Sound Off: Church continues to welcome LGBTQ persons

  • Friday, March 1, 2019 11:02pm
  • Opinion

This past week, the United Methodist Church, an international body, held a special General Conference and decided to continue its stance against same-gender marriage and LGBT clergy.

With that as background, Langley United Methodist Church wishes to make clear its position. We will continue to do as we have done for more than 25 years. LGBTQ Christians are welcome to full and equal participation at LUMC.

In 2008, our local church officially adopted this statement of inclusion: “We invite persons of every age, gender identity, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic background, marital, social or economic status, physical or mental ability, political affiliation or military status into full participation in the life of this faith community.”

By full participation for LGBTQ persons, we mean:

• same-gender marriages can take place in our sanctuary;

• our pastors can perform same-gender marriages;

• we support the ordination of LGBT clergy;

• we welcome LGBTQ persons into leadership positions, including serving as our pastor.

All of the above are prohibited by the international UMC.

The special General Conference of the UMC, the only body which can speak officially for the entire international denomination, concluded its work this past week. The only issue considered by the 864 delegates representing some 11 million Methodists world-wide, was the inclusion of LGBT Christians.

The final result, adopted by a narrow margin of 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent, maintained the previous anti-LGBT position, but also provided harsher penalties and ways clergy and congregations could leave the denomination. It is important to note that 33 percent of the delegates are from outside the U.S. with the vast majority of them being from Africa.

In this context, Langley UMC wants it to be known to our community that our position will not change, and we will not be pushed out of the denomination. We will continue to invite LGBTQ persons into full and equal participation in this local congregation.

Mary Boyd, pastor;

Candy Ramsey, council chairwoman,

council members Katrina Collins Bentsen, Eve Carty, Larry Fox, Rosemary Martin, Betsy McCullough, Angie Ramsey, Victoria Ritts, Rudy Whittaker and Eli Wheat