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We Refuse
We, the undersigned clergy, laity, and churches of the Upper New York United Methodist Conference, reject in its totality the Traditional Plan passed at the 2019 Special Session of the United Methodist General Conference held in St. Louis, MO, February 23-26. In particular, we cannot abide with the injurious harm and emotional pain that this plan has caused our LGBTQIA+ siblings. We find the United Methodist Discipline’s phrase, “Homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching,” to be incompatible with God’s all-inclusive love of and for everyone in God’s creation and incompatible with the Jesus teachings which call each of us, as his disciples, to love everyone, unconditionally. We cannot find the faintest echo of the Jesus teachings in the exclusive, punitive, and unwelcoming words and actions of the Traditional Plan. The plan is inhumane to all God’s Children and in particular to the LGBTQIA+ community. It is, in a word, unchristian. The undersigned clergy, laity, and churches stand with the German Executive Committee, the Michigan Board of Ordained Ministry, the Western Jurisdiction of the U.S., and countless other churches, districts, and jurisdictions around the world that see nothing but emotional abuse in the adoption of the Traditional Plan.

As followers of the Jesus teachings, in which we are called to make Christian Disciples of EVERYONE for the transformation of the world, we the undersigned Clergy, Laity, and Churches of the Upper New York Conference of the United Methodist Church, refuse to deny our LGBTQIA+ siblings access to the welcoming safety of space, sacraments, and rituals of the United Methodist Church. As laity and clergy we welcome, with open arms, all members of the LGBTQIA+ community into our church families. Furthermore, as clergy, we will officiate at LGBTQIA+ weddings, and as clergy and laity, we will stand at the sides of our LGBTQIA+ ordinands. As churches, we will host LGBTQIA+ weddings and support LGBTQIA+ people who seek ordination, and those who seek leadership in lay roles. We call upon our district superintendents and bishop to officiate at LGBTQIA+ weddings. And we call upon our bishop to consecrate, commission, and ordain all qualified candidates regardless of sexuality.

We the undersigned clergy and laity of the Upper New York Annual Conference see clearly the image of God brightly reflected from the faces of ALL of God’s Children.

Alice E. Nash, layperson
Alison Jacob, LCSWR, layperson
Amy Robinson, layperson
Amy Schriver, layperson
Anne Horst, layperson
Arlene Greer, layperson
Alzina Johnson, layperson
Barbara Garges, layperson
Barbara Nelson, layperson
Barbara V. Krongold, layperson
Barbara Van Dyk, layperson
Barbara Wernham, layperson
Betty Stanton, layperson
Beverly Cosimano, layperson
Beverly Rainforth, layperson
Beverly Stokes, layperson
Bill Burd, layperson
Bill Cox, layperson
Bill Gerstler, layperson
Birney Dorr Kellogg, layperson
Bo Pedersen Geel, layperson
Brenda A Morrow, layperson
Dr. Briana Calore, layperson
Carey Merrill, layperson
Carmen FS Vianese, layperson
Carol Haack, layperson
Cathy Garrett, layperson
Cathy Woodruff, layperson
Celeste Johns, layperson
Charles Mayer, layperson
Cher McCotter, layperson
Cheryl Hine, layperson
Cheryl McGraw, layperson
Christina Schmitt, layperson
Christopher Dyson, layperson
Chuck Schmitt, layperson
Cindy Smith, layperson
Cory Tylenda, layperson
Cynthia Lunine, layperson
David McElrath, layperson
David R. Orr, layperson
Deb Bullock-Smith, layperson
Deborah Elliott, layperson
Mrs. Desiree M. Chaires, layperson
Diana Crouch, layperson
Diane M. Cox, layperson
Diane Withiam, layperson
Dick Tabor, layperson
Dwight Mengel, layperson
Elaine Platt, layperson
Elizabeth Mount, layperson
Elyse Muder, layperson
Fiona Cleogh, layperson
Freya Dolch, layperson
Gail Oakes, layperson
Gary Hebert, layperson
Gary Rith, layperson
Glenna W. Margaris, layperson
Gregory Milunich, layperson
Holly Mathison, layperson
Henrietta VanDeWeert. (Hummy), layperson
Ian C. Urriola, layperson
Ilona Horvath, layperson
Mrs. Irene Morrissey, layperson
J.J. Warren, layperson
Jackie Warren, layperson
Jami Breedlove, layperson
Mrs. Janet Huston, layperson
Jean Snow, layperson
Jeanne Finlayson-Schueler, layperson
Jeffery Carpenter, layperson
Jennie Young-Walczyk, layperson
Jennifer Chapman, layperson
Jennifer Merkle, layperson
Jennifer Royer-Barnett, layperson
Jim Coburn, layperson
JoAnn Raker, layperson
John Daniel Falotico, layperson
John Falotico, layperson
John R. Chaires, Sr., layperson
Joseph Haefeli, layperson
Joseph T. Cousins, Ph.D., layperson
Julie Huntsman, layperson
Karen Hartnrtt, layperson
Karen Quick, layperson
Karyn L McCloskey, layperson
Katharine Constas, layperson
Katherine Polesek, layperson
Kathy Courtney, layperson
Kevin Nelson, Home Missioner, layperson
Kristin Ink, layperson
Laura LeCours, layperson
LauraMarie Coleman, layperson
Leon F Perkins, layperson
Leslie Kintner, layperson
Lettie Dickerson, layperson
Lily Mayer, layperson
Linda Gring, layperson
Linda Wintja, layperson
Lois Diffendale, layperson
Lori Lorraine, layperson
Lucinda S. Haag, Lay Servant, layperson
Lynn Eastman, layperson
Marcia Dudden, layperson
Marcia Focht, layperson
Margot Rankins-Burd, layperson
Margaret Parish, layperson
Marguerite Edwards, layperson
Mark Hartsuyker, layperson
Marsha Clements, layperson
Martha R. McNeill, layperson
Marthalyn Sweet, layperson
Mary B. Boardman, layperson
Mrs. Mary B. Hanna, layperson
Ms. Mary E B Oshei, layperson
(Mrs.) Mary Jane Russell, layperson
Mary L. Breuninger, layperson
Maude Rith, layperson
Meredith Messinger, layperson
Mr. Michael Turner, layperson
Michaela Martin, layperson
Nancy Potter, layperson
Paige Bulmer, layperson
Pamela J Burns, layperson
Pamela Lillard, layperson
Ms. Pamela Murphy, layperson
Patricia Chandler, layperson
Patricia Gillett, layperson
Patricia Rleser, layperson
Patricia Sipman, layperson
Patricia Wintermute, layperson
Paul Jennette, layperson
Paula Griffin, layperson
Paula Schaeffer, layperson
Peggy R. Gaylord, layperson
Penny Heiss, layperson
Mrs. Phyllis Cousins, layperson
Phyllis Hewitt Highland, layperson
Priscilla Lambert Brown, layperson
Randel J. Morgan, layperson
Randall Roeser, layperson
Rebecca Quail, layperson
Richard Brown, layperson
Richard H. Hill, layperson
Robert Bour, layperson
Robert Kirkland Smith, layperson
Ronald Platt, layperson
Ronald Reagan, layperson
Roy Stock, layperson
Ruth Morenus, layperson
Dr. S.G. Cumings, layperson
Sally Grubb, layperson
Sara Culotta, layperson
Sarah Fredericks, layperson
Scott Gring, layperson
Sharen Holcomb, layperson
Sharon M Gaunay, layperson
Sharon Kriner, layperson
Shelia Carpenter, layperson
Simka Dolch, layperson
Shirley Drake Byers, layperson
Shirley Readdean, layperson
Dr. Stephanie Kempf, layperson
Susan Kelley, layperson
Susan Koslosky, layperson
Susan Penny, layperson
Susan Williams, layperson
Susannah L.K. White, layperson
Suzie Jewell, layperson
Ted Finlayson-Schueler, layperson
Tom Jenkins, layperson
Tom Lamphere, layperson
Dr. W. Thomas Deever, layperson
Wayne Shelton, layperson
Wendall E. Brown, layperson
Wilbur Cooper, layperson

