counsel in the DeLong case, said during the trial’s closing arguments.

The Book of Discipline, the denomination's law book, says all people are of sacred worth but also states, “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

The book bans “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from being ordained or appointed to serve in the denomination. It also says marriage is to be between a man and a woman and forbids United Methodist clergy from officiating at same-sex unions.

However, in February, 36 of the denomination’s 92 retired bishops called on the denomination to eliminate its ban on the ordination of gay clergy. The statement prompted varied reactions from active bishops as well as the denomination’s unofficial evangelical and progressive caucuses.

Starting with annual conference season in the spring, more than 1,000 United Methodist clergy in the United States signed pledges to bless same-sex unions. The pledges marked a new turn in the longtime debate, said the Rev. Robert J. Williams, chief executive of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History.

The pledges, in turn, sparked a countermovement by other United Methodist clergy and lay people urging the bishops to make clear that they will enforce the Book of Discipline on this issue. As of Dec. 9, more than 2,600 clergy and 12,800 laity in the United States have signed petitions to the bishops.

The Council of Bishops responded in a Nov. 10 letter that urged churches and families not to “reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends,” but also said the bishops would uphold church law.

Only General Conference, the denomination’s top lawmaking body, can change the Book of Discipline, and unofficial caucuses of varying views will be out in force next year advocating their perspective. At least 13 of the 59 U.S. conferences also approved resolutions this year petitioning General Conference to change the language related to homosexuality.

Since 1972, the topic of homosexuality has surfaced every four years at General Conference. Delegates consistently have voted to keep the Book of Discipline’s stance on the issue.

*Hahn is a multimedia news reporter for United Methodist News Service.

News media contact: Heather Hahn, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 newsdesk@umcom.org.


Commenting Rules

Comments will not appear until approved by a moderator, which will occur at least twice daily.

Please keep your comments brief. Avoid personal attacks and do not use inflammatory or demeaning language.

See our Comment Policy for more information.

Glad you liked it. Would you like to share?

Sharing this page …

Thanks! Close

Comments for this page are closed.

Showing 34 comments

  • Jerome Stueart 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    Hello, a website listing gay affirming and welcoming churches led me to you.  I can see though by the comments that this is still an issue you wrestle with.  As a gay Christian, raised in West Texas, Baptist for the most part, I sympathize with how difficult it must seem to interpret the scriptures any differently than you have always interpreted them.  The past truly is prologue, and sometime it is a rut we can't get out of.  I'm sure those who wondered about the treatment of women, blacks and the divorced had their hills to climb over.  I think the difficult part of being a Christian, one of the difficult parts, is being able to give scrutiny to our faith, but we have to.  Our faith can take that scrutiny.  Christ and the Bible can take scrutiny.  And when it comes down to it, many other denominations have found room in their churches for LGBT folks, and their partners.  When they look at the same scriptures they don't interpret them as you do--as gay "sin"--and doesn't it make you wonder HOW they came up with this?  We often follow just what our own denomination says--but other denominations use the same Bible--and it's refreshing to see other opinions. 

    After hating myself for being gay, I found a great deal of peace when I re-examined the scriptures and found that God loved me as I was, created as I was, for a relationship with Him, a relationship with others, and a relationship with a partner.  We are part of God's design.   I am proud that you are discussing this when many churches can't even bring the subject up.  But I urge you to be the "Open Hearts, Open Doors, Open Minds" that you proclaim to be in the name of Jesus and take a step to challenge yourselves by talking with Gay Christians.  I have a website that might help: google talking dog gay christian resources.  This is no different than Jews accepting Gentiles into the fold.  We are 100% the same as you, under the same laws, rules, restrictions as straight folk, the same love for Christ if churches will open their hearts, doors and minds. Thanks! 

    show more show less
  • Evan Sherar 2 comments collapsed Collapse Expand

    This shouldn't be an issue. The way the Book of Discipline currently reads is 100% in line with what Scripture says. Accept homosexuals as people, love them just the same as everyone else, but do not condone the practice of sin, be it homosexuality, adultery, murder, envy, gluttony, greed, stealing, lying, cheating, hatred, etc. By no means would a minister officiate a wedding for a married man and his girlfriend, which is adultery (aka sin). So why would a minister officiate a wedding for two men or two women, which is homosexuality (aka sin)? Wake up, Church! It isn't an issue about "Gay Rights." Gays have the same rights as everyone else. Marriage isn't a right, it's a rite. See the difference? A right is for everyone, regardless of any credentials. A rite has requirements. For example, Baptism is a rite. To be baptized, it is required that you're a believer in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and that you seek a relationship with Him. For marriage, the requirements are one man, one woman, love, and commitment to each other, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, etc.

