Open Letter from affirming clergy and Laity of the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church to our LGBTQIA+ Family and Allies
A letter to our LGBTQIA friends, loved ones, and allies:

We, the clergy and lay persons of the Tennessee Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, are sorry.

We, the church, have once again failed to honor you as people of sacred worth, opting instead to close the door to full participation in the life of the church and declaring you “incompatible with Christian teaching”.

We lament the actions of the 2019 General Conference in St. Louis, and we acknowledge the harm that was done. While we hoped the church could find a way for people of good faith to live together in a diversity of views on human sexuality, the General Conference chose instead to further tighten restrictions on the ordination of gay clergy and the ability of clergy to perform same-sex weddings, and impose excessive punishments for those who cannot in good conscience abide by these restrictions. Hurtful words were spoken during debate on the floor of the General Conference, and we continued our tendency to talk about people, but not with them. For all of this, we repent.

To every single one of our LGBTQIA friends, neighbors, loved ones, and to all that love them, we say that you are not “an abomination”, and that you are not “incompatible with Christian teaching.” You are made in God’s image. You are God’s beloved child and an essential part of the body of Christ, where all members are welcome and deserving of the rest of the body’s love and care.

Far too often, we who claim to be allies have been content to be silent, to express our support in private, or to blame the system for our lack of action. We sincerely repent for our lack of courage, and we humbly ask for your prayers and your forgiveness.

We do not know what the future holds for the United Methodist Church, or whether the harmful course set by the 2019 General Conference can be corrected. We can only control our own actions.

Therefore we pledge to be silent allies no longer. We pledge to stand with you and speak up when harmful words are spoken and harmful actions taken. We pledge to work to elect affirming and welcoming delegates to future General Conferences, and to work to make our churches more intentionally inclusive places. We pledge to honor the call of our baptism to “resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves”, and to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, regardless of what the institutional church does.

We commit ourselves to these things, trusting in the power of our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, whose all-inclusive love can transform even the hardest, most fearful hearts.