The Rev. Amy Beth Jones
Deacon Bonnie LeValley
The Rev. Dr. Carl Shepard
The Rev. Colleen Hallagan Preuninger
The Rev. Dana Carroll
The Rev. Darienne Gagné
The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Quick
The Rev. G. William Pattison
Gary E. Doupe, clergyperson
The Rev. Heather Williams
The Rev. Dr. J. Paul Womack
The Rev. Dr. James Fenimore
The Rev. Jan McClary Rowell
The Rev. Janet Hubbard
The Rev. John W. McNeill
Kent Higgins, clergyperson
Kathy Courtney, clergyperson
The Rev. Linda Clemow
The Rev. Mark Marino
The Rev. Marti Swords-Horrell
The Rev. Merry Watters
Ned Bachman, clergyperson
Pastor Pat Dupont
Pastor Paul D. Reed
The Rev. Peter LeValley
The Rev. Dr. Patricia Bush
The Rev. Pamela Carey
Rebekah L. Solar, clergyperson
The Rev. Rebekah (Beckie) Sweet
Richard A. Breuninger, clergy person
The Rev. Richelle Goff
The Rev. Sara E. Baron
The Rev. Steven Clunn
Pastor Susan Crawson-Brizzolara
The Rev. Dr. T. Mark Ledbetter
The Rev. Tracy L. Cook
The Rev. Teressa Sivers
Tom LeBeau, clergyperson
The Rev. Vivian Ruth Waltz
The Rev. Dr. William A. Lasher
The Rev. Dr. William J. Russell

Brasher Falls United Methodist Church
Burnt Hills United Methodist Church
Centenary-Chenango Street United Methodist Church
East Bloomfield United Methodist Church
Eastern Parkway United Methodist Church
First United Methodist Church of Oneonta
First United Methodist Church of Schenectady
Fly Creek United Methodist Church
North Chatham United Methodist Church
Seneca Falls First United Methodist Church
Tabernacle United Methodist Church, Binghamton
Trinity United Methodist, Whitesboro

The list also includes three laypeople and four clergypeople who wish to remain anonymous.

It is our intention to share this letter with Bishop Webb and the cabinet of Upper New York Annual Conference and make it public. Any names we do not make public will be tallied, as in "an additional 25 laity signed this petition but were afraid of the repercussions of having their name released."

We encourage the vote of a church council and/or church/charge conference before a church is added.

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