May 30, 2017 Conference Call
Participants: Janine DeLaunay, Sharon McCart, Brian Burch, Nancy Webb, Russell Ewell
As an official caucus of the UMC, we have been offered a to present a video or letter to the Commission on the Way Forward responding to the following statement: Describe your constituency's preferred future for our denomination regarding the nature, conditions and extent of the inclusion of LGBTQ people within the Church.
Janine has asked for responses from our Caucus on two opportunities, and these have been summarized in her May 29th email.
Janine proposed that the co-chairs of the UMAMD write a two-page response.
At this point each person on the conference call was asked to share their feelings…
Russell: The scripture referred to in the responses is helpful. However, arguments can be made both ways using scripture. I lean more towards experiential. I work with LGBTQ people; and have never thought how the church should respond.
Brian: I know I speak for the minority. I believe we have standards for ministers that should be kept. While three LGBTQ people shared Christmas Dinner at home this year and are welcome in our churches; I do not believe our language in the current Discipline should be changed.
Nancy: The UMAMD like the whole UMC is not a single-minded group on this issue. Therefore, whatever comments you put in the paper should reflect that. I personally am a strong supporter of all people being included in the life of the UMC. This includes people of all sexual identities and abilities.
Janine: All means all. I cannot say “Yes include me, but not these other folks.” On the church level, we should include everyone without splitting. Can we not all live under the same tent? Are there not both loving and sincere people on both sides of this? My goal in the letter to the Commission on the Way Forward is to express that we are not all of one mind. I want to include some personal comments and include the desire to remain as one church. If we can't remain one church, then I truly struggle because God is the judge and Christ came to tear down walls.
Question: Do we want to write this letter? Yes: Nancy, Brian, Sharon & Janine. Abstain: Russell
Russell does not want to be on the team to co-write the letter.
Janine will write a draft letter and send it out by Friday to the Leadership Team for their review.
She would like to have it to the Commission on the Way Forward by June 7.
Bishop Peggy Johnson asked when does the UMAMD want to get together? Can we meet in 2018? Russell and Nancy said they would work together on initial plans.
Russell closed our meeting in prayer.
UMAMD Committee Leaders
September 1, 2017
Present: Lisa McKee, Janine DeLaunay, Sharon McCart, Russell Ewell, Brian Burch, Lynn Swedberg, Tim Vermande and Nancy Webb.
Topic for Discussion: With the 2016 Discipline, Global Health no longer has a mandate to fund DisAbility Ministries. Global Ministries is projected to removed all funding for the DisAbility Ministries Committee as of May 31, 2018.
How should we respond?
Sharon McCart provided information on the situation. [See full statement: http://umdisability.blogspot.com/2017/08/news-about-dmc-sharon-mccart.html]
The consensus of our group is that a letter from our group to Thomas Kemper, General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries would be the first step. A key component of this letter was to distinguish between providing acts of mercy (wheelchairs) for the disabled; and providing justice (equal rights). Global Ministries mandate now focuses solely on “special needs” and the need to provide mercy ministries. Dr. David Watson is writing a separate letter. Janine and Russell will draft a letter from the UMAMD. Others are encouraged to write. The current funding is only $20,000 per year.
Nancy Webb is working with Bishop Johnson, Russell Ewell and Leo Yates on the next meeting of the UMAMD. The proposal is to meet August 1-3, 2018 at the Kellogg Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. Janine asked to be included on the planning team.