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Contacts for People who have been Abused by Catholic Priests
One in Four- an organization
run for and by people who have experienced sexual abuse. One and Four
offers one to one counseling, group therapy, advocacy, support and information
to women and men. This organisation is locted inLondon Canad, but works
Problems Within the Ranks of the Methodists
In a statement released today,
a group of United Methodist church leaders,
The Methodist Church Judicial Council has taken away Reverend Beth Strouds' ministerial credentials. According to the committee their decision and her treatment was fair. However, it does not necessarily ring fair to the genral public.
According to the Decision
The Church continues to struggle
with the issue of homosexuality. The Church is clearly of many minds
on this issue. People of deep faith and conscience continue to struggle
and pray over these matters. While the Judicial Council must be faithful
to its charge from the Church we are also sensitive to the hurt, pain
and brokenness of the family of God.
If you would like to read the entire Decision #. 1027 see
According to Reverend Stroud, she was deprived of due process when she was tried and convicted as a member in full comnnection of her right to an appointment pursuant to ¶¶ 304.3 and 2702.1(b) of the Discipline. The Committee on Appeals based its decision on its finding that neither the General Conference nor the pertinent Annual Conference had defined the words practicing homosexual and status. The decision of the Committee on Appeals was wrongly premised upon Decision 702 and ignored or wrongly sought to distinguish a host of other decisions of the Judicial Council and actions of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church.
Beth Stroud is a woman with the integrity that many others lack, because she dares to speak the truth about her feelings and is willing to walk the walk it takes for equality even though it may temporarily set her back.It is called courage, and faith in some peoples language to dare to do the right thing even when it may be really really hard.
There are what is called reconciling ministries in the Methodist Church who support Beth Stroud for her courage. She continues to preach Gods' message even though she recieves much hate mail. It is a shame that so many people have so much hate in their hearts. God and Jesus did not talk about hate, only love. Maybe there are more people out there who really need to hear the words about love, love thy neighbor as thy self, help your neighbor down the street who may be having a hard time, that neighbor may be able to help you at some time in your lifetime when you really need it!
web site and read her sermons, and say a prayer for her to continue
to lift her up, it is a mighty mountain that she is climbing.
Beth Strouds' Story
A United Methodist minister
faces trial Dec. 1 by the third largest denomination in the country for
living with another woman in a committed lesbian relationship.
The Rev. Irene Elizabeth Stroud,
34, who has served as associate pastor at the First United Methodist Church
of Germantown in Philadelphia for more than four years, officially stands
charged with practices declared by the United Methodist Church to
be incompatible with Christian teachings. If convicted, she risks
losing her credentials as an ordained minister.
The ruling precludes Strouds team from
using the reasoning that led to Dammanns acquittal.
Senior Pastor Fred Day and the congregation
of almost 1,000 have shown virtually universal support for Stroud, setting
up a legal fund and giving her time to prepare her defense.
Were grateful and heartened and
inspired by Beths courage, said Day, who has been senior pastor
at First United Methodist Church of Germantown for three years. A
conviction would be a huge loss because it would say that the United Methodist
Church doesnt welcome a minister with Beths compassion and
faith, that a minister with all Beths skills isnt worthy of
presiding over communion, preaching the gospel or performing baptisms.
The 210-year-old First United Methodist Church
of Germantown, long known for social activism, belongs to the United Methodist
movement Reconciling Ministries Network, which advocates the full inclusion
of gays and lesbians in church life. A PBS documentary scheduled to air
Dec. 29 focuses on the church and Strouds case. The first United
Methodist trial involving homosexual issues was held in 1987. The church
convicted the Rev. Rose Mary Denman, a lesbian minister in New Hampshire;
she later wrote a book about her struggles with the church.
Strouds trial, which could last up
to three days, will take place at Camp Innabah, a United Methodist camp
and retreat center in Spring City, about 30 miles north of Philadelphia.
The proceedings will resemble a civil trial. The Rev. J. Dennis Williams,
a retired United Methodist minister, will present Strouds case with
the help of Alan Symonette, an attorney who serves as a lay leader at
First United Methodist Church of Germantown. The Rev. Tom Hall and attorney
Robert Shoemaker Jr. will argue for the church. Retired Bishop Joseph
H. Yeakel of Smithsburg, Md., will serve as presiding judge. A conviction
will require guilty verdicts from nine of the 13 jurors. 30
Links of note: First United Methodist Church of Germantown: www.fumcog.org
The Rev. Irene Elizabeth Strouds defense:
Methodist story continues 11-16-2005
"We confess our preoccupation
with institutional enhancement and limited agendas while American men
and women are sent to Iraq to kill and be killed, while thousands of Iraqi
people needlessly suffer and die, while poverty increases and preventable
diseases go untreated. Although we value the sacrifices of the men and
women who serve in the military, we confess our betrayal of the scriptural
and prophetic authority to warn the nations that true security lies not
in weapons of war, but in enabling the poor, the vulnerable, the marginalized
to flourish as beloved daughters and sons of God. We confess our failure
to make disciples of Jesus Christ and to be a people who welcome and love
all those for whom Christ died.We are to bring forth fruit worthy of repentance,
we personally and as bishops commit ourselves to:
"Reclaim the prophetic authority that calls nations, individuals, and communities to live faithfully in the light of Gods new creation where all people know their identity as beloved children of God; where justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream; and where barriers are removed and all creation is healed, reconciled, and renewed. To Commit ourselves to peacemaking as an integral component of our own Christian discipleship, which means advocating and actively working for the things that make for peace: personal, institutional, and governmental priorities that protect the poor and most vulnerable; modeling an end to prejudice toward people of other faiths and cultures; confronting differences and conflicts with grace, humility, dialogue, and respect without being so cautious in confronting evil that we lose our moral authority."
