UMC Episcopal Endorsement of Same Gender Coupling

UMC Episcopal Endorsement of Same Gender Coupling!



Music Title: Suspicion!

Express yourself in a survey on The United Methodist Church and Homosexuality -- you have options in your answers!


It is a practice in society for celebrities to endorse products. Of course they get big bucks for doing so. Within the ranks of professing Christians in recent years we have witnessed an increasing number of church leaders endorsing the same gender coupling lifestyle. In this area you can read for yourself what some of these have to say about it. Hence, the appearance of the "trinity of another kind" hovering just above which provides solid evidence that we now have established beyond all doubt the United Methodist Church's version of Pandora's Box!

Index


Kairos CoMotion Event Took Place During February 2002!

This get together was billed as a gathering for "progressive" United Methodists -- the UMC episcopal ranks were represented by Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader and Bishop Judith Craig. Another bishop of notoriety in another connection was also in attendance -- John Shelby Spong. To get details as to what all this was about, go to Kairos CoMotion -- there are links there to see what all was scheduled by way of workshops, etc.
Ok, in the aftermath you can check the proceedings where details are listed at Kairos CoMotion News -- Sharon Radar put a unique twist (maybe a first of its kind) on the book of Esther -- fasten your seat belt for the ride you'll get when you go to Radar says, "Pay attention...!


Another "Declaration!"

Episcopal "influence" is very strong in a lot of places, including jurisdictional conferences, which met in July 2000 to elect bishops and do some other stuff. Here is something that came out of the Western Jurisdiction...

WE WILL NOT BE SILENT
A DECLARATION FROM THE WESTERN JURISTICTION
Note: I didn't misspell the above word -- that may be the way they spell it now to indicate they are "different," since this information was conveyed, including the "new" spelling of "jurisdiction" by a group known as "Called Out!"
Meeting in Casper, Wyoming, July 12-15, 2000
We of the Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church have heard the call of the prophet Micah "to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God." We have heard Jesus' invitation for all to come to the banquet table of God's abundant grace.

Certain actions of General Conference 2000 have caused tremendous pain for individuals and communities and have resulted in an attempt to suppress our prophetic and pastoral ministries among all people, regardless of sexual orientation.

The votes may have been cast but our voices will not be silent. Our jurisdictional vision calls us to be "a home for all God's people, gathered around a table of reconciliation and transformation." Affirming the statement of United Methodists of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church, "We acknowledge that there may be differences of opinion among us, but this does not require that we wait on justice." We cannot accept discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender persons and, therefore, we will work toward their full participation at all levels in the life of the church and society. Valuing the voices of those who disagree, we will continue to be in dialogue as we journey together in creative tension. We will continue to be in ministry with all God's children and celebrate the gifts diversity brings. We will continue to feast at table with all God's children.

Drafting group: Sharon Rhodes-Wickett (Cal-Pac), Karen Oliveto (Cal-Nev), Tom Boller (Yellowstone), Daniel Foster (PNW), Milo Thornberry (AMC), Jeff Procter-Murphy (DSW), Erin Dunning (Cal-Nev), Ann Bateman (OR/ID), Gilbert Caldwell (RM), Bishop Melving G. Talbert, and Bishop Mary Ann Swenson.

A P.S. -- this thing was adopted by most of the delagates attending the Western JurisDictional Conference! Notice that I still insist on spelling with the letter "D!" -- I capitalized it so you would know I wanted to spell it correctly


Another Mel Talbert -- this one wears skirts!

From out of the west came a news release providing the following information:

The Rev. Beverly Shamana, who has been program director for ethnic and outreach ministries in Pasadena, has been elected as a bishop and will succeed the Rev. Melvin Talbert as bishop of the Sacramento-based California-Nevada Annual Conference, with jurisdiction over Northern and Central California and northern Nevada.

In an interview, the new lady bishop stated that she largely shares Talbert's view. "I certainly am in favor of the full sexuality that God has given us," she said. "I don't draw the line between how people express their sexuality." But she said as a bishop she expected to uphold church discipline. Ummmm - does that sound a little like this No Lines in the Sand! thing we sometimes hear about?

By the way, didn't that Talbert fellow at points along the way say something about "upholding" the BOD -- and he sure demonstrated that in remarks about the infamous Sacramento 68" which later became 67 due to death invading the ranks of this bunch! And as you may recall a Committee on Investigation found "no grounds" to bring the "67" to trial for doing a same gender "union" ceremony! And Talbert spoke of a "higher covenant" involved in this debacle!

A news release out west gave some interesting information on Beverly's last name and how it came about --

What's in a name?

Beverly Shamana's name tells a lot about who she is and how she wants to live. Shamana is a combination of "shaman," a medium between the visible and invisible spirit worlds, and "mana," a word meaning the spirit that is among us and within us but cannot be controlled or contained.