    show more show less
  • JML80 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    Even if I agreed with your premise that the BOD agrees with scripture or with your interpretation of scripture as condemning loving committed relationships between people of the same gender, I would still have to say that our history shows that we don't treat or love homosexuals like everyone else. We have singled them out and put a label on them that is the ruler by which we judge everything about them. We question them using their gifts in God's service. We don't recognize their families. The impression we give is that they are less worthy ... unwelcome at the table.

    it is that singling out that we need to work together to change. We can start by seeing the individual for who he or she is.

    show more show less
  • david_mfgcpa 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    I love the people who are practicing homosexuality, but I do not condone the practice.  I believe that the Book of Discipline should be upheld on this point.

    show more show less
  • 1947_219 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    It is hard for me to believe that we really stand behind our motto of "Open Hearts, Open Doors, Open Minds" when we refuse to acknowledge homosexuality and gay rights equal to the rights of every other person God has created in His image.  The church's refusal to do this makes a huge lie out of the words "Open Hearts, Open Doors, Open Minds".  The only thing we can say that is truthful about that saying may be the "Open Doors" part, but I have witnessed that that isn't always true either.

    Judith Olsen
    Hancock VT

    show more show less
  • Createdgay 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    May God bless us all with Christ's all-inclusive love at this the season of his birth and always. You are all in my prayers. Merry Christmas one and all.

    show more show less
  • First U M C Quitman 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    I am firmly convinced by God Almighty that if we, as the United Methodist Church, approve marriage and or membership
    of gay/lesbian lifestyle we are a part of their evil deeds;  what biblical scripture calls "a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient".  We are to teach them God's truths so they can turn from their evil ways, confess their sin, and live the true christian life.   The Bible tells us "there is nothing new under the sun" and also that "God does not change".  The difference between the unsaved and the christian church are the unsaved are living with no desire to repentance and christians are repentant every day and being saved every day to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. 

    show more show less
  • Michael Salley 3 comments collapsed Collapse Expand

    I've been Methodist my entire life, and I don't want to leave -- but I won't have any other honest choice if the general conference restructures this subject. When the Church -- any denomination -- starts honoring human values over the sovereign God's word, and when the Church stops obeying God because of external pressures; when the church loses its ability to take a stand for God's will even if it's unpopular, and more than anything else, when it loses the ability to say and believe, with all its collective hearts, "God said it, I believe it; that settles it" -- then what we've lost is the obedience to God and to the truth of the Gospel without which -- we aren't a God-serving church anymore. If we start presenting God's rules as less-than-absolute, and if we stop proclaiming the entire Word of God but only the parts of it that agree with our human social ethics, then we become no better than the Mormons who accept the teachings of false prophets; no better than the Universalists who deny Christ's exclusive claim to human salvation by saying that any beliefs can be true if you want them to be; no better than all the other cults and sects out there that believe in salvation by works, universal salvation, salvation by other gods..... in short, we become well-meaning but theologically WRONG people, in severe danger of being found guilty at judgment. Whether all those groups of people I just named will be judged guilty for corrupting the gospel, or innocent because God chooses to forgive them and judge them based on "the best they knew" -- I can't say for sure; it is not my place to judge and I won't be that presumptuous. But... why even put ourselves in the position where that question has to be asked, where there has to be any doubt at all, when we know that we can ENSURE that we are on the right path with no doubts at all about our eternal future, simply by continuing to obey and preach God's word as sovereign truth, not as a matter of opinion?

