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Update 12-06-2005

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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 nationally.
Helpline:020 8697 2112
Fire -in-Ice- A Merseyside self help project run by and for adult men who have experienced childhood abuse, especially those who have suffered while in resdiential care. Also in Canada.
Helpline: 0151 707 2614
Derby Rape Crisis- Face to face counseling accompanies clients to court,counseling in minority languages.
Helpline: 01332 3725450
There have been over 61 documented cases of priests who have been convicted of sexually abusing young boys, that we know of to this date. It is doubtless that there are many more waiting to be brought to the light and examined in a day in court. If you know of someone or are someone who has been abused, please contact one of these organizations. We will help you find help.


Problems Within the Ranks of the Methodists

In a statement released today, a group of United Methodist church leaders,
call on the United Methodist Church to "embody God's love and justice."
Specifically they call on the United Methodist Judicial Council to
reconsider and reverse a recent decision (#1032) in which a United Methodist
pastor was allowed to refuse membership to a gay man in his congregation. The group expresses concern that the Judicial Council ruling removes the
denomination's  constitutional guarantee of open membership, deprives lay
persons of their rights, and further puts minorities in the church at risk
of discrimination and exclusion.  
 
"Whenever history, tradition, practice and culture declare in deed or word
that some category of persons are less than others, there will be those who
feel they have been given impunity to separate, segregate, exclude and
sometimes harm those persons,"  according to declaration signer Rev. Gilbert
Caldwell of United Methodists of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church.
 
The leaders contend that the recent ruling cannot be viewed in isolation.
Decisions in recent years have served to "enshrine discriminatory policies"
in United Methodist church law, they claim, ultimately threatening the
United Methodist heritage of openness.   Decision 1032 is the next step, say
the leaders, on a "slippery slope" that began with claiming that
"homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching" and policies that
bar the ordination of "self-avowed practicing homosexuals."  
 
"The fact that the church has singled out one group of people and
discriminated against them on the basis of their status, in this case their
sexual orientation," says statement signer Jeff Spelman, Chair of the
Reconciling Ministries Network board of directors and lay delegate to
General Conference in 2000, "was bound to lead to the situation in which we
find ourselves today."  
 
"I am confident that a large majority of United Methodists are stunned and outraged that a ruling by the Judicial Council gives pastors total authority to grant or deny membership in local congregations," said Rev. Kathryn Johnson of the Methodist Federation for Social Action.  "It is imperative that we move back from the precipice on which we find ourselves if we are going to move into the future as a church which extends God's hospitality and healing grace to the world around us."
 
The statement ends with a challenge to the United Methodist Church including a call for Judicial Council Decision 1032 to be reversed, a call for United Methodist Bishops to advocate for a "fully inclusive church" and a call for "all discriminatory language" to be removed from the Book of Discipline at General Conference 2008.
 
The full statement, signatures can be viewed below and at:
http://www.HereWeStandUMC.org <http://www.herewestandumc.org/>

11-01-2005

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 decision of the Northeast Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals is reversed and the verdict and penalty of the trial court in the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference is reinstated. Rev. Stroud was accorded all fair and due process rights enumerated in the Discipline and in Judicial Council decisions. Regulation of the practice of homosexuality does not violate the “status” provisions of the Constitution. The Committee on Appeals was without jurisdiction to declare that ¶ 304.3 established a new standard of doctrine contrary to our present existing and established standards of doctrine. Such a determination is reserved solely to the General Conference, and the Discipline does not require that it must use specific language to do so. The instructions of the presiding officer of the trial court correctly stated the law of the church with respect to the penalty deliberations of the trial court and did not constitute error.
October 29, 2005
Shamwange P. Kyungu was absent Concurring in Part and Dissenting in Part We do not disagree with the legal analysis of our colleagues, although we deeply regret the outcome.

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.
As to the legal issues here, it should be noted that all matters of doctrine are protected by the Constitution’s Restrictive Rules. The first Restrictive Rule states: “The General Conference shall not revoke, alter, or change our Articles of Religion or establish any new standards or rules of doctrine contrary to our present existing and established standards of doctrine” (¶ 17.Article I., 2004 Discipline, p. 27). Paragraph 304.3 does not rise to the standard of doctrine. (Decisions 86, 358, 847) "

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!