Not bad for someone who is the second African American woman ever to be elected a bishop of the United Methodist Church, the nation's second-largest Protestant denomination. When Shamana, 60, grew up in Pasadena, her given name was Martin. When she married, it became Anderson. After 10 years, she divorced. Shortly before her ordination in 1979, she chose a name for herself--Shamana.

"I wanted a name that transcended time, space and ethnicity. I wanted a name that was universal," she said. "I said, 'I don't want any name that has "son," "him," "he" or "man" anywhere in it.' I wanted a female name. Then I get this name--Shamana--that starts with shaMAN and ends with MANa and has 'man' in the middle of it! God has a sense of humor, doesn't she?"

"God has a sense of humor, doesn't she?" --- hmmmm, looks like Cal-Nev is in for real adventure -- but lighten up folks, and do some chuckling along with your female deity!


Shortly before GC2000 a good thing happened....

Seems a new kind of "dynamic duo" surfaced at the Council of Bishops gathering on April 28, 2000, just prior to General Conference which was to open a few days later -- no, not Batman and Robin -- rather Bishop Joseph Sprague and Bishop Sharon Z. Rader! They got their heads together and proposed a resolution which was:

"As the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church, we register our hope born in our biblical and theological understandings, nurtured in our pastoral and administrative experiences and augmented by our understandings of continually emerging biological and psychological data that sexual orientation is not a chosen life-style but an inherent reality, that the 2000 General Conference will find faithful pastoral and administrative ways to affirm gay and lesbian United Methodists and neither condemn homosexual orientation per se nor reject candidates for representative ministry solely on the basis of sexual orientation nor refuse to honor same-sex covenants of holy union in that such unions hold gay and lesbian United Methodists to the same sexual standard of monogamous fidelity to which heterosexual United Methodists are bound."

The duo's surprise resolution was defeated!

And then there was the sermon preached by Liberian Bishop Arthur Kulah at GC2000.....

Basically the bishop stated the need for the UMC to hold the line on its presence stance on homosexuality! Part of the report of Bishop Kulah's message is as follows:

He contrasted the denomination's proscriptions against the practice of homosexuality with the gay advocates’ assertion that homosexuality is "a natural variant of human sexuality," and said that Scripture, which is the primary authority for belief and practice, "is unequivocal on this subject of homosexuality."

If the United Methodist Church is to be global church, it must continue its stance, he said. Both the Old and New Testaments condemn the practice of homosexuality, he said. "In fact, it was one of the consequences for the destruction of Sodom. May we not suffer the wrath of God because of the quest to satisfy unpleasant desires that contrive the loving purpose of God for his church."

"It is against the background of such biblical imperatives that we, the global United Methodist Church, do not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider it incompatible with Christian teaching."

He asked the denomination to adhere to its rule that self-avowed practicing homosexuals not be accepted as candidates for ministry nor appointed to serve in the United Methodist Church. "For to do so is to contravene the very faith we proclaim. For we cannot afford to ruin the hearts and lives of the church and hence the world by engaging in practices not even easily mentioned among believers,” he said.


Bishop Sharon Z. Rader's Resolution!

As noted above (Sharon & Joe's Resolution) Sharon is clearly in the camp of giving her imprimatur to same gender coupling! Same gender couplers should be affirmed in the UMC and those of this group who want to enter the UMC ministry should be permitted to do so. Notice Sharon and Joe's line of "reasoning" as to why this should be done.


But Then, There Were Messy Times Too!

A picture of Bishops who stood in support of the Pro-Homosexual Demonstration on Thursday, May 11, 2000, at the 2000 General Conference of The United Methodist Church can be seen by clicking on the familiar object that every family feels it should have --


Flushed Out Into The Open!

Isn't it amazing what a flush can turn up?
As shown in photograph, from left to right:
  • Bishop Don Ott (Active) (Michigan Area) (NCJ)
  • Bishop Joe Yeakel (Retired)
  • Bishop Roy Sano (Active) (Los Angeles Area) (WJ)
  • Bishop Jack Tuell (Retired)
  • Bishop Mel Talbert (Active) (San Francisco Area) (WJ)
  • Bishop Bill Dew (Active) (Phoenix Area (WJ)
  • Bishop Leontine Kelley (Retired)
  • (Female who is not a Bishop of the Church)
  • Bishop Susan Morrison (Active) (Albany Area) (NEJ)
  • Bishop Judith Craig (Active) (Ohio West Area) (NCJ)
  • Bishop Jesse Dewitt (Retired)
  • Bishop Mary Ann Swenson (Active) (Denver Area) (WJ)
  • Bishop Cal McConnell (Retired)
  • Bishop Fritz Mutti (Active) (Kansas Area) (SCJ)

  • Note: Bishop Joe Sprague (Active) (Chicago Area) (NCJ), had just been arrested (for the second time!) and taken off of the floor just before the picture was taken.


Bishop Melvin E. Wheatley, Jr. Is Doing His Part!