    I too, like most of the posters here, have many homosexual friends. If they want to come worship in the church, they're CERTAINLY welcome as far as I am concerned. We are all sinners, in need of redemption, and we know from Scripture that to God all sins are of equal offensiveness, except the one special case of denying the Holy Spirit. From that perspective, I don't care what orientation you are, you're welcome to come worship in my church right alongside me and all the other sinners. But I don't think it's RIGHT, nor do I think it's God's will, for the church to sit back and say "oh, well, we were wrong for two thousand years, it turns out that homosexuality isn't a sin after all." In my opinion (which is worth only that), Scripture makes it quite plain that homosexuality (along with premarital and extramarital heterosexuality, something most people tend to conveniently forget about these days it seems) is a sin which people should be encouraged to leave behind them. It was not until recent years that the APA reversed its original stance that homosexuality WAS an abnormal condition, and some of us believe that change was made on political grounds. I am well aware that this opinion is not universal, and I hope you will all believe me in saying that I mean no *personal* offense to anyone or their opinions --- but my personal belief is very strong that Scripture absolutely, categorically precludes and forbids the possibility that God *ever* created a person in any way other than the heterosexual. I believe that regardless of *what* the root of a person's self-identified sexuality is, it can be found in SOME aspect of humanity rather than in any aspect of God's creation. Again, if you personally feel that your situation doesn't match that description -- I respect your right to believe that. I don't believe it.

    The church is rapidly losing relevance in society. We're already seeing the beginnings of the process by which the thriving church of Christ is being reduced only to a mere remnant. But there could be no more wrong decision than to attempt to change that situation by increasing our popular appeal at the expense of God's doctrines and God's word. I pray every day that the UMC will remain traditional, conservative, Bible-believing and full-gospel-teaching rather than following the example of so many other mainline churches and trading God's authenticity for human opinions, in a desperate bid for greater popularity among sinners. (All sinners, not just one type.) God did not call the church to be popular, and He did not call the church to deliver what "society" needed. He called the church to deliver what He needed, and to present Himself to society accurately and completely, and to make it clear to the unsaved that their need for His salvation was real, and to make it clear to the saved that their work was not yet done; that even though their eternal salvation was secure as long as they remained faithful, part of their faith was the requirement that they continue to work for Him and to respond to His love with greater devotion and obedience.

    I feel that our current position; accepting but not affirming homosexuality, is the best compromise that can be achieved for both sides between God's definition (that homosexuality is sinful, that it can be overcome by hard work, and that it should be overcome through the Holy Spirit and through the process of repentance) and humanity's need to feel welcome, to worship regardless of opinion, and to not be ostracized or driven to self-immolation because of something a church member said to them. I acknowledge that my sins are EQUALLY great, and that I'm in equal need of repentance and spiritual growth, and that the church should never refuse to allow a person to worship in spite of their sin. (If there were no sinners, the Church would be empty.) With that being said --- I cannot reconcile my need to obey the Biblical demand that I remain faithful to God and attempt to live up to His will --- with membership in a church that teaches false doctrines and waters down God's word for its own social purposes. I am currently the pianist in a small Methodist church; my entire family has been Methodist for generations; there is so much that I love about the church that I would absolutely HATE to be driven from it. (I am, however, perfectly willing to have sins lovingly pointed out and to be encouraged to correct them; that's what it's all about.) I'm not a reactionary, and I've got plenty of time to sit back and see how this works. But I have talked to so many atheists, agnostics, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, all sorts of people who have been allowed to believe false doctrines and false teachings and to believe that God said things that God promises in the Bible that He never said --- and I have successfully taught a few of them the truth and seen them join Christian churches. Some Methodist, some Baptist, some... etc. But part of my argument to them was that heaven and hell are very real and very eternal and very literal; that the Bible is absolutely, demonstrably, and inerrantly the Word of God and that it cannot be picked over and modified, but rather that what it teaches is "the truth" and that it has to be followed as such. Since I have used that argument to *support* our denomination (and many others) and to disprove some of the cult denominations, I would be hypocritical if I did *not* turn that same argument back on myself and my own church if my own church falls into disobedience.

    Let me close by saying, I sincerely apologize for how strongly I've worded this, and at the end of the day, I do love and respect many of my friends who are homosexual, and I genuinely want them to feel welcome to worship in the church alongside me. I consider them to be equal in human worth, equally sinful but no moreso than myself. I recognize the need for a FRIENDLY resolution to this problem, no matter what it is. But at the end of the day, my "take a step back and look at the situation" stance is that the Church has to be willing, on *any and all* issues, to say "sin is sin, the truth is the truth, and we open our doors to everyone but we also encourage everyone to address every sin, and there can be no exceptions." The argument that the Bible doesn't clearly identify homosexuality as a specific sin is spurious, in my opinion, but it's not my decision.