In admiting their weakness to
their blinded support of George Bush's administration, they have begun
to strenghthen their own conscience, and can begin to heal their fellowship.
However, they must begin to heal all of the fellowship and have also accepted
gays into their membership in steps to make that happen. As they have
taken the steps they now call to conscience the rest of the Methodsits
of their reconciling congregations to order and attention.
"We call upon all United
Methodists to join in the pursuit of peace through justice as revealed
in Holy Scripture and incarnate in Jesus Christ.
Now that the Bishops have tested their own faith and done the right thing, how will they disperse that across their congregations into action? It is a mighty force that religion can play in making mere mortal men and women take action. It will be very interesting to see what happens in the following elections as well if their membeship takes their actions with them to the voting booths in the next election.
11-8-2005 The Reconciling Ministries Network
The Reconciling Ministries Network is a national grassroots organization that exists to enable the full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identies in the life of the United Methodist Church, both in policy and practice. However, the Reconciling Minsitries Network is an independent, not-for-profit organization with no official ties to the United Methodist Church. Even though thye are not offciially a legal part of the United Methodist Cchurch, they are a part of the Methodist church tradition od social concern and action, and a justice -seeking ,Spirited people.
The group encompases 194 reconciling congregations, 26 reconciling campus minstries, and 22 other reconciling communities and ministries.
The United Methodist Church
According to an April 19, 2004 United Methodist
News Service report, delegates rank homosexuality as the top issue facing
the General Conference (GC). This issue has taken on increased significance,
especially among conservatives, since the acquittal of openly lesbian
pastor Karen Dammann earlier this year in the Pacific Northwest Annual
Conference. Despite increased social consciousness regarding loving same-sex
relationships, the United Methodist Church still condemns homosexuality
as incompatible with Christian teaching.
Nice for Someone Else Today, Then Make it a Habit
If you are looking for a church
that accepts everyone as Jesus tended to the multitudes
by Diane Knaus
The Metropolitan Community
Church was formed by Reverend Troy Perry over thirty six years ago because
he was gay and his church no longer wanted him as a minister. As the
Founder and Moderator of the Metropolitan Community Church, Reverend
Perry began worship with twelve people in his living room. The reality
today is over 250 churches, and congregations in 19 countries throughout
Reverend Perry has been at the forefront of this movement to fully include gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the Christian Church. Through his intense activism he has devoted his life to including people who want to discover the radically inclusive teaching of Jesus as he tended to the multitudes of those left out of the mainstream lifestyle of the day. The Reverend Perry is retiring this year. He has inspired many people in many countries and told them about the love of Jesus Christ. He is an inspiration to the many pastors who have also experienced distrust and hateful words from people who do not have God and Jesus in their hearts. So we need to pass the word and we need to pray, why, because prayer works!
So You Want to Know About
Gay Marriage - You Can Get Any
Metropolitan Community Church Minister to Perform the Ceremony, but you
must have a Canadian marriage license if you want to have the ceremony
in Canada, and it is legal in Canada. MCC ministers in the U.S. will perform
Holy Union Ceremonies, they are not legal except in Massacheusettes and
Connecticut, and California.
If you have been married previously, you must provide actual copies of the divorce papers.
If you would like to e-mail the pastor for specific Windsor, Ontario Canada iinformation
SEE MCC'S REV. NANCY WILSON ON PBS TELEVISION
ON 251 TV STATIONS This WEEKEND
Nancy Wilson and Metropolitan
Metropolitan Community Church Challenges the Roman Catholic Church Stance on Gay Clergy- Protect the Children Instead of the Clergy
(Los Angeles) -- One
day after openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson criticized the Roman
Catholic Church's stance on gay clergy as "vile," the Moderator
of the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), the world's largest predominantly
gay Christian denomination, echoed the bishop's words and issued a challenge
to Pope Benedict XVI.
"Be As Compassionate As Your God Is Compassionate
The comments by the Reverend Nancy L. Wilson came as the Vatican prepares to issue "Instrumentum Laboris," a document that recommends a purge of seminaries of all gay men preparing for the priesthood. According to Vatican officials, the purge is designed to address the causes of priestly sexual abuse of minors.
Who is Nancy Wilson, and why should we see her on television? Watch MCC's Rev. Nancy Wilson, on PBS' "To The Contrary." This weekend's TV program focuses on lesbians in ministry -- and features MCC's Moderator, along with events at MCC's 2005 General Conference.
