BWC Laity Letter
To Our Siblings in Ministry to the Baltimore-Washington Conference:

We laity of the Baltimore-Washington Conference (BWC), lament over the continued discrimination against and exclusion of marginalized people, particularly LGBTQIA+ people and their families, from the full life of our church. We are outraged at the outcome of the recent General Conference Special Session in St. Louis, an outcome that, if upheld, will be disastrous for ministries in our churches. The BWC has a long history of addressing racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, and discrimination based on economics and cultural values. We must continue to be messengers of Christ’s inclusion of all people within the life of our United Methodist congregations.

We commit ourselves to working to make space for new life breathed into our denomination -- a denomination that fully reflects God’s love for all people. We recognize that our denomination has broken Wesley’s first General Rule to “do no harm.” We acknowledge that the tone and results of General Conference 2019 have inflicted deep harm on all church and community members; that harm was most deeply inflicted on LBGTQIA+ members of our denomination. Some of us are so wounded that we are struggling with the question of whether to remain in the denomination we love.

As a result, we are called to proclaim both our belief and our dissent. We refuse to follow any exclusionary provisions against LGBTQIA+ Christians. We reject the notion that the lives of LGBTQIA+ people are “incompatible with Christian teaching.” We believe that all people bear the image of God. We affirm the diversity of sexual orientations and gender expressions that God has created and called good (Genesis 1:26-31). We follow Jesus Christ, whose teachings and ministry were revolutionary for his time and his society (Luke 19:1-10, Mark 3:1-6; Luke 7:36-50). We know that at his earthly end, he took up the cross and was crucified in the manner of a marginalized member of his own society, so that in his death, all people, marginalized and privileged, are redeemed and invited into the full life that God gives. Any limits that we might put on this invitation is against the all-encompassing nature of God’s grace.

As Laity of the BWC we believe that as baptized Christians, we are all ministers. We will work with our congregations to move the denomination 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 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 affirm, and cannot let our clergy deny, the covenant of marriage to committed, same-sex couples.

We will support all qualified persons who answer 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.

We laity of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, stand in solidarity with other United Methodist Conferences, standing publicly in the face of this injustice. We are ready to chart a way forward for United Methodism in this Annual Conference and around the connection, a way forward that includes all of God’s children. Now is the moment to unite in confessing the harm we have done and continue to do to LBGTQIA+ persons and their families; covenanting to faithfully keep our baptismal vow to follow Jesus Christ in resisting “evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves”; and boldly sharing the Good News of God’s abundant grace.