    show more show less
  • Mary_1 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    You're so right Michael. God's Word is to be the guide for a true Christian and we must uphold it as the final say in all matters. The Bible says in Romans 1:26 and 27 that women exchanged "natural" relations for "unatural" ones and also the men abandoned "natural" relations with women and were inflamed with lust one for another and that they committed "indecent" acts with other men. It says they will due penatly for their "perversion". We are to love everyone. God is able to change a thief, homeosexual, murderer, etc. , but according to the Bible, all are sinners and must come to repentance. God's Word should always be the final authority. Thank you so much for your comment.    Mary Ann Jehlen, Willow, Alaska

    show more show less
  • JML80 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    Your post is a clear example of one of the many perspectives that exist in the UMC. I don't agree with your interpretation of the scripture where it talkes about human sexuality or your perspective on other denominations. I share your belief that we can all worship together. The current wording in the discipline singles out homosexuality for "special" treatment.

    If we as the Christian church and the Body of Christ continue to let these polar issues divide us rather than seek common ground then I believe we are falling short of God 's purpose for the church. My suggestion from a BOD perspective is that we find wording that clarifies the current conflicts and that United Methodists with different perspectives can live with and not belive we are calling a group of God's children less worthy or that we are condoning sin.

    I hope that as United Methodists we can find it in our hearts to live up to our slogan and to move forward so that we can put our attention where it belongs, on the real people God commanded us to love.

    show more show less
  • JML80 3 comments collapsed Collapse Expand

    This is a complicated topic that has real people at its center. Emotions run high when the topic comes up and we put labels on those forgotten people that in effect dehumanize them. Instead of dealing with the real person God puts in our path we deal with the label we put on them.  I would like to suggest that as we prepare for GC 2012 that we all stop and consider those real people.Those real people are and always have been a part of the UMC. They have changed the rules because in many churches those real people are breaking their silence and introducing their families to the church. At the end of the day the words in the BOD are not what is important. It is how we as the church love the lesbian mothers and their two children. Regardless of your perspective on whether or not LGBT people choose their lifestyle or are born with their sexual orientation/identity; regardless of your interpretation of scripture; regardless of whether or not the UMC adopts inclusive language in the BOD the LGBT family is real and is a part of the Body of Christ.  They are in UMC pews on Sundays.Christ commanded us to love God and love our neighbors. LGBT people and the church struggle with that and the impact is to the lesbian couple and their children. Those children are instructed not to talk about their families in the church because everyone doesn’t view them as a family. The teen-age son of the church leaders who is struggling with his sexual identity should feel safe in God’s love. Instead, our inability to be neighbors and the debate that has been ongoing for years may add to his struggle. Way too many of those teens find their way to a suicide hotline. There are more important things than the word in the BOD.The BOD does have to be addressed and the conversations at GC are necessary. I am suggesting that they are not the most important thing. The most important thing is the real people God puts in our path and commands us to love. The Body of Christ that is the Christian church is not just UMC or Baptist or Catholic or Presbyterian or UCC or …  Suggesting that LGBT people find another denomination is in and of itself not what Christ commanded when he commanded us to be disciples and neighbors. LGBT people are gifted by God just like their heterosexual neighbors. They are called by God to use those gifts in His/Her service. By arguing over whether or not they can use those gifts in the UMC we are in effect coming between them and a relationship with Christ so we do have to address it. But, we don’t have to address it to love the real people God puts in our path.

    show more show less
  • Createdgay 2 comments collapsed Collapse Expand

    Thank you for speaking out for us.

    show more show less
  • JML80 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    We speak different languages on this topic. I don't know the answer. But, right now too many LGBT people interpret our words in the BOD as relegatiing them to a second class or less worthy status. That has to change. More important than that though ... the suicide rate among LGBT youth is the highest in the country. The Christian church could have a tremendous impact on that if we would stop arguing over words on paper and take notice of those youth (who are trying their best to blend in and fit).

    show more show less
  • Dan Lewis 2 comments collapsed Collapse Expand

    Wow.  I'm very sad to find an utter lack of humility in the previous comments.  Truth be told, no human earns the love of God, and every single ordained clergy person has had thoughts or actions that should disqualify them for ordination.  Even letters from Mother Teresa shared after her death revealed her struggle with feeling worthy of her call.   Look at the recent history of politicians and prominent clergy who have railed against homosexuality to then be caught doing the exact thing they propose to hate.  Those politicians and clergy are shamed, pointed toward repentance, and dropped instantly from the public eye.  How many times?  Over and over again - how many times do these people have to be swept under the rug as if doing so will make the scary behavior go away?  It's not that the culture is changing the church toward a sinful future.  It's that the people who have been closeted for centuries (including many saints of our church) are saying now, "I exist."  It isn't anything new.  For once, the culture is leading to a place of personal integrity and truth, a place that the church wants to pretend doesn't exist.  Aren't we safer having people who are public and healthy about their same-sex relationships as opposed to sneaking around behind the backs of their spouses and church members?  As far as the Bible is concerned, it contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals.  That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals.  It's just that they need more supervision.

