In honor of the ministry we share and in lament over the continued discrimination against and exclusion of LGBTQIA+ people from the full life of our church, we, the undersigned clergy and laity of the California-Pacific Annual Conference, commit ourselves to working for a changed church that fully reflects God’s love and longing for all people.
To fully do so means we must also acknowledge the colonial nature of the Methodist theology which was made evident at General Conference 2019, one reflective of Eurocentric white supremacist "theological" beliefs that justified Indigenous genocide, African enslavement and continues to haunt us as evidenced by our inability to effectively address racism, sexism, ableism, and heterosexism in our churches. A changed church will require us to identify, dismantle and decolonize our practice of a Methodist-inspired Christianity.
Recognizing we have broken Wesley’s first General Rule to “do no harm,” and also recognizing that God’s extravagant grace enables us to repent and be reconciled (Ephesians 2), just as God reconciled all of creation to God’s self (2 Corinthians 5: 18-19), we are called to register our dissent and to proclaim our hope and our belief.
We refuse to uphold any exclusionary provisions against LGBTQIA+ Christians. We reject the notion that the lives of LGBTQIA+ people are “incompatible” with Christian discipleship. The God we know in Christ Jesus astounded and annoyed people by eating with those who were outcast, rejected, and marginalized in his day (Luke 19:1-10), by offering God’s grace and healing at times considered inopportune (Mark 3:1-6), and by accepting comfort and love even when it interrupted the official proceedings or offended the faithful (Luke 7:36-50). As faithful followers of Christ our Lord, we strive to be as connected to and invested in our communities as Jesus was in his. Our love and understanding of scripture, our reliance on the breadth and depth of Christian tradition, our prayerful reflection on our lived experience, and our God-given reason, all conspire with the Holy Spirit to breathe new life and understanding into old debates. We affirm the diversity of sexual orientations and gender expressions that God has created and called good (Genesis 1:26-31) and we commit ourselves to live faithfully out of this understanding, especially in this uncertain time.
Call to MinistryBecause we are living into obedience to our baptismal vows to “accept the freedom and power God gives us to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves;” Because we baptize everyone without regard to their sexual orientation or gender/gender identity/gender expression, and; Because the call to licensed, commissioned, or ordained ministry flows from the waters of baptism; We therefore recognize, nurture, welcome, mentor, and celebrate everyone called by God into the fullness of licensed, commissioned, or ordained ministry.
We urge our Board of Ordained Ministry, District Committees on Ministry, and local congregations to recommend qualified candidates for ministry, without respect to their gender/gender identity/gender expression or sexual orientation, and to refrain from using criteria that exclude persons solely on this basis. When called to serve on these committees ourselves, we will support candidates and make our recommendations in this manner.
MarriageBecause scripture teaches us that we are all created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28a), bestowed with the good and holy gift of sexuality (Song of Songs 4), and created to live in covenantal relationship with God and one another (John 13:34-35), and;
Because, as with the call to ministry, marriage vows flow from the waters of baptism and because marriage is a means of grace; We are also called to recognize, affirm, and celebrate the covenant of marriage between any two persons who meet the commitments and standards for marriage, regardless of their gender/gender identity/gender expression or sexual orientation. We will not deny the covenant of marriage to committed, same-sex couples, nor exclude their celebrations from our sanctuaries. We commit to upholding the same standards for all weddings.
Clergy EthicsBecause we expect clergy to dedicate themselves to “the highest ideals of Christian life” (The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2016, par. 304), it is not acceptable to insist on mandatory sentences with respect to a narrow range of sexual conduct, while affording our bishops discretion with respect to most other aspects of clergy ethics and clergy sexual conduct, and;
Because to do so strips the bishops of authority and discernment and limits the possible outcomes which, in turn, precludes a just resolution; Because LGBTQIA+ siblings have always been involved at all levels of church leadership and refuse to serve in hiding any longer,
We refuse to convict our colleagues for extending the grace of marriage to committed couples or for any charges related to LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the full life of the church.
Retired ClergyAdditionally, because the call to ordained ministry is a call on the whole of our lives, extending beyond our years under appointment, and; Because those of us who are retired clergy are no less faithful than our actively serving colleagues to the example of Christ, the persuasion of the Holy Spirit, and the call to serve God and God’s people; In support of and alongside our active colleagues, we will not accept interim appointments or otherwise fill in for pastors who are removed from their appointments for any charges related to LGBTQIA+ inclusion.