Retired Bishop Melvin E. Wheatley, Jr. is doing a little "politicking" for the same gender coupling cause! Seems he sent a copy of Mel White's book, "Stranger At The Gate," to the GC delegates of at least one conference! Well now, how about that? W. Pa. Conference delegates all received copies of Mel's book also -- whether Bishop Mel sent them or someone else, a real propaganda campaign went on before GC 2000! Then the word finally got out that ALL GC delegates were sent copies of the book! Mel White vowed to put the pressure on the GC delegates to give the green light officially to same gender coupling this time around! And of course retired bishops have a comfortable source of income to be able to do stuff like Bishop Mel is doing! Those of us retirees further down the totem pole in the UMC don't have that luxury :-( Oh, BTW, Melvin was one of 15 bishops involved in a bomb drop at the 1996 GC in Denver -- details further south of here under the title of "Skeletons from the Past!"


Bishop Richard Wilke Tells of His "Conversion!"

Richard sort of shook up a few people at the June 2002 session of the W. Pennsylvania Annual Conference when it was learned that he has now put his imprimatur on same gender coupling -- you see, they found out about his "conversion" -- you can read the details below! There are at least a few people in that conference that still believe this same gender coupling thing is an abomination -- that is to say, they still believe Almighty God calls the shots on human sexuality and sets the boundaries for use and expression of the same!

Bishop Richard Wilke of Disciple Bible Study series fame has now gone on record stating his "conversion" as have other UMC bishops! In a piece which is titled, "What does the Bible call us, as Christians, to do on this issue?", Bishop Wilke says,

"...But I also believe from scientific data and from conversations with gay men and lesbians and their families, that Christ Jesus can capture the hearts of homosexuals, and can lead them into faithful, stable, and loving relationships."

Complete text as he describes his "conversion" is found at What does the Bible call us, as Christians, to do on this issue?. His chapter is part of a same gender coupling propaganda pitch called "Finishing the Journey: Questions and Answers from United Methodists of Conviction" The book is defined as follows:

A book to help guide you through the issue of homosexuality and the church. Published by Northaven United Methodist Church, it has been written by 15 United Methodists, most of whom are ministers and seminary scholars.


Bishop Susan Morrison Voices Her Support!

Bishop Susan Morrison, along with leaders of other religious groups of various stripes, has given support to a recent court ruling in Vermont that in essence is giving sanction to same gender marriage. Details can be found in a news release at: Same-Sex Couples - The Vermont Ruling.

In light of the publicity generated by the news article, Bishop Morrison felt it most imperative to put out a message to be shared in the churches of the Troy Conference over which she presides. Below is the text of that message to which UM's within her conference were exposed.

[Beginning of Bishop Morrison's message, dated 00/01/21]

"We are learners, we are teachers,
we are pilgrims on the way.
We are seekers, we are givers,
we are vessels made of clay.
By our gentle, loving actions
we would show that Christ is light,
in the humble, listening spirit,
we would live to God's delight."

I was contacted regarding a statement in support of legislation being proposed to acknowledge long-term covenantal relationships between people of same gender. The statement is consistent with my position throughout my ministry as being one of mercy and justice for all of God's children.

I would point out that several years ago, Troy Annual Conference sent a resolution to General Conference to change the Church's stand on union services.

I signed this statement not as in "in your face" argument toward those who disagree with my position, but as a supportive pastoral affirmation for those who feel marginalized.

Let us approach one another, remembering that we are one in Christ's redeeming love; that God's table is open to all, even in our disagreements; and that in all things, nothing separates us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
[End of Bishop Morrison's message]

For those who wish to respond to this message Madam Bishop can be contacted at: Bishop Morrison

There were United Methodist pastors in on this little escapade also!

A meeting of 19 pastors who formally protested Bishop Morrison's public "support" of same gender coupling with Madam Bishop took place on March 28th. Anything significant accomplished? We shall see as any additional details become available at a later time....... But then, you know bishops don't you and their MO's???? As the months come and go, NOTHING! Are you pastors learning that these "special" talk times with a bishop are exactly that - TALK - TALK - TALK -- then everybody goes his/her separate ways feeling better because we have had some dialogue and aired our "differences" -- but strangely, everything continues in the rut just as before -- you do remember, do you not, what a rut is -- a grave with both ends knocked out of it


Bishop Melvin G. Talbert Gives His Support -- Again!

Bishop Talbert, who has previously gone on record at times in support of same gender coupling, made some statements following the Investigation Committee's announcement that the clergy who had participated in a 'union' ceremony for 2 UMC female church leaders in January of 1999 would not be brought to trial. Following is a portion of the UMNS report. Full details, including the Investigation Committee decision, can be found at UMNS Release 061.

Talbert stated that, while the committee's decision may appear to have broken covenant with the denomination's Book of Discipline, there is "another more basic and fundamental covenant that has precedence over this one narrow focus of law." Talbert said that the Annual Conference is the covenant into which clergy members are received, and that the committee's decision "does reflect the longstanding covenant commitments for inclusiveness and justice" of the California-Nevada Annual Conference.

