DVD assists with dialogue, not debate, about homosexuality
Oct. 9, 2006
A UMNS Report
By Linda Bloom*
A DVD resource that offers a practical guide
to discussions about homosexuality and the church while putting "a real
human face" on the issue is now available to United Methodists.
The resource was produced by the United Methodist Commission on Christian
Unity and Interreligious Concerns and United Methodist Communications.
According to the Rev. Greg Stover, a member of the Commission on Christian
Unity, the DVD "will provide a practical, general resource about how a group
of people can engage in divisive, controversial issues."
The purpose of the resource is not to change people's opinions, he added,
but "to grow an understanding of our own views and the views of others."
Jan Love, who served with Stover as co-chairperson of the commission's Task
Force for Dialogue on Homosexuality and the Unity of the United Methodist
Church, agreed with that assessment.
"In the search for Christian unity, one topic that trips us up more
frequently than most is that of homosexuality," Love said. "We know how to
debate this issue with great passion, but we often do not know how to hold
productive discussions about our different convictions, discussions that
honor the integrity of each person's faith journey."
The 2000 United Methodist General Conference, the denomination's top
legislative body, asked the commission to sponsor a series of dialogues "on
issues related to homosexuality and the unity of the church." In its Book
of Discipline, the church holds the practice of homosexuality to be
incompatible with Christian teaching, but it also states that gays and
lesbians are people of sacred worth.
In 2002 and 2003, dialogues were held with the Council of Bishops, General
Council on Ministries, racial-ethnic caucuses, and youth and young adults.
Smaller regional listening events also occurred in places such as
Cincinnati; Lubbock, Texas; Canton, Ohio; White Plains, N.Y.; Marietta, Ga.;
West Sacramento, Calif.; and Oslo, Norway.
One of the outcomes of the process is the DVD resource. "We hope that it
models how Methodists and other Christians can search for the light of
Christ in each other, even when we disagree," Love said.
"It not only helps us to have conversations but also invites us to do it in
Christian conversation," said Stover, who pointed out that worship is at the
center of such conversation.
Tool for conversation
"Can We Talk??" includes two DVDs and a CD-ROM with downloadable documents.
DVD 1 has an introduction and historical overview and offers personal
stories, perspectives on homosexuality, and a summary of the four dialogue
The Rev. Gregory D. Stover
DVD 2 offers information about setting up dialogues on the local level;
presents biblical insights, thoughts on the nature of the church and
ministry options; and provides worship materials.
Those materials represent a tremendous amount of work done by the
commission, particularly during the 2000-2004 quadrennium, according to the
Rev. Betty Gamble, a retired staff executive involved with the project.
"We intend to offer it to the church as a tool to use as they see fit," she
said. "We have tried all along to keep the material and what we did
She noted that the DVD resource does not present solutions to divisions over
the issue of homosexuality but provides a usable tool "to keep the
The DVD resource sells for $39.95 and can be purchased from EcuFilm, where
it is listed as DVD 6191. Orders can be placed by regular mail, phone, fax,
online and e-mail.
To order online, visit www.ecufilm.org.
E-mail orders can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To order toll free by phone, call (888) 346-3862 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Central Time Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. Fax orders
can be sent to (615) 742-5499 at any time. Mail orders can be sent to
EcuFilm, 810 Twelfth Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203.
*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or
Video Clips from
"Can We Talk"
Audio Interview with