With sorrow for our present and hope for our future,

Rev. Dr. Matthew L. Kelley
Mr. Steven Adair
Rev. Kaye Harvey
Mrs. Mary Lynn Holly
Rev. Ken Edwards
Rev. Merrilee Wineinger
Mr. Jacob Vaughn
Rev. Nelia Kimbrough
Rev. Chris O'Rear
Rev. Adam Kelchner
Rev. Dr. Sandy Shawhan
Rev. Susan Hay
Mr. Todd Cox
Rev. Katie Woodard
Ms. Jan Phelps
Rev. Kevin Crawford
Ms. Shania Wheatley
Mr. Jedediah Hanes
Rev. R Calvin Kimbrough Jr
Mr. James E Hearn
Mr. B David Beers
Rev. Zach Moffatt
Ms. Judith Long
Ms. Kimberly Joyce
Ms. Ellie Crain
Ms. Lynda Nutt
Rev. Stephanie Baxter Dunn
Rev. Debra Tyree
Ms. Wini Grizzle
Rev. Darren Mayberry Wright
Ms. Cindy Caldwell
Rev. Jodi McCullah
Mrs. Jackie Shields
Mrs. Jill Whittinghil
Rev. Jared Wilson
Mr. Tory Shane Dillard
Mrs. Carol Lewis
Rev. Robert Carlisle
Rev. Judy Loehr
Mr. Alan Whitley
Mrs. Barbara Higgins
Dr. Anne Wall
Rev. Allen Grant
Ms. Kylene McDonald
Mrs. Martha Ponder
Mr. Mickey Ponder
Ms. Keller Hawkins
Ms. Kim Hawkins
Mr. Mark James
Mrs. Lisa Edge
Rev. Scott Marshall-Kimball
Rev. Dr. LeNoir H. Culbertson
Mrs. Jeanie Barton
Mrs. Sue Geier
Lindy Thompson
Rev. Ann L. Cover
Mr. Caleb Dinger
Ms. Carol Brown
Rev. Jeff Streszoff
Rev. Monica Mowdy
Rev. Sean Stanfield
Mr. Timothy Donahoo
Mr. Wayne Bradshaw
Mrs. Frances McGill
Rev. Becky Yates
Rev. John Hill
Mr. L. Deen Thompson
Rev. David Brent Hollis
Ms. Meggie McDowel
Rev. Dr. Robert A. Ratcliff
Mr. Michael Szalapski
Mrs. Judy Coursey
Rev. Brian M. Marcoulier
Mrs. Caroline Archer
Mrs. Dona Wiley
Mrs. Sharon E DeCant
Rev. Denna Hornby
Ms. Ellen Haber
Mr. John Hille
Mrs. Katie Minnis (future clergy)
Rev. David Stark
Dr. Ashlee Sanders Headrick
Ms. Merrie Simonton
Ms. Denise Nutt-Beers
Rev. Theresa A. Johnson
Mrs. Rachel B. Hagewood
Rev. Lisa Gwock
Mrs. Meredith King
Mr. Adam King
Miss Molly King
Rev. Shelby Slowey
Mr. Kent McNish
Rev. Peg Augustine
Mrs. Mary Lynn Holly
Ms. Dorothy (Deedie) Davis
Mr. Matt King
Mrs. Sue Mather
Dr. Wena Harrison
Mr. Dick Williams
Mrs. Jessica Miller Kelley
Rev. Bill Campbell
Mr. Mike Hodge
Ms. Joy Cobb
Rev. Erin Racine
Rev. Rob Wheeler
Ms. Janet Knight
Rev. Jefferson M. Furtado
Rev. Brandon Baxter
Rev. Carol T. Cavin-Dillon
Mr. Bryan Roberson
Mr. Rodney Pickett
Ms. Jessica Maruri
Mrs. Kimm Porter
Mr. Patrick McAnally
Dr. Susanna Marshall-Kimball
Dr. Henry Harrell
Rev. James Cole
Mr. J. Dietz Osborne
Mr. Austin Wall
Ms. Renee McNeill
Mr. Thom Garrison
Mrs. Janie Luna
Mrs. Melanie Brooks Norwood Mays
Rev. Gracie Dugan
Ms. Sarah Elfrank
Mr. Daniel Ibarra-Scurr
Mr. Connell Stuard
Ms. Annette Spicer
Mr. Jonathan Michael Lima
Mrs. Katy Enterline
Mrs. Debbie Dutton
Dr. Millie Goodson
Mrs. Wanda Sparkman
Mr. Barry Sparkman
Rev. Robert H Lewis Jr.
Mr. Jim Allen
Mrs. Debbie Allen
Miss Debbie Gonzalez
Mr. John Hille
Ms. Barbara Hood
Mrs. Pat Mullins
Rev. Dr. Gerber Farelli
Mr. Donald L Reynolds
Mrs. Morgan Caroline Lima
Mrs. Melonee Oatsvall
Ms. Sara Pérez
Ms. Pam Buck
Mrs. Vicki Wallace
Rev. Dr. Karen P Barrineau
Rev. Dr. Vin Walkup
Mrs. Ann Walkup
Mrs. Heather Gee-Thomas
Mr. Gavin Richardson
Ms. Katherine Myatt Shadbolt
Rev. Dr. Pamela Hawkins
Rev. Bill Lovell
Mr. William W. Howell
Ms. Stacey Killian Hagewood
Rev. Bettye P. Lewis
Mrs. Alana Griffith
Dr. Fern Richie