Grace and Peace be yours,

Heather Akehurst-Krause
Ryan Alban
Deaconess Logan Alley
Debbie Ambrose
Carol Anderson
Caroline Anderson-Gray
Susan macDCG Andrews
Dick Annis-Forder
Deadra C. Atkins
Teri Augustine
Steve Augustine
Peter Augustine
Ellen H. Bachman
Ned Bachman
Tabitha Bailey
Sheldon Bair
Barbara Bair
Jay R Ball
Jack Ballard
Louise Ballard
Helen Ballew
Richard Ballew
Tammy Band
William Band
Rebecca B. Barbusca
Pat Barkdoll
Jill Barker
Kathy E. Barna
Phil Barna
Grace Barna
Abigail Barna
John Barnes
Susan Bartley
Tom Bartley
Marty Bartley
Leah Bartley
Andy Bartley
Gladys B. Baxley
Michael K. Beard
Nancy Beers
Erica Benjamin
Bob Benn
Neil Bergsman
Carol L Berman
Eugene Beye
Virginia Bickford
Carol Billett
Gilbert Bishop
Angela Blair
Sheldon Bair
Megan Blizzard
Ronnie Bohn
Larry Bohn
Anna Bostic
Leslie Brengle
Peggy Brengle
Kyler Brengle
Rose Brice
Candice Brosnan
Carolyn Browender
Carol Brown
Elizabeth Brown
Maryellen brown
Ann Brown Birkel
Suzanne Fossett Browning
Cathy Bryan
Kevin Buker
Rachael Buker
Kimberly Burge
Lauren Busky
Toni Byrd
Jackie Cage
Patricia Campbell
Shannon E. Canal
Sarah Capper
Jeannette Carlson
Jeannette Carlson
Jeannette Carlson
Jennifer Carr
Charles H. Carr
Harris Cauler
Sue Cavendish
Richard Cavicchi
Arlene Chen
Dianne Cinnamon
Becky Clapp
Alison J. Clark
David G Codner
Karen Codner
Jay Codner
Daniel Colbert
Lori Cole
Tracy L. Collins
Joyce Conley
James Conner
Tracy Content
jean correl
Eunice Corse
Jon Cotugno
Ashley Cox
Nancy Cox
Barbara Cox
Gordon Cragg
Martha Craver
Pam and Ray Crawford and family
Katy Cribbs
Ed Crump
Ella Curry
Angeline Daniels
Karen Daniels
Angeline Daniels
Judith Davies
Carolyn Davis
Michele DeBerry
Polly DeHart
Renée Workman Delacroix
Lee DeLong
Teri DeVoe
Dennis DeVoe
Anne Dickinson
Ashley DiLeo
Vickie DiSanto
Van Dixon
Michael Doan
Joyce Dodson
Sandra L. Doggett
Steven Doxzen
Dotty Doyle
Meredith Drumm
Susan Dumont
Lizzi Duncan
Susan Dunn
Jenn Duthoy
Emily Dyson
Katie Dyson
Mason Dziuk
Judith Edstrom
Wendy N. Edstrom
Patricia Elder
Sherry L Elswick
John Enders
John Enders
J. Craig English
Mary Lou English
Denise Erlandson
Daniel Evans
Debbie Fehrmann
Daniel B Fisher
Margaret Foote
Benjamin Fortney
Mary K. Foster
James S. Foster
Jamiee Foster
Joe Friebele
Suzanne Friis
Lori Fuchs
Marcia Rose Fuoss
N. Gabler
Janet Garman
Alison Gee
Jacob Gee
Shannon Gibbs
Peter Gilbert
Jody Glancy
Bill Gluth
Kathleen M Goebel
Ray M. Goodrow
Rich Goodwin
Leigha Gordillo
Eddie Gouge
Cathleen Gough
Melinda Grady
Alice Graham
Susan Gralley
Kevin Gralley
Bob & Mary Alice Gray
Sydney Green
Wendy Greenawalt
Barb Gregory
Susan B Gross
Nancy Groth
Melissa Gryder
Kaitlyn Guerrero
Laura Haas
Martha Hahn
Susan Hall
James Hamilton
Norma Hamilton
Connie Hamm
Jo Handley
Christine Hanks
Peggy Hansen
John Harden
Becky Harding
Sarah Hassmer
Paul Hazen
Brinkley Hellams
Alicia Henning
Liliana Hernandez
Nick Heynen
Kelli Hicks
Richard G. Higgins Jr.
Margaret Higgins
Sue Hill
Michael E. Hill
Willard Hillegeist
Carmen Hilton
Nadine Ann Hines
Philip A. Hipley
Kathleen Hirata
Richard Hirata
Norman Hirtle
Deanna Hodgson
Raymond Hodgson
Nancy Holland
Elizabeth Hook
James H. Hulme
Jen Ihlo
Al Ingalls
Frances Irvin
Suzanne James
Eldon James
Chet Jechura
Troy-Anthony Jenkins
Shelley Jessee
Andrea Johnson
Leah Johnson
Tom and Elise Johnson
Kathryn Johnston
Christena Johnston-Pulliam
Jill Joubert
George A. Kahl
Karen Kahn
Debbie Kalendek
Scott Karsner
Betsey Katiti
Mary Alice Kautz
Kazuyoshi Kawata
Clare Kazyak
Paul Kazyak
Paul Keefer
Michael J Keller
Phyllis A Kelley
Jillian Kelley
Warren Kelley
Brad Kenn
David Kennedy
Kara C. Ker
Duane Kidwell
Jen Kidwell
Kerry Kidwell-Slak
Edith Kirk
Karen Knauer
Cathy Dee Knepper
Kirby Knight
William Knox
William Knox
Robert Knuth
Mike Koob
Sherie Koob
Michelle Koul
Lee Krähenbühl
Heather Kraus
Barbara Krebs
Mitch Krebs
Angela Krebs
Hannah Krull
Kurt Kuhn
JoAnn Kulesza
Marge Kumaki
Kristin Kumpf
Bruce Lamb
Jennifer Lamb-Taylor
Barb Leng
Tanya Langlois
Phyllis Lansing