    show more show less
  • Createdgay 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    Amen! Thank you friend!

    show more show less
  • Cpullins 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    It is about time that the United Methodist
    Church moved into the 21st. Century.  It is time we let our opinions rule
    our decisions.  The Word of God does not have the authority in our lives
    that it once had.  The culture has the message for the church.  Let
    us stand up and be counted as people who have been converted by the world
    around us.  It is time that our Bishops led the church into its continued
    growth in culture.  The retired Bishops have been the ones who have led
    the United Methodist Church down this road why wouldn't they continue to speak
    out in favor of the culture.  They are drawing their pensions, why
    shouldn't they speak for the church?  The Discipline is a dinosaur, why
    should we as clergy   and Bishops adhere to its authority as well.
     Let us listen to the Cultural prophets that cry from the wilderness of
    insight and forget the doctrines of our faith and the truth of God has
    contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.  As we stand
    before our congregations and proclaim the good news of blending into the world
    let be prepared to grow the Kingdom of God.  The truth is, God has always
    had a people!  But God does not need the United Methodist Church, we need
    the Incarnate God who came as the Babe of Bethlehem to lead us to renew a faith
    that does not appear to have all of the form of religion without the power.

    show more show less
  • Joyse99 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    It saddens me that some of our UM leaders have chosen to adopt worldly values and beliefs contrary to God’s word. The Word of God is clear. Our discipline is clear. Exodus International and other Christian groups have proven change is possible. I pray God will open the eyes of those who seek to compromise and distort God’s word. The bible tells us people will know us by our love. It is not loving to know the truth, and not share with those who need to lovingly hear the truth because we don’t want someone to feel bad. Leading people to expect God will accept what God has clearly said He will not accept, is failing to demonstrate true love. We are called to be the “salt of the earth”. Let us not lose our savor.

    show more show less
  • Joyse99 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    It saddens me that some of our UM leaders have chosen to adopt worldly values and beliefs contrary to God’s word. The Word of God is clear. Our discipline is clear. Exodus International and other Christian groups have proven change is possible. I pray God will open the eyes of those who seek to compromise and distort God’s word. The bible tells us people will know us by our love. It is not loving to know the truth, and not share with those who need to lovingly hear the truth because we don’t want someone to feel bad. Leading people to expect God will accept what God has clearly said He will not accept, is failing to demonstrate true love. We are called to be the “salt of the earth”. Let us not lose our savor.

    show more show less
  • Createdgay 3 comments collapsed Collapse Expand

    I respectfully suggest that everyone read the book "The Children Are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence for Same-Sex Relationships" and view the movie "For the Bible Tells Me So". Please consider them with an open mind and honor our Methodist slogan "Open hearts, open minds, open doors". Too often I have felt it is truly "Closed minds, cold hearts, locked doors". I am dedicated to the Methodist Church, but God made me gay and it would dishonor him not to live to the fullness of the identity he gave me and that includes sex within a committed relationship(as marriage is a blessing the Church denies me). Please pray on this and on the book and the movie. God bless you all as he has blessed me.

    show more show less
  • proudmaloner 2 comments collapsed Collapse Expand

    I would like you to consider the following:

    1. You say God made you gay and it would dishonor Him not to live that way.  Does that mean that pedophiles should be free to stalk children since God "made" them that way?
    2. You mention a committed relationship as a standard.  Why?  Lust and adultery are rampart in our culture.  Using your argument for #1, God made us lustful, and many people have a wandering eye.  Wouldn't it dishonor God to live monogamously?
    3. One of the central tenets of Christianity is that we are all born in a state of rebellion to God; we are all sinful.  That's why we need salvation from Jesus.  If you use the argument that you were created gay as an excuse to sin, then all of us can stay the way we were created.  We don't need Jesus.