In his statement, Talbert noted that the committee's decision "will not resolve the tension and conflict around the issue of the place and role of the gay/lesbian community in our church or in this conference."

"The dialogue and the struggle will continue," he said. "In fact, we may never reach agreement around this issue. However, agreement is not a requirement for people of faith to be in covenant as sisters and brothers. Our unity is not in agreement on issues; our unity is in Jesus Christ."

Well things are continuing to stir in Cal-Nev Conference -- check out information on what can be called 6 UMC Churches in Exile! Full details not yet available, but it has been said that Bishop Talbert is threatening to bring charges against the pastors of these churches for something called "disobedience to the Book of Discipline!" Whoa -- in light of his view of the Sacramento 67 getting off the hook recently, perhaps when the next encyclopedia is published and an article on hypocrisy is inserted, that a picture of Bishop Talbert be placed there to dramatically illustrate what it is all about -- along with Bill Clinton as a political example!
As of August '00 the drama continued to unfold with an "exodus" of a different kind taking place! Pastors and congregations are getting out of the Cal-Nev AC -- and of course, don't forget, there are those lay folk and pastors from other parts of the USA that are leaving also -- have you checked the numbers for the latest loss of membership in the UMC?

Ah, something encouraging taking place -- a formal complaint has been filed against Bishop Talbert -- details in Complaint Against Bishop Talbert. A laywoman has initiated this with support from Coalition for United Methodist Accountability (CUMA). The great thing about this is that the action was initiated by a lay person -- not much the high ranking powers can do in reprisals as would be the case of a pastor bringing forth the complaint! Of course there may be the usual side stepping and fancy foot work done to try to delay things -- so, lay people, keep up the pressure!!

Oooops! Check that -- we should have known that this was a big "stacked deck" deal! With airsick bag in hand (or 2 or 3) read Charges against Bishop Talbert dismissed! Now here's the question -- are these people learning from the Clinton administration or is it the other way around, and the Clintonistas are learning from the UMC upper echelons on how to dodge responsibility and accountability, all the while wearing a pious expression in the process! And don't forget the good and favorable press coverage while staggering through this debacle!


Bishop Jack Tuell's "Conversion!"

"DOING A NEW THING: The United Methodist Church and Homosexuality"
A sermon by Bishop Jack M. Tuell, Des Moines, Washington
Preached Sunday, February 20, 2000, at the
Des Moines United Methodist Church, Des Moines, Washington

Text: "I am about to do a new thing." --Isaiah 43:19

Religion has never been known as a force at the cutting edge of doing new things. Avant garde has not been a phrase used to describe the church throughout history. Rather, the church is usually perceived as a conserving force, seeking to retain the traditional values which have come from the past.

This is shown in the respect and honor we give the Holy Bible, a document written several millennia ago. It is seen in the ancient customs of Orthodox Christians, from time honored liturgies to the unchanging clerical vestments of its clergy. Islam thrives on ancient practices such as daily prayers of its people, as five times each day they face toward Mecca. Thousand-year-old statues of the Buddha remain powerful symbols for Buddhists. In Christianity, ancient creeds are recited from week to week in churches around the world.

All of this is good--there is truth and value at the center of religious faith which is unchanging and ought to be honored and revered. John Wesley recognized this in placing tradition as one of four guidelines for us, along with scripture, experience and reason.

But our scripture lesson for today reminds us that God is ever ready to do a new thing. It further reminds us that the God we worship is not a static God, capable only of speaking to us from two, three or four thousand years ago. Rather, God is living, alive in this moment, revealing new truth to us here, now, in this year of our Lord 2000.

God is revealing new truth in many areas of life. One which is increasingly clear is that He is speaking to us in the issue of homosexuality.

I am aware that many people are uncomfortable even mentioning this matter and wish it would just go away. I am aware of that, because I have felt exactly the same way.

I am also aware that it is not the most important issue The United Methodist Church faces. The most important issue is to make disciples, to share the love of God in a world that is hurting. But homosexuality is the most volatile and potentially divisive issue we face, and I believe that God is about to do a new thing among us.

The new thing that God is doing in our midst right now is to show us that homosexuality is not simply an act or acts of willful disobedience to God's law and commandments, but it is a state of being. It is an identity that God has given to some of His children. It is who they are.

How does this assertion--this new thing--stand up against John Wesley's four tests of Christian truth: scripture, tradition, experience and reason?

SCRIPTURE: Twice in the Book of Leviticus and once in the Book of Romans are condemnations of homosexual activity. One in Leviticus indicates that death is the penalty for such acts. In truth, there are instances of homosexual acts which should be condemned, even as there are instances of heterosexual acts which should be condemned. I do not doubt that the writer of Leviticus and that St. Paul had good reason to write as they did.

But when we turn to the scripture, we need to turn to the whole of the scripture. When we do that, the central and overwhelming message is God's inclusive love for all of humankind.

Scholars of all opinions have agreed that one verse of scripture is truly the "gospel in a nutshell"-- the beloved John 3:16: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life (NRSV)."