E. Virginia (Ginny) Lapham
Anthony Leo Lawless
Cassandra Lawrence
Jan Lawrence
Andrew Lee
Susie Lee
Robert J. Levering
Lindi Lewis
Kathleen Liedy
Stephen P. Link
Jenny Lipford
John Lipscomb
Martha Lipscomb
Sherrie Little
Dustin Long
Laura File Long
Carolyn Lunking
Steven D. Lutz
Sharon K Lyon
Brian Maciel
Mike Maltby
Mary Jo Marchant
Justin M. Martell
Katherine Martin
Carol Matlin
William J Matson
Alan E. Mayers
Emily J. Mayers
Kijana Mayfield
Karen McCann
Meg McCormick
Ann McCulloch
Ellen J McDaniel
Elizabeth McDonold
Joyce McDonough
Libby McKnight
Natalie McManus
Richard F. McManus
Jan McNally
Rachel McNamara
Mary Jo (Jody) McPherson
Lynn McReynolds
Pegg Melfa
Donna Meoli
Mary Jo Messenger
Jana Meyer
Debbie Milburn
Angela Miller
Cassandra Miller
Virginia Momirovic
Paul Moore
Elizabeth Moore
Lara Cooke Morford
Patricia Dawn Moyer
Mayra Munoz
Trish Murray
Alice Neary
Joyce Neumark
Paul Newhouse
Marianne Noble
Jane Northern
Joyce Northwood
Amanda Olear
Ira Ostrowski
Ken Ow
Terry Page
Pat Page
Jeehye Kim Pak
Sarah Park
Dr. John C. Parkhurst
Sue Parrish
Harold Patterson
Carrie Pattison
Becky Pauliny
Deborah Pavelik
Jill Peddicord
Kaitlyn Peltzer
Amy Peregoy
Rachel Perella
Steve Pflasterer
Lorette Picciano
Michele Pickens
Judy Pickens
Elizabeth Pickens
Susan Pierce-Richards
Judy Pittman
Daniel Plante
Jacqueline Reid Ploof
Joe Prefontaine
Jim Pritchett
Angela Pupino
James Quinn
Mittie Theobald Quinn
Nancy Randall
Kenzie Raulin
Barrie B Reinders
Jarrett Rettman
Jason Rhee
Peggy Rhorer
David Rice
Della Richardson
Jennifer Ricketts
Sarah Ricketts
William C. Riggs
June Willis Risley
Sue Rittmeyer
Chelsea Rivas
Stephen Roberts
Susan Roberts
Kelly Robier
Keica Robinson
Tina Robinson
Priscilla Rollins
Carol Rose
Tyler Rosenberger
Mallory Row
Sharon Row
Linwood Row
Patrick Rowley
Kathy Rudisill
Jeffrey T. Rudolph
Gregory W. Ruff
Phil Rush
Anne S Rush
Wendy Ryan
Susan F Sager
Anita Sama
Emily Sama-Miller
Heather Sanders
Barbara Sanders
Bill Schneider
Susan Schneider
Christopher Schroeder
Susan L Schwarz
Heather Schwenk
Lori Sciannella
Beth Scott
Laurel Scott
Brian Seemann
Shannon Parkin
Joyce Lee Shields
Joyce Shields
Jenn Shipley
Christopher Simon
Helen Simon
Leslie J Simpson
Peggy A Simpson
Neal A. Sipe
Larry Slagle
Debbie Slatkin
Diane Slavin
Morgan Slusher
Jeffrey A. Smiley
Dane & Judy Smith
Janet Smith
Sandy Smith
Nancy Smith
Beth Smith
Earl W. Smith
Jacob smith
james b smith
Jacob smith
Kathie B. Smith
Bruce M Smith
Jennifer Smith
Una Song
Lynn Sopher
Mary-Margaret Stacy
Shawn Steffy
Janie Stevenson
Beth Strakonsky
Jacki Stranathan
Ronnie Streff
Jean W. Strucko
Carolyn Strum
Matthew Surber
Anne Sweeney
Evelyn Swink
Heidi Taflan
Anna Taflan
John Taflan
Simon Taflan
Danielle Tate
Barbara D. Tate
Preston J Taylor
Carolyn Taylor
Jeffrey L. Taylor
Patricia Telkins
Roxanne L Terry
Michael Thompson
Steven Thompson
Paul Tiao
Eileen Tipperman
Milt Tipperman
Kerm R. Towler
Jillian Trawick
B. Teresa Tropf
Michelle Turner
Kirsti Uunila
Kirsten Vader
Nancy S Vader
Donna A. VanSant
Lee Ann Vasil
Sally Vavrek
Amanda Vierling
Suzanne Stokes Vieth
Aubrey Van Kirk Villalobos
Dan Vock
Cheryl Wadhwa
Hilary Wagner
Jana Wagoner
Rebecca Holmberg Walker
Jim Walker
Ginger Stewart Walls
Michael H. Walls
Beth Walsh
Alan B. Ward
virginia ward
Dwight Watson, Jr.
Davidson Watts
Kent H. Weaver
Jackie Weavill
Tracey Webb
Nancy Guthrie Weber
Richard E. Wegner
Ginny Ann Weinberger
Virginia M. Weiss
Stephanie P Weiss
Elder Witt Wellborn
Walter G Wells
Tom Wells
Suzanne Wenzel
Jeff Weston
Katie Weston
Eric Whisenhunt
Carol Whitney
Mary K Wilcox
Drew Williams
James H Williams
Kirsten Williams
Suzanne Williams
Laura Beth Williams
Gwen Williamson
Mary Ann Willow
Jo Ann Wingard
Valerie Wittkamper
Gail Wolfe
Robert H. Wood
Patricia Wood
Deborah Anne Woodcock
Marsha Woods
Linda Worthington
Marcia W. York
D Yost
Rob Zajdel
Kristine Zaleski
Michael Zaleski
Debbie Zechar

NOTE: Names will be updated periodically.

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