LaityBecause, as baptized Christians, we are all ministers, this call extends to laity as well. We will work with our churches toward full inclusion in all facets of our life together. We will support clergy in this commitment and partner with them to extend the grace of marriage to all people. We will support all qualified persons who express a call to ministry and welcome LGBTQIA+ ministers who are appointed to our faith communities. When called to serve on Staff-Parish Relations Committees, District Committees on Ministry, or the Board of Ordained Ministry, we will support candidates for ministry and clergy appointed to our congregations, without respect to their sexual orientation or gender/gender identity/gender expression.
Faithfully ForwardWe hear God calling all disciples to greater faithfulness and hope in the midst of this time of pain and lament. At Christ’s invitation, we continue gathering around the wide-open Communion table as one family, seeking to grow closer and more faithful to Christ our Lord and to live in love and peace with all of our neighbors (Matthew 22:34-30; Luke 10:25-37). So fed, we commit ourselves here to the next steps in our journey.
Signed by:(*denotes laity, the form is below signatures)
Rev. Sandy OlewineRev. Myron WingfieldRev. Dan LewisRev. Denyse BarnesRev. Cynthia HuskeyRev. Dr. Krista Givens*Mark Stephenson*Rachel GipsonRev. Dr. Amy AitkenRev. Karen RistineRev. Dr. Fran Materra*Norma KerhbergDeaconess Sharon McCartRev. Janet Gollery McKeithenRev. Julie ElkinsRev. Sandie RichardsRev. Rick UhlsRev. Sheena Trotter-DennisRev. Wayne WaltersRev. Jonathan ChuteRev. Brian Kent*Dena Abramson Babb*Marynelle Evans*Leitha Schaal*JoAnn Fukumoto*Karen BurtonRev. Catie CootsRev. Kathy Cooper Ledesma*Colleen McCandless*Eric Dyson*Carol CoyRev. Dr. Cedrick Bridgeforth*Kristin FertschneiderRev. John WoodallRev. Virginia WheelerRev. Erika Gara*Mary RossRev. Dr. Sharon Rhodes-WickettRev. Nestor GerenteRev. Dr. Leigh Ann Shaw*Cynthia Tuell*Annie GommRev. Holly Reinhart-Marean*Jan HansonRev. Yvonne Boyd*Lacey LaCourRev. John ShaverRev. Patricia FarrisRev. Greg Batson*Paul AudleyRev. Steve Horswell-Johnston*Kathy McCandless*Susan HancockRev. Molly Vetter*Joel Gara*Craig Black*Dr. Lucinda RasmussenRev. Thomas ZiegertRev. Mandy McDowRev. Cathie CappRev. Bob RhodesRev. Andy MattickRev. Dr. Phyllis Tyler*Jan Ault*Anne Ault*Dr. Jane Lambert*Daniel Kosakowski*Angie McCardRev. Blair Trygstad StoweRev. Diane Rehfield*Leslie Black*Emma BlackRev. Lily VillaminRev. Dr. Mark RichardsonRev. Martha WingfieldRev. Gregory LaDue*Melissa Thach*Tricia Guerrero*Darla Dyson*Melissa ThachRev. Mark TrotterRev. John Griffin-AtilRev. Chris SpearmanRev. Anne BroylesRev. Stacy DicksonRev. Dr. Charlene ZuillRev. Dr. Mark Ulrickson*Marnos Lelesi*Pastor Christopher RilesRev. Paige Eaves*Jose Griffin-Atil*Tania BatsonPastor Lyda EndicottRev. Debbie GaraRev. Diane Davis*Priscilla BacaRev. Stephanie RiceRev. Richard BentleyRev. James E. Brooking*Jason Takagi*Brogan Hunt*Maryann ReuterRev. Brent CriswellRev. Gary Keene*Herschell Evans*Luke VanKeersbilckRev. Allison Mark*Karen Gundelfinger*Frederick S. Cook