The overwhelming love of God in Christ sweeps some specific prohibitions away, even though they are in the Bible. Do you believe that? Anyone here divorced? Jesus ruled out almost all divorce. Anyone here a woman? Well, Paul didn't rule you out, but he ruled you out of speaking in church. Anybody here eat pork? Specifically prohibited!

Look, the sovereign message of the Bible is God's redeeming, all-powerful love that overrides all else, and places specific prohibitions in the context of the time and place and situation in which they were written.

TRADITION: We remember Tevya in Fiddler on the Roof singing, "Tradition." Regarding homosexuality, it is not so much that tradition has been actively against it, but that tradition has been actively covering it up. The tradition is that it is a taboo subject--shrouded in mystery--unspeakable--unmentionable--a subject to be crammed down into the nether regions of our consciousness and forgotten. As a consequence, our real tradition is ignorance. So to that extent, church tradition doesn't help much.

In another way, however, we have a long tradition of change. Some 150 years ago, in many of our churches, Methodists believed slavery was scriptural and ordained by God. Until 1920, The Methodist Church in its Discipline prohibited (or tried to prohibit) "dancing, theater-going, and card-playing." But we have a long, long tradition of finally sorting out what is truly important over what is either incorrect or only marginally important. In the long run, we have always been able to discern when God is doing a new thing in our midst. This capacity to change is among the noblest of our traditions.

EXPERIENCE: Of all the 4 tests of Christian truth, experience is in some ways the deepest and most far-reaching. It is the thing that can move us when nothing else can.

John Wesley was an academic, legalistic, guilt-ridden and slightly repulsive Anglican priest before he experienced the love of God in his heart of hearts--before his heart, as he wrote, was "strangely warmed." It turned his life around. It made the difference between his ending up a forgotten cleric of the Church of England and what he is--a man remembered, respected and followed by millions, one of the great spiritual fathers of the human race.

What is the role of experience in the issue we speak of today? It is the personal encounter with the anguish, the pain, the hurt, the suffering, the despair which harsh and judgmental attitudes can have on persons of homosexual orientation.

How does this encounter come about? One way is when parents realize that their child is a person of homosexual orientation. They share intensely and intimately in the struggle, perhaps the denial, often the anguish, but ultimately the acceptance of the child whom they bore and whom they love. It is little wonder that such parents gather together with others in groups such as PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) to bring about understanding and change. For they have experienced first-hand some of the deep, deep hurt that accompanies this issue in our church and in our society.

In my own case, based on my limited understanding, I went along with the prevailing view, although never including any hatred. I said to myself, "After all, God created men and women different, complementary to one another physically and perhaps emotionally. From my viewpoint as a heterosexual person, heterosexuality must be what God expects of all His creation." It was just common sense to me.

I was wrong. It was experience that showed me I was wrong.

Actually, several experiences were at work. A year ago, when Bishop Joseph Sprague of Illinois asked me to come and preside over a church trial, experience made its compelling points with me. The Reverend Gregory Dell was pastor of the Broadway United Methodist Church in Chicago, a congregation made up of about 40% gay and lesbian persons, situated in a community of similar makeup. Under the law of our denomination, Reverend Dell was charged with "disobedience to the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church," for conducting a service of holy union for two members of his congregation, two gay men.

These two men were active in their church as ushers, finance committee members, and regular participants. They had been living as partners for several years, but had been having trouble in their relationship. They came seeking spiritual counsel from their pastor, and wanted to have some kind of service of prayer or blessing of their commitment. They felt it would strengthen them and make them better partners. Reverend Dell agreed to conduct a small, informal service, which took place in September of 1998.

The facts of the case were never contested. For conducting this service, the trial court found him guilty and suspended him from the exercise of ministry. Ecclesiastically speaking, the decision was correct. As I understand the Spirit of God, it was wrong.

For two long days I watched this trial of a dedicated, energetic, compassionate, caring and able minister, with 30 years of loyal service to our church. This experience, along with other experiences I am sure, caused me to change my mind. I began to see the new thing God is doing.

REASON: Reason cuts both ways. For a long time, reason told me that God's creation of male and female ruled out anything but heterosexuality. But reason, enriched by experience, actually told me otherwise.

I have often taken issue with arguments which equated prejudice against homosexuality with prejudice against race. I took issue because race was clearly a condition one was born with, while homosexuality involved behavior which is subject to human will. Having said that, is it reasonable to believe that God would create some with an orientation toward the same gender, put within them the same strong drive of sexuality which is present in heterosexual persons, and then decree that such a drive is to be absolutely repressed and denied? This not only defies reason, but is cruel, unfeeling and arbitrary--qualities foreign to God as we know Him in Jesus Christ. Reason supports a belief that God is in the process of doing a new thing.

At the trial of Gregory Dell, the two men who were the participants in the service of union appeared as witnesses. On the stand, in response to questions, one man told about his father, a pastor in the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, one of the most conservative denominations in America. He asked his father to conduct the holy union service. The father regretfully declined, on the basis of his denomination's position, yet he attended the service. Afterwards, at the reception, the father led in a public prayer of blessing for his son and his partner.

