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. KelleyMr. Steven AdairRev. Kaye HarveyMrs. Mary Lynn HollyRev. Ken EdwardsRev. Merrilee WineingerMr. Jacob VaughnRev. Nelia KimbroughRev. Chris O'RearRev. Adam KelchnerRev. Dr. Sandy ShawhanRev. Susan HayMr. Todd CoxRev. Katie WoodardMs. Jan PhelpsRev. Kevin CrawfordMs. Shania WheatleyMr. Jedediah HanesRev. R Calvin Kimbrough JrMr. James E HearnMr. B David BeersRev. Zach MoffattMs. Judith LongMs. Kimberly JoyceMs. Ellie CrainMs. Lynda NuttRev. Stephanie Baxter DunnRev. Debra TyreeMs. Wini GrizzleRev. Darren Mayberry WrightMs. Cindy CaldwellRev. Jodi McCullahMrs. Jackie ShieldsMrs. Jill WhittinghilRev. Jared WilsonMr. Tory Shane DillardMrs. Carol LewisRev. Robert CarlisleRev. Judy LoehrMr. Alan WhitleyMrs. Barbara HigginsDr. Anne WallRev. Allen GrantMs. Kylene McDonaldMrs. Martha PonderMr. Mickey PonderMs. Keller HawkinsMs. Kim HawkinsMr. Mark JamesMrs. Lisa EdgeRev. Scott Marshall-KimballRev. Dr. LeNoir H. CulbertsonMrs. Jeanie BartonMrs. Sue GeierLindy ThompsonRev. Ann L. CoverMr. Caleb DingerMs. Carol BrownRev. Jeff StreszoffRev. Monica MowdyRev. Sean StanfieldMr. Timothy DonahooMr. Wayne BradshawMrs. Frances McGillRev. Becky YatesRev. John HillMr. L. Deen ThompsonRev. David Brent HollisMs. Meggie McDowelRev. Dr. Robert A. RatcliffMr. Michael Szalapski Mrs. Judy CourseyRev. Brian M. MarcoulierMrs. Caroline ArcherMrs. Dona WileyMrs. Sharon E DeCantRev. Denna HornbyMs. Ellen HaberMr. John HilleMrs. Katie Minnis (future clergy)Rev. David StarkDr. Ashlee Sanders HeadrickMs. Merrie Simonton Ms. Denise Nutt-BeersRev. Theresa A. JohnsonMrs. Rachel B. Hagewood Rev. Lisa GwockMrs. Meredith KingMr. Adam KingMiss Molly KingRev. Shelby SloweyMr. Kent McNishRev. Peg AugustineMrs. Mary Lynn HollyMs. Dorothy (Deedie) DavisMr. Matt KingMrs. Sue MatherDr. Wena HarrisonMr. Dick WilliamsMrs. Jessica Miller KelleyRev. Bill CampbellMr. Mike HodgeMs. Joy CobbRev. Erin RacineRev. Rob WheelerMs. Janet KnightRev. Jefferson M. FurtadoRev. Brandon BaxterRev. Carol T. Cavin-DillonMr. Bryan RobersonMr. Rodney PickettMs. Jessica MaruriMrs. Kimm PorterMr. Patrick McAnallyDr. Susanna Marshall-KimballDr. Henry HarrellRev. James ColeMr. J. Dietz OsborneMr. Austin WallMs. Renee McNeillMr. Thom GarrisonMrs. Janie LunaMrs. Melanie Brooks Norwood MaysRev. Gracie DuganMs. Sarah ElfrankMr. Daniel Ibarra-ScurrMr. Connell StuardMs. Annette SpicerMr. Jonathan Michael LimaMrs. Katy EnterlineMrs. Debbie DuttonDr. Millie GoodsonMrs. Wanda Sparkman Mr. Barry SparkmanRev. Robert H Lewis Jr.Mr. Jim AllenMrs. Debbie AllenMiss Debbie GonzalezMr. John HilleMs. Barbara HoodMrs. Pat MullinsRev. Dr. Gerber FarelliMr. Donald L ReynoldsMrs. Morgan Caroline LimaMrs. Melonee OatsvallMs. Sara PérezMs. Pam BuckMrs. Vicki WallaceRev. Dr. Karen P BarrineauRev. Dr. Vin WalkupMrs. Ann WalkupMrs. Heather Gee-ThomasMr. Gavin RichardsonMs. Katherine Myatt ShadboltRev. Dr. Pamela HawkinsRev. Bill LovellMr. William W. HowellMs. Stacey Killian HagewoodRev. Bettye P. LewisMrs. Alana