Ms. Faith A. Holdredge
Mr. John Schaefer
Ms. Ann Hagler
Pat Quillens
Donna Quillens
Rev. Jay Voorhees
Mr. Bryan Roberson
Mrs. Bethany Wilson
Ms. Emily Martin Anderson
Mrs. Sue Stein
Ms. Debbie Rhoads
Ms. Lyn Hoyt
Ms. Laura Creekmore
Mrs. Phyllis Sells
Rev. Stacey Harwell-Dye
Rev. Martha Hicks Touchton
Mr. Keith Millslagle
Mrs. Amanda Millslagle
Mr. Ervin Mason
Rev. Melisa Derseweh
Deaconess Debbie Byrd
Deaconess Elizabeth Shadbolt
Deaconess M. Garlinda Burton
Ms. Rebecca Waldrop
Mr. Rick Bernhardt
Rev. Steph Dodge
Rev. John Feldhacker
Mrs. Judy Ullrich
Mr. Lou Ullrich
Rev. Nick Baird-Chrisohon
Mr. Davis W. Turner
Ms. Teena King
Ms. Ann Hagler
Ms. Maggie Taylor
Rev. Betty Proctor-Bjorgo
Mr. Charles Uffelman
Mr. Kevin M Hostler
Rev. Mike Gaines
Mrs. Lura Ellen Taylor
Dr. Robert E. Richie
Mr. Tory Shane Dillard
Mr. John Melick
Rev. Amanda K. Borchik
Mrs. Donna Harrison
Ms. Katie Johnston
Mr. Skip Nickoloff
Rev. Jon Snape
Mr. Eric Gambill
Ms. Kay Cooper Gabbery
Mrs. Emma Jackson Perkins
Mr. Aaron Olson
Dr. Benjamin T. Jordan
Mrs. Martha Ann Pilcher
Mr. Franklin Leonidas Rader
Mr. Gerald E Chambers
Mr. Brent Clark
Mr. Tom Gambill
Mr. Frank Clement
Mr. Cory Howell
Mrs. Laura M. Strianse
Dr. Linda Lundin
Ms. Pauline S. Rogers
Ms. Lola Jarrell
Mrs. Mary Phy
Ms. Cate Campbell
Rev. Dr. Mark Forrester
Mrs. Melora Turner
Dr. Carlton R. Young
Mrs. Laura Strianse
Ms. Carolyn Brackett
Ms. Candace Dunham
Ms. Rebecca Lucas
Ms. Tiffany Davis
Rev. Stacy Gonzalez
Mrs. Erin Richardson
Dr. Paul S. Martin
Mrs. Tiffany Lipscomb
Mr. Brian Lipscomb
Mr. Justin Cook
Ms. Kren Teren
Mr. Gerald Langley
Ms. Bonnie A. Seay
Rev. Don S Noble
Mrs. Laurie Andrews
Mrs. Jennifer Bagwell
Mr. Gerald Kirksey
Rev. Sarah McWhirt-Toler
Mrs. Cheryl Stone
Mrs. Nancy J. Brown
Mrs. Patricia Rice
Mrs. Lynn Clement
Rev. Paul Purdue
Rev. Dr. Duane A Ewers
Mrs. Nancy Shade
Ms. Kayla Shade
Dr. Bethel Thomas, Jr.
Mrs. Lois W Thomas
Mrs. Casey Hatton
Mrs. Holly Williams
Mrs. Brittany Williams
Dr. Amy J Phelps
Mrs. Rachel Parker
Mr. Clint Gruwell
Mr. Louis Jordan
Rev. Rev. Susan A. Gray
Mr. Phillip Cramer
Ms. Mary Kaye Jordan
Mrs. Melissa Robertson
Dr. Stephen Deppen
Ms. Charity Ingersoll
Mrs. Brittany Jordan
Ms. Judy Isenhour
Mrs. Sally Millsap
Rev. Heather Harriss
Mr. Andrew Jordan
Mr. John McAtee
Ms. Caroline Mason
Dr. Pamela Auble
Mr. Patrick A. Pitts
Mr. Mike Engle
Amb. Charles Richard Bowers
Rev. Michelle Ozier Wallace
Mrs. Kay Bowers
Mrs. Carolyn Hall Thompson
Ms. Sandra Seidel
Mr. Allan F. Ramsaur
Ms. Anne Trudel
Mr. Ben Deppen
Ms. Arnell Willis
Ms. Marlene Alvarez
Mr. Michael Jordan
Mr. Jacob Thompson
Dr. Patricia Robinson
Rev. M. Anne Burnette Hook
Ms. Ginger Johnson
Ms. Nancy MacLean
Mr. J Michael Fitzpatrick
Rev. David McIntyre
Mrs. Emily La Branche Delikat
Mr. Thomas Farley
Mrs. Debbie Robinson
Ms. Sherrie Cavin
Ms. Elizabeth Gerlock
Mr. Harry Robinson
Mrs. Jennifer Oatsvall
Mrs. Gwen Hewgley
Mrs. Miriam Caccese
Rev. Jack Gilbert
Rev. Nan Zoller
Mrs. Kay Gabbert
Mrs. Anna Long-Humphrey
Mr. Daniel Hatalshy
Dr. Randolph Cox
Dr. Brooke Ackerly
Mr. Bill Zinke
Ms. Laurie Lee
Ms. Anita Schmid
Mr. Charles Hooper
Ms. Mattielyn Williams
Ms. Barbara Cragg
Ms. Liz Leis

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