Friday, June 7, 2013

Bishop McLee: Advocate for full inclusion

MIND is the group within the New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church working to end discrimination against LGBTQ people. (I am a big fan of MIND, by the way.)

Here is part of their report from Day 2 of the annual session of the NY Conference:

The day ended with Bishop McLee’s first episcopal address to the New York Annual Conference. He began by saying “I am going to be myself” and straightforwardly shared his views in a wide-ranging speech. “Let’s talk about the complaint process,” he said, tackling head-on the current prosecution of Tom Ogletree (though not by name). He stood by his position that he has no choice but to refer a case to counsel for the church if the evidence supports the complaint, and noted that he had gotten responses critical of that position, some of them demeaning. But he also proclaimed, “For the last 13 years I have been an advocate for the full inclusion of God’s gay and lesbian children in the life of the church.”
Once again, as in Upper New York, Bishop McLee is a brand new bishop elected just last year.

I have much sympathy for leaders like Bishop McLee who are responsible to oversee a system that seeks to punish people for doing things they know are right and good. I am especially sympathetic to brand new bishops who are just learning the ropes.

Still, as I said the other day, none of us gets to choose the justice issues of the time in which we are called to lead. The wind blows where it will. (John 3:8) The question of whether God's gay and lesbian children will be fully included and honored in the United Methodist Church is an issue no bishop in our time will be able to avoid.

It may not be the only issue but it is an unavoidable one. 

I have a great respect for the office of bishop. I believe in the episcopacy because I believe in leadership. Actually, I have a great hope that the bishops will help us make it through this test of history.    

If I read history correctly, the racist Central Jurisdiction ended when a group of bishops decided it was an embarrassment to the church and they determined they needed to make sure it ended. They worked behind the scenes to support the work of activists and legislators like W. Astor Kirk to end it.

I am grateful to Bishop McLee for having the courage to announce to his annual conference that he supports the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the life of our church.

I am also grateful to our own Bishop Marcus Matthews for his advocacy on behalf of a fully inclusive church.

1 comment:

  1. you have confirmed what i thought. this conflict will end when the bishops decide to work on it. they seem to be waiting for the moment when we will lose more people by not changing than we do by changing. i think this will occur when the US has same sex marriage in all 50 states.