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Petition


Transforming Congregations Petitions


From Bob Kuyper, Editor, Transforming Congregations

My church Council passed the following two petitions from the last TC newsletter. I hope you will considering either sending them yourself or presenting them to your church.

Petitions to General Conference must be postmarked by December 3, 1999. Anyone , lay or clergy, in the United Methodist Church may send a petition. Each petition should deal with one topic and be submitted in duplicate. Note that the two petitions below deal with different paragraphs and must be submitted separately. They must be signed by the person submitting it and accompanied by appropriate identification, such as address, local church, or United Methodist board or agency relationship. A local church can also submit a petition. For the first time, petitions can be filed by e-mail. They should be sent to petitions@umpublishing.org and the e-mail should include the petitioner's phone number. The preference for e-mail attachments is Microsoft Word, but they may also be submitted in Microsoft Excel and Word Perfect.

Petitions sent by mail should be addressed to:
Sheila McGee, Petitions Secretary
P.O. Box 801
Nashville, TN 37202

For questions related to petitions, call (615) 749-6488.
See 507 in The Discipline for more information.


Petition to the 2000 General Conference:

To the members of the 2000 General Conference:

To paragraph 65G, add the phrase, "and transforming," after the word, "reconciling," in the second sentence, so that the paragraph would read:

Homosexual persons no less than heterosexual persons are individuals of sacred worth. All persons need the ministry and guidance of the Church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship which enables reconciling and transforming relationships with God, with others, and with self. Although we do not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching, we affirm that God's grace is available to all. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.

Rationale:

Reconciling is a helpful first step in healing. But we are not true to our Wesleyan heritage if we just leave people where they are. The word, "reconciling," means much more than leaving people where they are, but some might get the wrong idea. Adding the word, "transformation," will correct this misunderstanding and bring this statement in line with our heritage. See The Discipline, 60, "General Rules and Social Principles," p. 47, where we read, "We proclaim no personal gospel that fails to express itself in relevant social concerns; we proclaim no social gospel that does not include the personal transformation of sinners." This view needs to be included in our Social Principles.


Petition to the 2000 General Conference I

To the members of the 2000 General Conference:

That the statement in 66H, "We also commit ourselves to social witness against the coercion and marginalization of former homosexuals," be retained in our Discipline.

Rationale:

This statement was added by the 1996 General Conference by a vote of 81% with strong support from all sides, including an editorial by Affirmation supporting it. It is amazing that anyone would want to remove this and thereby favor, either marginalization or coercion of anyone in our church or society. Even if they are sincerely convinced that there is no such thing as a "former homosexual," that does not justify discrimination against those who know in their hearts that they have been changed. Our church was right to pass this and we strongly urge its retention.

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