Communications Department

April 11, 2014

(Submitted by Kevin Nelson, et al)

     WHEREAS, ¶ 613.19 of the 2012 Book of Discipline directs the Conference Council on Finance and Administration “To ensure that no annual conference board, agency, committee, commission, or council shall give United Methodist funds to any gay caucus or group, or otherwise use such funds to promote the acceptance of homosexuality…”; and

     WHEREAS, the New England Annual Conference (NEAC) believes that the unjust laws and policies of The UMC, exemplified above, that condemn “the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching” (see ¶ 161F) damage the lives, bodies and souls of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) children of God, as well as their families and loved ones; and,

     WHEREAS, consistent with the quoted excerpt of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s text from his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, quoted in the corresponding resolution on unjust laws and church trials, the NEAC stands in the spirit of MLK in calling out ¶ 613.19 as an unjust law and asserts our moral responsibility to break this law, regardless of any future judicial action that may inform us we are not allowed to do so; 

     THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NEAC hereby officially affirms its beliefs that God intentionally creates, loves and affirms LGBT persons; that God celebrates the complete fulfillment of our humanity, whether in singleness or in the love shared between two partnered individuals, regardless of gender; and the NEAC recognizes that God sometimes calls LGBT persons into ministry and we wholeheartedly embrace and celebrate that calling when it is recognized and affirmed;

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, as an initial act, a sort of down payment, on our atonement for past sins in relation to our complicity with these unjust UMC laws and policies, the NEAC hereby directs the Conference Board of Church and Society to donate $5,000 of their budgeted funds to a fund for the defense of the Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy in relation to a complaint/charge against her for being a “self-avowed, practicing homosexual.”  This action is taken in celebration of Rev. Thompson Tweedy’s marriage to Kristin Marcell and the love these two individuals have found with each other, and in honor of Rev. Thompson Tweedy’s courage to answer when God called her to ministry in a Church that unjustly discriminates against her;

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,  in the event that this complaint/charge is resolved either in between the submission of this resolution to the 2014 Annual Conference session and the session itself, or through a subsequent just resolution process that averts a formal church trial, these funds are given with the designation that they would then be used to support the defense of other clergy facing trials around The UMC due to their courageous stands in the face of our current injustices in relation to LGBT persons;

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this donation be made out to Methodists in New Directions (MIND), as the fiscal agency overseeing Rev. Thompson Tweedy’s defense expenses, and sent to MIND, c/o Asbury UMC, 167 Scarsdale Rd, Tuckahoe, NY 10707.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that in order to make it abundantly clear that the NEAC takes this action as a means of “promoting” homosexuality, we note that MIND has been “promoting” homosexuality since its founding in 2006 and holds as its mission, “working to end our denomination’s doctrinal prejudice and institutional discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and [is] committed to living more fully into God’s radical Welcome right now and right here.”

     Signatories: Scott Campbell, Sean Delmore, Leigh Dry,  Becca Girrell, Marion C. Grant,  Will Green,  Vicki Woods, and New Wineskins