IIIRev. Camille Mattick*Rod SprottRev. Brent Ross*Scott Caprio*Wanda Gae Stefansson*Anneke DotyRev. John Farley*Alan Hay*Pamela Hay*Anna Binney*Dr. Laura (Katie) Schubert*Darlene Rodriquez*Kimberly Emerson*Kimberly PortsRev. Martha Morales*Alex Morales*Phillip Valdes*Betty KotabaRev. David Farley*Susan Kline*Anne HawthorneRev. Cynthia WilliamsRev. Dr. Ed Hansen*Cheryl Allen*Dallis Richardson*Dana BlackRev. Bob IsipRev. Johan Dodge*Joanne SatoRev. Rachel TabutolRev. Melinda Teter-Dodge*Jennifer Gaylord*Christopher Gaylord*Jennifer WeyenbergRev. Chelsea SimonRev. Dr. Mary Elizabeth Moore*Randa Krakow*Ruth KistlerRev. Alan MarkRev. Ki ChoiDeaconess Jeanne Roe SmithRev. Angela Galanis Price*Ellen Jee*Lisa Kadowaki*Adam Marshall-Lopez*Dan Gara*Cherylanne YamamotoRev. Dr. Christopher Carter*Jeri Okamot-TanakaRev. Jennifer Gutierrez*Karen Ginoza*Nicole Montgomery*Jennifer Scott*Barb KynochRev. Dr. J.T. Greenleaf*Darlene Azzam*Gilbert Vinluan*Joyce Stenberg*Jeff McCutcheonRev. Jim StandifordRev. Linda Robison*Kevin LussierRev. Lydia Sohn*Mary Jane Lambert*Hank LambertRev. Steve Poteete-Marshall*Jennifer Demaree*Zenebech McCutcheon*Derek Murakami*Ann DiPlacito*Nancy Elrod*Caitlyn Anderson*Sherry Hoffman ErlandsonRev. James Seaton*Suanne HoneyRev. Mary ScifresPastor Bridie Roberts*Dr. Frederick HoneyRev. Rona Mangayayam*Carmel Edwards*Dennis DiPlacito*Michiko Lohom*Kenneth Ellis*HT Hundley*Rene Pyle*Jennifer Cole*Mary Fitzurka*Kelly NewhouseRev. Dr. Lincoln E. Galloway*Kathleen Magill*Benjamin Tyler*Bob Dalton*Todd Erlandson*Janice Preslo*CJ Miller*Catherine DrewRev. Carl CriderRev. Lee Carlile*Gwen Cerezo*Gail Kendall*Donna Iwatsuru-Iki*Amoreena Jaffe*Steve JaffeRev. Jane VoigtsRev. Dr. Ben Vinluan*Joan TylerRev. Faith Conklin*Beth Brainerd HallockRev. Frank Hallock*Kerry Cooper*Leslie Bunker*Roger Butcher*Maxine Butcher*Twania Vinland*Patricia McRae*Kathleen Klein*Gerda Vinluan*Alex BridgesRev. Jan WileyRev. Richard Bolin*Patti Strout*Patricia DownieRev. Darin ArnstonRev. Karin Ellis*Dale McCart*Mariko Miho*Gaye Fisher*Sabrina SimmonsRev. Robert Miyaki-Stoner*Janet TottenRhonda K. LawerenceRev. Mary Kay Will*Martha WinansRev. Drew Davis*Douglas Flacker*Gail MurakamiRev. Thomas H. GriffithRev. Kristie GrimaudRev. Frank Wulf*Janet Oderkirk*Sherry BurchRev. Dr. Ron GriffenRev. Matt SeargeantRev. Sue Farley*Janet McGarvey*Dr. Jim Meagher*Debra Harkness*Carol Olewine*Jennifer McDermottRev. Dr. Paula Ferris*Susan Faber*Diane Triantis*Tad DoughertyRev. Cindy Arntston*Christine Pearce*Alan Mark McGregor*Mary May*Jessica Johnston*Edmond HambarsumianRev. Diane MettamRev. Lucy Barton*Gary Lamb*Thomas Batson*Kathy Jackson*Terri Zarow*Katie Allen*Ralph Barlow*Mark O'Dell*Carolyne Givens*Beckie Henselmeier*Sara Demeure*David Schlick*Diane Clodius*Kelli Tani*Patricia Barlow*Jessica SeargeantRev. Nicole Armstrong*Carole Karuma*Shirley Williams*Dr. Annelle Arthur*Kristen Reksc*Sharon Phelps*Harry Karuma*Miki Miyaki*Kevin Cavanaugh*Cynthia Crass*Tiffanie RomanRev. Melissa Spence*Nancy Turk*Nicole DeShazerRev. Dr. Hannah KaRev. Jung Min KimRev. Drew Davis*Ric Wilson*Dr. Matthew Wion*Scott Dreyer*Lynn Vinluan*Kerry Lewis*Diana PrattRev. Peggy GoocheyRev. Cheol Kwak*Jane B. Brummett*Amy Trotter Crouse*Nancy Hill*Katharine Henry*Lisa Palombi*Darya Jones*Leila Menzes*Sarah OvertonRev. Lori Doyle*Anne Davie*Jean TrotterRev. Frank Schaefer*Julia Noblitt*Rebecca McFarland*Jessica Tondo*Carolyn Ingram*Florence Martin*Janet Karnousky*Tish Une*Steven Dugan*Jane MatsumotoRev. James M. Lawson, Jr.