Whatever our beliefs about homosexuality, can we as Christians do any less than to affirm the committed relationships of our sisters and brothers in Christ?

In a few weeks 992 delegates will gather in Cleveland for the General Conference, marking 216 years of our church's life. These are good people, dedicated United Methodist Christians earnestly seeking God's will for our church. They have been elected by their fellow clergy and laity from all over the world and entrusted with a heavy responsibility. They will have differing perspectives on this and many issues facing them.

It is impossible to predict what actions they may take, because the Spirit moves at its own pace-- "the wind bloweth where it listeth (John 3:8)." But I believe that if the delegates are listening carefully, above the competing pressures of this group and that, they will hear the still, small voice whisper, "I am doing a new thing," and they will respond faithfully.

Notice: This sermon was circulated with Bishop Tuell's
approval by a group identified as "Friends of Bishop Tuell."
Details provided upon request.

A news release last year reveals Bishop Tuell's position regarding the present statement in the Social Principles of the Discipline which state that UMC pastors are not to conduct same-sex union ceremonies. He also wrote to a number of General Conference delegates about this matter. In fact, delegates in W. Pa. Conference, for example, have been sent his "sermon" and letter! Full details, including text of the letter, are found by clicking on the object with which you are very familiar and which is most appropriate in this case:

If you wish to respond to Bishop Tuell by letter, his address is:

Bishop Jack M. Tuell
816 S. 216th Street
Des Moines WA 98198

A Selah Moment!

These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, to whom the gloom of darkness is reserved forever. For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through licentiousness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."
-- 2 Peter 2:17-22 (NKJV)

The wicked prowl on every side, when vileness is exalted among the sons of men.

-- Psalm 12:8 (NKJV)


Bishop Joseph Sprague Is On The Same Gender Coupling Bandwagon!

June 2002 - Joe visited Iliff School of Theology and gave a "talk" on his views of Jesus and other matters -- for a limited time you can read the transcript at Affirmations of a Dissenter -- print this one out if you think your printer can take it

February 2003 - a complaint had been filed over the Iliff speech and now you can see all the results -- you really didn't think they would nail his hide on this one did you -- aw, come on -- let's just continue to celebrate our diversity -- or is it perversity? It's easy to get those two terms mixed up! Anyway, slip over to Complaints Dismissed Against UMC Bishop Joseph Sprague - Again! -- use return on browser to get back here. That Joe is a real slippery one isn't he? But this guy has a lot of support -- probably best verbalized in a letter written to the editor of The United Methodist Reporter by a layman from Joe's conference -- notice how you people who do take God's Word seriously are singled out for your "idolatry":

"When so many of our members have made the Bible an idol, read its words literally, selectively used its passages as proof text to promote exclusivity and privilege within the church, substituted the beliefs of antiquity for sophisticated, honest and profound truth seeking, Bishop Sprague spurs us to encounter the Jesus of history, woefully overlooked by the creeds, so that through this incarnated liberator and Savior, we might embrace the very ground of all being. I am saddened that a leader with the heart, courage and vision of Bishop Sprague rarely surfaces within the institutional church."

As a little "side trip" you may want to look at Watch Out for That Other "Jesus!" -- use return feature on your browser to come back here.

An older update: The following is part of a news release by the Reconciling Ministries Network informing us of some of Joe Sprague's latest activity. Is there something significant that this information was released on April 1, 2002?

Bishop C. Joseph Sprague, bishop of the Northern Illinois Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, will address members of the Clergy Alliance on April 16, 2002 in Chicago.

A bishop-turned-activist, Bishop Sprague engaged in civil disobedience at the General Conference 2000 in Cleveland, joining protesters who were seeking to overturn the denomination's anti-gay policies. Sprague was arrested twice during the 10-day session.

Bishop Sprague will provide an analysis of the challenges and opportunities facing those who support the full inclusion of lesbians and gay men in The UMC.

The Clergy Alliance is composed of persons called to ordained ministry (including seminarians and those called to ordained ministry but unable to serve because of sexual orientation restrictions) within The United Methodist Church who summon the church to a deeper level of spiritual and theological integrity in relationship to persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities and their full inclusion in all aspects of the church's life. The network is dedicated to active forms of teaching, organizing, strategizing, resistance, and support for one another to help the church become more faithful to the radical love of Christ.

The Clergy Alliance will meet in Chicago April 16-17, 2002. Following Bishop Sprague's address, members will work in one of the four C.A. pods: Reform, Radical Obedience, Theology, and Church Within a Church. There will also be time to renew ourselves through worship and prayer.

Bishop Joseph Sprague who heads up the Northern Illinois Conference has made no secret of the fact that he feels the UMC Book of Discipline is wrong in statements on homosexuality and pastors not being permitted to do same-sex union ceremonies. While being the one who initially filed the complaint against Greg Dell for having done a union deal for 2 men a while back, Sprague considers Dell to be "...an exemplary pastor whose record of faithfulness is, in my opinion, beyond reproach."