GriffithDr. Fern RichieMs. Faith A. HoldredgeMr. John SchaeferMs. Ann HaglerPat QuillensDonna QuillensRev. Jay VoorheesMr. Bryan RobersonMrs. Bethany WilsonMs. Emily Martin AndersonMrs. Sue SteinMs. Debbie RhoadsMs. Lyn HoytMs. Laura CreekmoreMrs. Phyllis SellsRev. Stacey Harwell-DyeRev. Martha Hicks TouchtonMr. Keith MillslagleMrs. Amanda MillslagleMr. Ervin Mason Rev. Melisa DersewehDeaconess Debbie ByrdDeaconess Elizabeth ShadboltDeaconess M. Garlinda BurtonMs. Rebecca WaldropMr. Rick BernhardtRev. Steph DodgeRev. John FeldhackerMrs. Judy UllrichMr. Lou UllrichRev. Nick Baird-ChrisohonMr. Davis W. TurnerMs. Teena KingMs. Ann HaglerMs. Maggie TaylorRev. Betty Proctor-BjorgoMr. Charles UffelmanMr. Kevin M HostlerRev. Mike GainesMrs. Lura Ellen TaylorDr. Robert E. RichieMr. Tory Shane DillardMr. John MelickRev. Amanda K. BorchikMrs. Donna HarrisonMs. Katie JohnstonMr. Skip NickoloffRev. Jon SnapeMr. Eric GambillMs. Kay Cooper GabberyMrs. Emma Jackson PerkinsMr. Aaron OlsonDr. Benjamin T. JordanMrs. Martha Ann PilcherMr. Franklin Leonidas RaderMr. Gerald E ChambersMr. Brent ClarkMr. Tom GambillMr. Frank ClementMr. Cory HowellMrs. Laura M. StrianseDr. Linda LundinMs. Pauline S. RogersMs. Lola JarrellMrs. Mary PhyMs. Cate CampbellRev. Dr. Mark ForresterMrs. Melora TurnerDr. Carlton R. YoungMrs. Laura StrianseMs. Carolyn BrackettMs. Candace DunhamMs. Rebecca LucasMs. Tiffany DavisRev. Stacy GonzalezMrs. Erin RichardsonDr. Paul S. MartinMrs. Tiffany LipscombMr. Brian LipscombMr. Justin CookMs. Kren TerenMr. Gerald LangleyMs. Bonnie A. SeayRev. Don S NobleMrs. Laurie AndrewsMrs. Jennifer BagwellMr. Gerald KirkseyRev. Sarah McWhirt-TolerMrs. Cheryl StoneMrs. Nancy J. BrownMrs. Patricia RiceMrs. Lynn ClementRev. Paul PurdueRev. Dr. Duane A EwersMrs. Nancy ShadeMs. Kayla ShadeDr. Bethel Thomas, Jr.Mrs. Lois W ThomasMrs. Casey HattonMrs. Holly WilliamsMrs. Brittany WilliamsDr. Amy J PhelpsMrs. Rachel ParkerMr. Clint GruwellMr. Louis JordanRev. Rev. Susan A. GrayMr. Phillip CramerMs. Mary Kaye JordanMrs. Melissa RobertsonDr. Stephen DeppenMs. Charity IngersollMrs. Brittany JordanMs. Judy IsenhourMrs. Sally MillsapRev. Heather HarrissMr. Andrew JordanMr. John McAteeMs. Caroline MasonDr. Pamela AubleMr. Patrick A. PittsMr. Mike EngleAmb. Charles Richard BowersRev. Michelle Ozier WallaceMrs. Kay BowersMrs. Carolyn Hall ThompsonMs. Sandra SeidelMr. Allan F. RamsaurMs. Anne TrudelMr. Ben DeppenMs. Arnell Willis Ms. Marlene AlvarezMr. Michael JordanMr. Jacob ThompsonDr. Patricia RobinsonRev. M. Anne Burnette HookMs. Ginger JohnsonMs. Nancy MacLeanMr. J Michael FitzpatrickRev. David McIntyreMrs. Emily La Branche DelikatMr. Thomas FarleyMrs. Debbie RobinsonMs. Sherrie CavinMs. Elizabeth GerlockMr. Harry RobinsonMrs. Jennifer OatsvallMrs. Gwen HewgleyMrs. Miriam CacceseRev. Jack GilbertRev. Nan ZollerMrs. Kay GabbertMrs. Anna Long-HumphreyMr. Daniel HatalshyDr. Randolph CoxDr. Brooke AckerlyMr. Bill ZinkeMs. Laurie LeeMs. Anita SchmidMr. Charles HooperMs. Mattielyn WilliamsMs. Barbara CraggMs. Liz Leis