*Linda Roach*Terri Hull*Sue WalketPastor Doug Dickson*Sara Sperling*Ashley Roque*Rebecca HenselmeierRev. Amy Wake*Jeremy Wells*John Turk*Lorrie Frost*Karl Lovgren*Jeanne Lovgren*Steve UsherRev. Fred OverbyRev. Randa D'AoustRev. Nancy Goyings*John Turk*Jenny Silbiger*Willa DalrympleRev. Gilbert StonesRev. Roy R. Riggs*Mark Allen*Dr. Cheryl A. Riggs*Joseph Russ*Karen Rhodes*Brian Babb*Laura Little*Richard Best*Mary Tamura*Andrea Perez*Greg Rhoads*Carol Perry*Roz Phillips*Pam Gates*John Phillips*VL Holland*Cliff Solomon*David RauRev. Dr. Bill Jenkins*Sheryl Weimer*Cathy Wilson*Barbara Pruitt*Jan Wilson*Teresa Whitesel Navarro*Jane Holland*Byron Hayes*Kimberly Brush*Disa Lindgren*Ernie LawrenceRev. Steve Islander*Debra BurrisRev. Charles Neal*Lois Vaught*Kitty Robertson*Natalie Nimmer*Jessica Inouye*Irene Yokayama*Sachiko Taketa*Helen Iwatani*Edward Vegara*Wally Wake*Debbie Kwak*Annette Okimoto*Marilyn Billingsley*Kimiko Sugamura*Lorraine Kadooka*Edna Jackson*Lynn Miyahara*Claudia Webster*Davidson Lee*Carole Ayakawa*Chuck Kalleen*Kalleen Overman*Carole Suzui*Andrew Nguyen*David McClenon*Patricia Luse*Arnold Bramlett*Diane MatsuuraRev. Eric Scott*Karen Christiansen*Benjamin Nucum*Patti JamesRev. Paula Hulet*Carol Sasaki*Ruth IngramRev. Adiel DePano*Margaret IrwinPastor Victor Cyrus-Franklin*David Mason*Margaret YunRev. Valerie Weise*Lynne BowersoxPastor Sylina Kidd*Cheryl Sloan*Richard Sloan*Akira SasakiRev. Dick GeorgeRev. Samuel L. DomingoRev. Dr. Judy Chung*Marilynne WilanderRev. Mark Feldmeir*Sandee Furuta*Jan Berentsen*David Berentsen*Brooke RowanDr. Walter Dilg*Marie Fairman*Sloan MannRev. Dr. Thomas Trotter*Doti Andoli*Gania Trotter*Erin Lopez*Mary Lopez*Betsy deBos*Lesa KunelisRev. Karen Dalton*Kathryn Loring*Judi Graham*Ann McBirnie*Brian Belting*Ann Wilson*Kara MarkRev. Dr. Frances Wiebenga*Skylar Yamamoto*Maxine WherlerRev. Dr. James Dwyer*Carolyn SteuerRev. Debbie SperryRev. Rachel deBos-Haigler*Joyce FairmanRev. Genevieve ClarkRev. Morris Floyd*R.M. (Pete) Dennis*Phyllis Lansley*Elizabeth WilliamsRev. Lea Booth*Becky Bond*Norita NelsonRev. Samuel CoxRev. Barbara G. Ripple*Jan Yuen*Rae Watanabe*Elsie Harai*Linda MatsushitaRev. Dr. Richard Matsushita*Deanna Espinas*Francis Fukumoto*Tevenita Layugan*Dorita Dunlap*Gaynl Trotter*Michael Loring*Christine Bootjer*Sarah Bower*Dorothy KuwamotoRev. John Fanestil*Mona BomgaarsRev. Mike Eggleston
8 Anonymous Supporters
+ This statement was developed with thanks to our friends and colleagues of the Virginia Annual Conference who authored “Statement in Response to General Conference 2019 from the Undersigned People of the Virginia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church,” found here https://anewthingva.com/. Their inspiration and content are greatly appreciated.