    Consider the logical implications of what you say carefully.  If we continue to pull on the thread of homosexuality then the tapestry of God's righteousness becomes unravelled.

    show more show less
  • Createdgay 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    I respect your right to your opinion and want you to live your conscience and I will continue to live mine. If I am wrong I alone will answer to God on Judgment Day. Check with the American Psychiatric Association, pedophiles are not born that way, but gays are born gay. I do not believe that Jesus would condemn me for who I love in a committed, consensual, adult relationship. Besides, nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus say anything about homosexuality--nothing that could even be misconstrued that way. If he felt it was a sin I think he would have said something about it along with "Love thy neighbor", but he never told us who NOT to love. At this the season of his birth I extend my love to you as my Christian brother and I will pray for you. Please pray for me, too. We are all broken and fall short of the glory of God. God bless you and Merry Christmas.

    show more show less
  • PastorTR 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    When I was ordained as an elder, I gave my word and spoke an oath to uphold and support the Book of Discipline. I readily admit, I do not agree with everything in the BOD, but I support and uphold it with my actions, my words, my ministry and my life.......just as Amy deLong gave her word when she was ordained. As an elder, I do not have the authority or right to arbitrarily decide which parts of the BOD I can support and which I can't. The BOD is not a buffet table nor a menu from which we can pick and choose. As elders, we are bound together by our oaths and our word.  Amy DeLong's actions....and I'm sad to say similar actions by other brother and sister elders....is severly damaging the clergy connection we have with one another. No elder...no pastor....has the authority to arbitrarily decide which parts of the BOD we can abide by and which we can't. DeLong's path is a path of connectional chaos and anarchy where every pastor will be free to do what she/he deems "justified" in their own eyes, regardless of wht the BOD states. That path is not acceptable. As UMC pastors, we are called to lead by example and snubbing our collective noses at the BOD is not a good example. It pains me to say this but if a clergy/pastor is so beholding to a political agenda or ideology and believes so strongly that he/she feels they must unilaterally disobey and refute the BOD and in that action, violate their oath and word, then it is time to move on to a denomination which better fits one's mindset. Sorry. I know that sounds harsh, but it is the only viable solution to this 30+ year ideological war.

    show more show less
  • raburb77 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    Only 36 out of 92 "retired" (meaning not actively leading an episcopal area) oppose our current wording in the Discipline.  The view that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching has been affirmed and reaffirmed many times.  Personally, I have friends who are gay, but it does not change my opinion that the gift of sexual intimacy given by God in creation is to husband (man) and wife (woman).  Any and all other sexual expressions like outside the blessing of God.  To bless what is clearly wrong is, well WRONG!  It will not change a thing but continue to distort God's view and plan for marriage.  Marriage is about living that covenant life of share intimacy.  If the Right Rev. DeLong cannot abide by our rules and stand by our views, then perhaps it is time to venture elsewhere.  All persons are of sacred worth; all persons (myself especially) stand in need of God's grace.  However, as a church, we cannot condone what God's Word clearly teaches is inappropriate.  It is time to move onward and forward, and be as Wesley would say, a "people of One Book!"

    show more show less
  • lmiller 2 comments collapsed Collapse Expand

    Amy DeLong should have had her Elder's Orders taken away.  I am sure that many of my Christian Bothers and Sisters make their voices heard when the court system in this country issues punishment that is nothing more than a slap on the wrist, but it seems that this isn't the case within our UM Church.  We have Bishops pushing the liberal agenda and clergy going on public television announcing their support for gay marriage.  I know of one case where the individual wasn't yet ordained, but when it came to her ordination, she openly declared that she supported the Discipline of the United Methodist Church and the Bishop who ordained her knew that that wasn't the truth.

    When the gay community came out of the closet they began a movement which has changed our culture, not for the better.  If only the faithful Christians would come out of their closets of fear and proclaim the Gospel of confessing our sins, asking forgiveness, and accepting the grace that God gives through none other than Jesus Christ, the Messiah shose birth we celebrate, but must also celebrate his resurrection at the same time to free us from our sin. But first and foremost we must confess our sin or all hope is lost.

    show more show less
  • John Donaldson 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    I agree.  She was ordained under false pretences.  She was pretending to be in agreement with the Book of Discipline, when she really wasn’t.   Incidentially, if she wasn’t lying, and in fact had told the truth about her orientation and lifestyle choice, and was still ordained, then those ordaining should also have their credentials taken away.

    show more show less
  • Querubin Canlas 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    spiritual arrogance is what it is---

    in the secular world, if we override the legal boundaries the possibility of a prison sentence looms large.  in the Church, clergy who overstep the bounds of our Discipline get away with it.  the thought of certain groups or individuals taking the 'law' into their own hands, not complying but, in fact, going against it on the notion that it is wrong, rejects our standards.

    would it not be more proper if change is first sought after through proper process, and if achieved, imposed...rather than ram whatever agenda one has down the unwilling throats of those who believe in the opposite idea?

