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North Carolina UM Bishop Praises Homosexual Vision For UMC, Encourages Opposition To Church Law

From: rum-nc@yahoogroups.com  On Behalf Of John Suddath
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 5:06 PM
To: rum-nc@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [rum-nc] Meeting with the Bishop

The Holy Spirit was present Monday night when about 30 RUM-NC members, friends, and guests met at Calvary UMC with Bishop Al Gwinn to share the stories of our personal challenges in dealing with some of the recent decisions of the Methodist Church hierarchy and how they have affected our faith journey. Several of the principals involved in the Judicial Ruling regarding the pastor at South Hills UMC in Virginia were present.
The Bishop offered an opening statement summarizing the deliberations of the Council of Bishops following the recent rulings of the Judicial Council that the Bishops felt subverted the authority of the church. He defended the wording of the Disciple regarding homosexuality and stated that he felt that integrity was essential for those who were called to the ministry and that he didn't see how one could accept the call and not disavow his or her sexuality that the church has ruled as unacceptable behavior. On the other hand, he stated that the Constitution. Book of Discipline, and deliberations of the General Conference have acknowledged that all are welcome to join the church with the only condition being baptism, the vows of church membership, and a willing acceptance of Jesus' Grace.

The circle of fellowship was filled with great emotion and sometimes tears as people one by one spoke publicly of their trials, concerns, (and yes anger) about the positions of the Methodist Church on the place of homosexuals in the pew and the pulpit. One would have to have been hard hearted indeed not to feel the hurt and pain and yet sense the resolve that the Spirit is moving the church to become more open, honest, and welcoming without conditions. You should have been there. A brief summary can't express all of the conflict that many felt and yet expressed their confidence that the Methodist Church is growing in spirituality through all of this controversy.

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