Churches strongly condemns the sexual abuse of minors, and also condemns
this scapegoating of an already marginalized and demeaned population within
the Church and larger society," said Wilson.
In 1987, Nancy Wlson became one of the first openly gay rights leaders to meet Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger now Pope Benedict XVI, when she represented Metropolitan Community Churches as an ecumenical observer at the Bilateral Dialogue of the Roman Catholic and Lutheran Churches in Columbia, South Carolina, .
Wilson announced today that Metropolitan Community Churches will release a document, "Be As Compassionate As Your God Is Compassionate: A Faithful Challenge to the Roman Catholic Church's Instrumentum Laboris" on Thursday, November 10, 2005.An advance copy of the document indicates Wilson will call upon Pope Benedict XVI to exercise restraint and compassion in the implementation of Instrumentum Laboris, invites Catholic bishops, priests, and laity to speak the truth, encourages Roman Catholics to resist the implementation of Instrumentum Laboris, and calls people of goodwill to unite in prayers for religious equality.
The release of the MCC
document coincides with the "Global Week of Prayer for Religious
Equality," November 6-12, 2005. In advance of the document's
release, Wilson, recently installed as Moderator of Metropolitan Community
Churches, said, "We call on the Roman Catholic hierarchy to take
moral responsibility for the crimes of sexual abuse against minors in
its care, to genuinely apologize for its failures and to initiate restitution
and reconciliation, and to immediately pursue and institute the kinds
of internal reform that will make the Church safe for all people, including
According to Wilson, "That could best be accomplished by publicly acknowledging that all social and scientific studies indicate that most pedophiles are heterosexual males and by publicly repenting of the prejudice and violence perpetrated and tolerated against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities by deliberately and deceptively connecting pedophilia primarily with gay men. The answer to pedophilia will not be found in demonizing the gay community," said Wilson. "Pope Benedict XVI and the Roman hierarchy will not find the answers in "Instrumentum Laboris," but rather, by instituting a ministry of reconciliation and healing for victims, and treatment for perpetrators."
"Until then, we call
upon gay priests and religious to come out now and witness to the integrity
and sanctity of the lives of service you lead," said Wilson. "And
we call upon people of faith everywhere to join with us in pursuing a
healthy integration of sexuality and spirituality by affirming the divine
image in all life, gay or straight and by blessing the lives, relationships,
households and children of its LGBT parishioners," said Wilson. "It's
time to stop the violence and hate, and the only way to do that is to
tell and deal with the truth: Gay priests are no more likely to be pedophiles
than anyone else. LGBT people are created in God's image. Honoring that
truth will set us all free to live the lives of integrity and wholeness
Metropolitan Community Churches
(MCC) offers positive, affirming ministry to gays, lesbians, bisexuals
and transgender persons through local congregations in 23 countries. For
more information on MCC's work and ministry, as well as the "Global
Week of Prayer for Religious Equality," visit www.MCCchurch.org
cont. from the front page
Soulforce, a national interfaith movement committed
to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings
against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) people, led the action during
the Thursday morning session that included hundreds of gay, lesbian, bisexual,
transgender, and allies from both inside and outside the church. United Methodist
caucus groups Affirmation, Reconciling Ministries Network, and the Methodist
Federation for Social Action joined in the direct action, which stopped proceedings
for approximately 20 minutes.
In a series of decisions earlier this week, the
United Methodist Church reconfirmed their misguided stance that homosexuality
is incompatible with Christian teaching, strengthened their prohibition against
ordaining self-avowed practicing homosexuals, and voted on other
anti-gay legislation designed to prevent gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender
people from participating in the full life of the church and society.
Protestors sang songs, carried rainbow banners
and signs with a variety of messages, including, Remember our Baptism,
God loves me just the way I am, and Not of one mind is better
than being mindless. Hundreds of people left the visitors bleachers and
delegates and bishops stood in their seats in support.
We want the delegates who voted against us
to see the faces and the pain of those who they condemned this week, said
Rev. Marylee Fithian, United Methodist minister and co-chair of the Soulforce
United Methodist Denominational Team. If one persons heart or mind
has been changed through this incredible demonstration of love, we have succeeded.
In any direct action, Soulforce works to dialogue and negotiate with their adversaries. Leaders had asked the bishops for the opportunity to go out on to the floor and address the delegates. The request was not denied, therefore civil disobedience was not needed and the protest proceeded without incidence.
After the interruption, hundreds of protestors
and several delegates proceeded to a rally on the 3rd floor of the convention
Rev. Phil Lawson, retired United Methodist Minister, and Soulforce advisory board member, said, The struggle for gay and lesbian equality runs parallel to the civil rights struggle. The major difference is that we had the church and we had our families, gays and lesbians have neither. This is why I am part of this movement for equality for all Gods people, to support those who need it most.
According to Diane Knaus "However, what the congregations and leaders are not talking about is the rate at which their own gay and lesbian clergy are leaving their ministry in order to fullfill their call to the religious life"
Soulforce may be reached at