See Beths' 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
12-2-2004
The story of a lesbian United Methodist clergywoman in Philadelphia
UNITED METHODIST MINISTER FACES TRIAL DEC. 1 FOR COMMITTED LESBIAN RELATIONSHIP
PHILADELPHIA

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.
Stroud is the third United Methodist minister to face trial for homosexuality, an issue that has deeply divided the church for more than three decades. In March, a jury of 13 ordained United Methodists acquitted the Rev. Karen Dammann of Ellensburg, Wash., saying the church had not declared homosexuality to be incompatible with Christian teaching despite a ban on the ordination of “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals.” The Judicial Council — the highest legal authority in the United Methodist Church — has since contradicted the jury’s reasoning, saying the church clearly finds homosexuality incompatible; the council reinforced the ban on the ordination and appointment of gays and lesbians.

The ruling precludes Stroud’s team from using the reasoning that led to Dammann’s acquittal.
The process that led to the trial started April 27, 2003, when Stroud, in a sermon, told the congregation about her relationship with Chris Paige, 33, a consultant to small businesses and nonprofit organizations. They have lived together for more than four years.
“I’m not afraid,” said Stroud, who accepted her homosexuality as an undergraduate in the early 1990s. “I can’t know what the outcome of the trial will be, but I trust God to work in and through whatever happens. I love the people of the United Methodist Church, I love ministry and I love my partner and the life God has given us together. I just want to be the person God created me to be and to serve in the way God has called me to serve.”

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.

“We’re grateful and heartened and inspired by Beth’s 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 doesn’t welcome a minister with Beth’s compassion and faith, that a minister with all Beth’s skills isn’t 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 Stroud’s 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.

Stroud’s 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 Stroud’s 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 Stroud’s defense: www.bethstroud.info
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference: www.epaumc.org
Reconciling Ministries Network: www.rmnetwork.org If you would like to be notified when there are updates with this website or with Beth Stroud's case,
please send an email to subscribe@bethstroud.info and we will add you to our mailing list.
Your email will be kept confidential and used only for the purpose noted above.
4-19-2004

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:
Pray daily for the end of war in general and the Iraq war specifically; for those who suffer as the result of war, including the soldiers and their families; the Iraqi people in their struggle to find a workable form of government; and for the leaders of the United States that they will turn to truth, humility, and policies of peace through justice."

"Reclaim the prophetic authority that calls nations, individuals, and communities to live faithfully in the light of God’s 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.  
Let us move beyond caution rooted in self protection and recover moral authority anchored in commitment to Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
Let us object with boldness when governing powers offer solutions of war that conflict with the gospel message of self-emptying love.
Let us with compassion share the pain of God’s children who suffer from the devastation of war and those who live in poverty resulting from misplaced priorities and misguided public policies. Let us work toward unity in a world of diversity, that all peoples will come to know that we belong to one another, and that “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself … and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us”(2 Corinthians 5:19)."

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 General Conference

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.”
“We can no longer cooperate with the church when it is complicit in the spiritual violence against thousands of God’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and fails live up to its motto of open hearts, open minds, and open doors,” said Rev. Marylee Fithian, United Methodist minister and co-chair of the Soulforce United Methodist Denominational Team. “Gandhi teaches us, ‘It is as much our moral obligation NOT to cooperate with evil as it is to cooperate with good.’”
A direct action and non-violent civil disobedience are planned by Soulforce, depending on the actions of the delegates.

 

 

Do Something 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
in the U.S.California http://www.mccchurch.org
in Washington D.C. go to http://www.mccdc.com
in Canada go to http://www.mccwindsor.ca
in Florida go to http://www.holycrossmcc.com


Religion
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 the world.

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

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.
Heterosexual Marriage - You too can get married in Canada immediately, as long as you get a marriage license, and any minister will provide the ceremony. The marriage will be legal anywhere in Canada.

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 the Metropolitan Community Church of Windsor web site

 

SEE MCC'S REV. NANCY WILSON ON PBS TELEVISION

     FEATURED ON 251 TV STATIONS This WEEKEND
    

 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.

Nancy Wilson and Metropolitan Community Church
      "To The Contrary" is Public Broadcasting's  all-female news analysis series, now in its 14th season. With women in the forefront of politics and on the cutting edge of international agendas, "To The Contrary" continues to provide an important, timely forum for women to discuss national (US) and international issues and policies.
      See below to locate the show in your area.
    
      www.MCCchurch.org (Metropolitan Community Churches)
      8704 Santa Monica Blvd.
      West Hollywood CA  90069
      Phone: 310-360-8640
      Email: info@MCCchurch.org
      URL: http://www.MCCchurch.org
    

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.

"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."

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.

11-9-2005

 "Metropolitan Community 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 children."
    

 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 God intended."
      

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
    


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Soulforce

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 person’s 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 center.
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 God’s 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 http://www.soulforce.org