The NI Conference voted to send Dell as a delegate to GC2000 in spite of his being suspended as a pastor, and its delegation came to General Conference with one of its goals being that of changing present wording on subject of homosexuality and making it "acceptable" within the denomination! Fortunately, this time around at least, they failed in that objective!

In other action at same General Conference Bishop Joe Sprague was arrested twice as a result of taking part in demonstrations, protests, and all that kind of stuff! But a bright note here -- a lay person has filed complaints against Joe -- see details at Complaints against Joe! Isn't it exciting to see some lay folks stand up like this and take the proverbial "bull by the horns" -- and there is a lot of "bull" at the upper levels of the UMC these days! As could be expected, Joe has followed the example of our noble president, and has adamantly insisted that he has done nothing wrong -- sound familiar? If it's anyone's fault, it's someone else's -- another distinct characteristic of the UMC episcopacy!


Bishops Sano and Kelly Sign Up!

Bishop Roy I. Sano and retired Bishop Leontine T. C. Kelly have put their "John Hancock's" on a document identified as the "Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing." A number of other UM's signed this also, including prominent UM layman, Mr. Jimmy Creech! To see what this is all about, go to A "Sexy" Document!

The list of signers can be viewed at Endorsements.

Read carefully and have all obstacles to the bathroom removed before you do! For instance, try this statement -- the signatories call for:

"Theological reflection that integrates the wisdom of excluded, often silenced peoples, and insights about sexuality from medicine, social science, the arts and humanities."

You will note that the signatories do not seem to be much concerned about what God has revealed about sexuality and His drawn boundaries for sexual expression and experience! Oooops! I guess God isn't supposed to meddle in human affairs at that point is He?

Finally, if this same gender coupling thing is so great, why such devastating results from the practice? For a graphic and shocking report on this go to Medical Consequences Revealed! Warning! This is not for the faint of heart -- very graphic details and statistics are given in this!


Skeletons from the UMC Closet - Denver 1996!

OK, here it is -- they just come tumbling out! A UMNS report in April 1996 dropped this little bombshell! Episcopal leaders (term used loosely and carelessly) want the UMC Book of Discipline changed -- want to guess about what -- no, don't play guessing games -- read it for yourself!
15 Bishops Voice 'Pain' at Lesbian, Gay 'Proscriptions'

DENVER (UMNS) -- Personal "pain" at "proscriptions ... against gay and lesbian persons" in official United Methodist Church policy was voiced by 15 of the church's 130 bishops in a dramatic statement released late on April 18 here. The bishops, 11 active and four retired, "affirm(ed) (their) commitment" to "continue our responsibility to order and discipline of the church," but urged congregations "to open the doors in gracious hospitality to all our brothers and sisters in the faith."

"We believe it is time to break the silence and state where we are on this issue that is hurting and silencing countless faithful Christians," the statement said.

The bishops cited provisions in the Book of Discipline condemning the practice of homosexuality as incompatible with Christian teaching, and specifically barring "self-avowed practicing homosexuals" from ordination and appointment.

The 11 active bishops signing the statement were Judith Craig, Columbus, Ohio; William W. Dew Jr., Portland, Ore.; Calvin D. McConnell, Seattle; Susan M. Morrison, Philadelphia; Fritz Mutti, Topeka, Kan.; Donald A. Ott, Detroit; Sharon Zimmerman Rader, Wisconsin Area; Roy I. Sano, Los Angeles; Mary Ann Swenson, Denver; Melvin G. Talbert, San Francisco; and Joseph H. Yeakel, Washington.

Retired bishops signing were C. Dale White, Newport, R.I.; Jesse R. DeWitt, Naperville, Ill.; Leontine T.C. Kelly, San Mateo, Calif.; and Melvin G. Wheatley Jr., Laguna Hills, Calif.

It was not immediately clear what the effect of the statement would be on the many legislative petitions relating to homosexuality now before the 998 General Conference delegates. These petitions reflect a multitude of points of view among United Methodists. [Note: This is the first portion of the release -- complete release available through the link given below following the question on the bones!]

Ah, yes - can these bones really live? For complete report on this rattling of the bones a quadrennium ago go to United Methodist Daily News

Lots of talk about entering into dialog these days, and quite a few seem to be getting on with it -- for a good lesson on procedures go to Doing Dialog -- A Primer on How It Works!

If you haven't been there yet and want to see more "hanky panky" going on within the United Methodist Church, slip on over to Circuit Rider's Peek Behind the Scenes! -- you won't want to believe what you see, but there are documented facts, folks, with witnesses!

