According to the Huffington Post, more than a hundred Methodist clergy members have taken a stand of equality and come out as either lesbian, gay bisexual, or transgender. The clergy members announced their coming out on May 9th, at the 2016 United Methodist Church General Conference.
The pastors and elders released a letter detailing their coming out in an act to persuade the church’s top-policy-making body to consider over 1,000 legislative petitions.
“Our prayer, as the church begins its time of discernment, is that you will remember that there are nameless ones around the world, hungry for a word of hope and healing,” read the letter.
“LGBTQI people and their families exist in every church in every continent of this denomination. They are seeking to remain in faithful relationship with you, even when you refuse, because they know God’s tender mercies and great faithfulness.”
The letter comes also as an act of protest against the life-long church stance of homosexuality being a sin. Currently, the UMC does not allow pastors to perform same-sex weddings and churches to host same-sex weddings and ceremonies. The UMC also does not allow “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” to be ordained.
“I signed the letter because I think that the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy that’s been operating in the church and in our society is damaging to a person’s soul,” Reverend Laura Young told HuffPo.
“The policies of the United Methodist Church ask LGBT people to live in secret and hide our light. God calls us to shine our light brightly, and it’s time to change these unjust policies.”
By signing the letter, clergy members risk losing their positions and credentials with the church but Young doesn’t seem to be worried.
“I will forge on,” she said, “trusting that the truth will set me and others free, and if they feel they must persecute us that is their prerogative. This is my denomination, the denomination of my grandparents, and I won’t go willingly to another denomination because of my sexuality.”
Featured image: thegospelcoalition.org