    ---spiritual arrogance is what it is!    

    show more show less
  • Ava_Bone 2 comments collapsed Collapse Expand

    The Old and New Testaments compliment each other... In the OT, God gives the Isrealites many rules to abide by. Leviticus 18:22, "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is destable." And again in Leviticus 20:13, "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." And now we look to the NT where it is stated in Galations 5: 19-21, "The acts of a sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealously, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." So my question is: When did it become alright to choose which rules to follow and which ones to trash?

    show more show less
  • sarah rohret 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    "do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman" is not talking about a loving committed relationship.  It is talking about lowering a man to the substandard of woman.  Its talking about men being naturally superior and women being naturally inferior.  Does this say anything about love, commitment and companionship?  No.  David and Jonathan loved each other and pledged commitment and love to each other.  So did Naomi and Ruth.  The two greatest, monogamous, love stories of the OT are gay love stories. All the straights in the OT are polygamous.  So. . . lets go back to REAL Bible teaching and let all the straight men marry lots of wives.

    Galatians is talking about orgies and sex not for love but for fun.  This has nothing to do with loving, committed, relationships.

    show more show less
  • karenbueno 3 comments collapsed Collapse Expand

    It is time for our beloved United Methodist Church to change the language in the discipline to really align with our motto of Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds.  Our Creator God has created our brothers and sisters as gay and lesbian.  It is time to drop all of the language which discriminates against them.  Pastors need to be free to marry any two individuals who want to make a marriage commitment.

    Karen Bueno, Thornton, CO
    Good Shepherd United Methodist Church

    show more show less
  • LarondaWilliams 2 comments collapsed Collapse Expand

    Hi Karen, How do explain Scriptures?

    In the beginning the Creator made them male and female. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh (Matt 19:4, 5).

    God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion (Rom 1:26-27).

    show more show less
  • sarah rohret 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    This is coming from Paul, the guy who says we shouldn't marry at all because Jesus is coming any day and getting married will just be a diversion.  Only get married if you really can't keep your pants on.
    Hmmmmmm.   When you preach that sermon I want to be there

    show more show less
  • Joe in MS 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    When I was entering the ordained ministry and had to appear before my local District Committee on Ministry (DCOM), I had already had to honestly describe myself -- including a previous history of alcoholism and drug abuse.  I'd been sober for the previous (3) years and was regularly attending AA meetings.  I was told by the DCOM that I would have to undergo an initial drug and alcohol test and regular tests after that because United Methodist clergy were supposed to uphold high standards of moral conduct and obey the Discipline.  That's a covenant, and it's not hard to understand the logic behind it.  After all; we are supposed to have personal knowledge of the practical saving grace of God so we can testify to that.  If Rev. DeLong doesn't have to uphold the same standard covenant, does that mean all of the other former drunks and dopers like me can get plastered before we get into the pulpit?  Do former thieves and sinners of other styles get similar freedoms also?  At what point does the moral covenant have to hold?  None?  What should we clergy have to stand for?  Nothing?  That doesn't sound very "set apart" to me.

    show more show less
  • Charlie Gilman 2 comments collapsed Collapse Expand

    If the Methodist Church does not uphold the Book of Discipline in the strictest sense by severe punishment for clergy who knowingly violate the law of the Church then we will disappear as a denomination as do others who reinterpret the Bible.

    show more show less
  • JenniferConrad 1 comment collapsed Collapse Expand

    I agree.  If anyone does not like what the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline says, they perhaps should seek another denomination.  Maybe times have changed, but God has not.  It would be like any other organization that has membership standards.  The girls can't join the Boy Scouts, that's why there are Girl Scouts.

    show more show less

Ask Now

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.


*InfoServ ( about ) is a ministry of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add this address to your list of approved senders.

Would you like to ask any questions about this story?ASK US NOW