Rooted and Rising
Urge the Rio Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church To Support the Removal of Language Harmful to the LGBTQ Community
(the following is from Rooted & Rising, a ministry of the Rio Texas Reconciling Ministries Team, a member of Reconciling Ministries Network, https://rmnetwork.org/)
Join us to urge the Rio Texas Annual Conference to support the removal of language in the Book of Discipline harmful to the LGBTQ Community. Those of us who have already signed are circulating a Resolution we hope to see come before the Rio Texas Annual Conference at its June 8-10, 2023 meeting. We are members of congregations in the Rio Texas Conference who believe the Book of Discipline contains language which harms individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans and queer. We want the United Methodist Church and the Rio Texas Conference to stand for full inclusion.
The Resolution we are circulating asks the Rio Texas Annual Conference to support the removal of all discriminatory policies and harmful language related to sexual orientation from the Book of Discipline, as identified in petitions already submitted and which will be before the voting body of the next General Conference.
It is not easy for resolutions not offered by an authorized agency of the Rio Texas Conference to come to the floor of the Annual Conference and receive a vote. The Standing Rules of the Rio Texas Conference work against grassroots efforts such as this. While we are attempting to work within the structure of the Annual Conference, we also believe it is important to show the grassroots support for full inclusion in the United Methodist Church.
If you also support the removal of harmful language from the Book of Discipline, we ask you to do these things:
- Sign your name to the Resolution in support using this link I Support the Resolution
- Take the Resolution to your church leadership and ask them to support and sign it also.
- Let your delegates to Annual Conference know of this grassroots effort to place this Resolution on the floor of Annual Conference and for it to be adopted by the Annual Conference. Ask your delegates to vote for the Resolution, and if necessary, to vote that the Standing Rules be suspended so the Resolution can receive a vote at the Annual Conference.
- Share this email and encourage others to sign.
The Rio Texas Annual Conference has not issued a public statement supporting the rights of members of the LGBTQ community. Now, more than ever, we need to stand in solidarity with people who are being harmed because they identify as someone who is lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans or queer.
Here is the text of the full Resolution.
Supporting the Removal of Discriminatory Policies
A Resolution Submitted to the 2023 Rio Texas Annual Conference
WHEREAS, a more diverse and fully welcoming UMC is a testament to a more complete image of God, which includes persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and
WHEREAS, a more diverse and fully welcoming UMC allows all United Methodists to offer their prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness, as followers of Jesus, to further Christ’s mission, and
WHEREAS, by the power of the Holy Spirit, God calls and includes all persons into the life and leadership of the Church, transcending the limitations of human categorization, and
WHEREAS, the current language in the Book of Discipline places limits on Christ’s teaching and example of God’s universal love, and
WHEREAS, the current language in the Book of Discipline falls short of embodying the spirit of John Wesley’s simple rules to do no harm, do all the good we can, and love God, and
WHEREAS, legislative changes to the Book of Discipline would reduce barriers and allow movement toward wider diversity and inclusion in our United Methodist Church.
THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Rio Texas Annual Conference supports the removal of all discriminatory policies and harmful language related to sexual orientation, and urges delegates to adopt the following petitions; petitions already submitted and that will be before the voting body of the next General Conference:
Petition No: 20730-CB-¶161-G;
Entitled: Revised Social Principles-161 and 162
ADCA Vol 2, Sec 1, Page 208
Summary: Removes the statement that affirms marriage as only between “one man and one woman.” Removes the statement that only affirms “heterosexual” marriage. Removes, “The UMC does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.”
Petition No: 20177-FO-¶304.3
Entitled: A Simple Plan #3
ADCA Vol 2, Sec 2, Page 624
Summary: Removes ¶304.3 which states, “self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.” Also removes the corresponding footnote stating that “self-avowed practicing homosexual is understood to mean that a person openly acknowledges to a bishop, district superintendent, district committee of ordained ministry, Board of Ordained Ministry, or clergy session that the person is a practicing homosexual; or is living in a same-sex marriage, domestic partnership or civil union, or is a person who publicly states she or he is a practicing homosexual.”
Petition No: 20469-OM-¶341.6
Entitled: A Simple Plan #5
ADCA Vol 2, Sec 2, Page 1041
Summary: Removes ¶341.6, which states (under unauthorized conduct), “ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.”
Petition No: 20181-FA-¶613-G
Entitled: A Fully Inclusive Way Forward-Part 6 of 8
ADCA Vol 2, Sec 1, Page 504
Summary: Removes ¶613.19, which prohibits annual conferences from giving “United Methodist funds to any gay caucus or group, or otherwise use such funds to promote the acceptance of homosexuality . . “
Petition No: 20190-FA-¶806-G
Entitled: A Fully Inclusive Way Forward-Part 7 of 8
ADCA Vol 2, Sec 1, Page 508
Summary: Removes ¶806.9, which tasks GCFA with “ensuring that no board, agency, committee, commission, or council gives United Methodist funds to any gay caucus or group . . . “
Petition No: 20304-HS-¶415.6-G
Entitled: Next Generation UMC #11—Amend Episcopal Responsibilities
ADCA Vol 2, Sec 2, Page 977
Summary: Removes statements prohibiting bishops from commissioning, ordaining, or consecrating persons determined to be “self-avowed practicing homosexuals.”
Petition No: 20387-JA-¶2711.3-G
Entitled: Next Generation UMC #22—Penalties
ADCA Vol 2, Sec 2, Page 933
Summary: Removes predetermined, mandatory minimum penalties for clergy who officiate same sex weddings.
Petition Number: 20365-JA-¶2702.1-G
Entitled: Next Generation UMC #21 - Chargeable Offenses
ADCA Vol 2, Sec 2, Page 924
Summary: Removes chargeable offenses that target “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” and clergy who conduct same-sex weddings.
Petition No: 20420-OM-¶310.2d-G
Entitled: A Simple Plan #4
ADCA Vol 2, Sec 2, Page 1022
Summary: Removes statements from Footnote 3 that repeat phrases being removed from other paragraphs in the BOD. Be it further resolved that the Rio Texas Annual Conference secretary shall send copies of this resolution to all General and Jurisdictional Conference delegates and alternates, the Commission on General Conference; and the Council of Bishops.
Rooted & Rising is a ministry of the Rio Texas Reconciling Ministries Team, a member of Reconciling Ministries Network, https://rmnetwork.org/
You can find more about the Rio Texas RMN Team at Queer Rio Texas UMCs & AlliesRooted & Rising: Queer Rio Texas UMCs & Allies