Now then, given present trends with more UMC bishops jumping on the same gender coupling bandwagon, and if the same gender couplers achieve their goal of changes in UMC Book of Discipline and same gender coupling "union services" become a common practice, what might future United Methodist Church headlines and information convey to the world? Just click on Alvin's vehicle and let him take you into the future to look at some possibilities --

Wait! Hold it for a moment! Remember that General Conference 2008 is approaching -- it's not too early to be thinking and praying about submitting petitions -- individuals, groups (such as Sunday School classes), administrative boards, etc can submit petitions -- check with your pastor and borrow the Book of Discipline on procedures! Let your voice be heard!

A question for all these "converted" bishops -- what is your explanation for the miracles reported at The Courage to Be Free! -- or is this so foreign that you choose to turn the other way as quickly as turning a light switch will instantly take you out of light into pitch black darkness???? Or might you possibly respond by saying this is an example of that very damaging "reparative therapy" thing that is happening!!!! Yes, we know -- one has got to protect the same gender couplers at all costs, including writing off those in whose lives Jesus Christ has done a miracle of deliverance and transformation!

OK, I'm just one person -- what can I do in dealing with a mess like this? How about taking a trip over to What Can I Do? for practical suggestions, tips and helps as to what you can do -- voices coming from the "grass roots" level of our culture CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Notice that this area is loaded with symbolic graphics, starting with a trinity of a different kind at the beginning! Well, you couldn't expect the holy Trinity to endorse the kind of stuff some UMC bishops are endorsing could you? The floating skull -- well, what can you say? Notice it just bobs around reminding us of the spiritual "health" these people are exhibiting within the church! The music in the background is most appropriate for this subject -- the familiar object at end of Bishop Tuell's "conversion sermon" certainly is applicable, is it not? And when I grew up on a farm, we had barbed wire to keep some of the animals under control, because if they got out of the area and ran loose they could really do a lot of damage -- hence, the use of barbed wire in this area -- got to keep certain persons confined a bit -- let loose, they do a lot of damage! Uh, check that -- they have been on the loose and look what has happened -- time to put up some barbed wire of a spiritual kind!

Uh, as detective Columbo would say, "There's just one more question!"

There has been the free use of the terms "gay and lesbian Christians" in recent years. The use of these terms has been discussed elsewhere on the Range, but there is something in the Christian experience and the miracle of the new birth transformation that seems to have been lost in this issue. And that is what God does in the transformation of a sinner's life (whatever the nature of the sin has been, sexual or a host of other sins ranging from greed, gluttony, and stealing to hatred and murder, etc) -- and that is the new covenant in Jesus Christ -- it is specifically mentioned that God's laws will be WRITTEN in the heart and mind of those who repent and obediently follow Christ as Lord and Savior!

And the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them," then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."
--- Hebrews 10:15-17 (NKJV)

Now for THE QUESTION -- how can you continue to willfully disobey the moral laws of a holy God, if under the terms of the new covenant He says He is going to put His laws into the believer's heart and write them into his/her mind? Yes, I already know -- the same gender couplers try to smokescreen the law issue in the OT by mixing the ceremonial and ritual laws concerning clean and unclean foods with the eternal moral laws! And yes, if the prohibition against eating pig meat were a part of the moral law, then Christians would not be eating pig meat today! The promise of the new covenant and details of the "writing" of the laws into the heart of believers, rather than trying to adhere to an external code of conduct, is mentioned clearly in the OT prophets of Jeremiah and Ezekiel -- check it out and see for yourself! If anything is clear it is the fact that God has established moral laws and boundaries concerning our sexuality and how it is to be legitimately expressed and experienced!

Perhaps the learned bishops listed above have an answer to this question -- but then again, would that reponse be as clear as that of a politician when he has his back pinned against the wall after confronted with a question he can't or doesn't want to answer for fear of hanging himself???????

To anyone who is a bit sensitive to mass media manipulation there is an abundance of evidence as to how effective the sodomite/lesbian cartel is in the use of propaganda designed to eventually break down all resistance to its advocacy of abominable lifestyles -- and as you see from above, a number of church leaders help to promote the "agenda" -- however, this is being countered by a web site set up by Traditional Values Coalition -- just click on the banner below.

CLICK HERE

In spite of a churning stomach, take me to the top to see those episcopal people again!

Help! Get me out of here -- the walls are closing in -- take me to:

CR's Range - Home Area Where It All Begins!

Return to or Sneak a Peek at C. D. Harriger's BLOG at
Musings of a Maverick!

Bird's Eye View of Circuit Rider's Range
Building Walls with Untempered or Tempered Mortar!
CR's Leap of Faith! OR The Whole Spread of CR's Range
A Mainline Called the United Methodist Church
Requiem!
No Same Gender Coupling Unions!
Ramblings from the Pen of a Maverick...
How to Become a Christian

OK, this is another project CR called me in on! There is more to come. If any of you have souces of information on UMC bishops going on record and sanctioning the same gender coupling lifestyle, just pass them on to CR via Penelope who is in charge of the mail department and who is at work right now as you can see

If you want to get in touch with CR, just click on Penelope,
our efficient mail hostess, and she will relay the message to him!

Compiled by Clayton D. Harriger beginning February 2000