Michigan United Methodists for Inclusion

Clergy Letter

Bishop David Bard,

We, the undersigned Deacons, Elders, and Local Pastors of the Michigan Conference, are called in this moment in the life of The United Methodist Church to offer you this open pastoral letter.

 

You have shared publicly that you find it difficult living under the Traditional Plan. Thank you for that clarity. It has allowed us to arrive at the same conclusion. We believe your heart is with us. Know our hearts are with you. We stand with you as our Resident Bishop.

We join you in acknowledging that the special General Conference inflicted deep harm on our LBGTQIA colleagues, church members, friends and family. Many of us have spent hours offering pastoral care to those harmed. Struggling to convince our members to continue to tithe or at the very least to stay. Saying broken hearted farewells to those who cannot.

Heeding your call for us to keep a holy Lent, we lift up these Lenten laments and confessions:

We confess the ways our silence, privilege, and concern for the preservation of the institutional church has harmed LBGTQIA people, excluding them from the life of the Michigan Conference for too long.

We confess this is part of a long history of harm. We have and continue to struggle against racism and sexism in the life our church, and we continue to find need to broaden the conversation to include these systemic sins that still plague our connection.

We lament the current state of The United Methodist Church. We confess the institutional church was unable to move us forward. It is stuck.

We lament the narrowly passed, overtly punitive, and constitutionally suspect petitions in search of a legislative win. The General Conference, as an institution, is broken.

We lament the marginalization of the Council of Bishops as an institution. Its leadership and recommendations were disregarded at the Special General Conference.

Over the past two weeks, we have made space and taken time to listen to the members of our congregations and ministry settings. They have told us they no longer recognize their Church. They are wondering how they can, with any integrity, share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invite people, especially young people, into the life of their congregation or ministry setting. Our members are calling for action. They are saying, “Enough!” “The harm is too much.”  “It is time to decide who we are and where we stand.”

These words convict us.

We, therefore, refuse to accept the United Methodist stance that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. We affirm the rich diversity of sexual orientations and gender expression as part of God’s good creation. No one group of people are inherently more sinful than another. All people are ensnared in sin and need God’s prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying grace.

We can no longer abide by the restrictions the Book of Discipline has placed on inclusion of LBGTQIA people in the full life of the UMC.

We will take our authority as clergy to perform marriages per our consciences for our congregants and our communities, whosoever they are.

We call upon our District Committees on Ordained Ministry and the Michigan Annual Conference Board of Ordained Ministry to recommended qualified candidates for ministry, whosoever they are.

We affirm your authority as a Bishop, to consecrate, commission, and ordain all qualified and elected candidates for ministry — Bishops, Deacons, Elders, Local Pastors, Mission Personnel — whosoever they are.

Out of the ashes of the Special General Conference we sense the Holy Spirit moving. A new day is dawning – in our local communities, not in legislative maneuvering. We commit to following the Spirit’s lead. We invite you to join us.

We stand ready to chart a way forward for United Methodism – in Michigan and around the connection.  Now is the moment to unite in confessing the harm we have done and continue to do to our LBGTQIA siblings; covenanting to faithfully keep our baptismal vow to follow Jesus Christ in resisting “evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves;” and boldly sharing the good news of God’s abundant grace.

In Christ,

Sign the Letter Below

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Current Signers

Pastors and ordained persons wishing to add their name to this letter can continue to do so even as the initial signature phase has concluded. This listing will now be updated weekly. Please do not enter you name twice. If you have any edits or corrections, please be in touch with us via the Contact page. Thank you.

 
The Rev.        Lynn Pier-Fitzgerald
The Rev.        Peter Bartlett
The Rev. Dr.    Ray McGee
The Rev.        Keith Bovee
The Rev.        David Nellist
The Rev.        David Strobe
The Rev.        Victoria Hadaway
The Rev.        Ronald Grant
The Rev.        Brian Rafferty
The Rev.        Sue Pethoud
The Rev. Dr.    J. Gordon Schleicher
The Rev.        Carolin Spragg
The Rev.        William Johnson
The Rev.        Bill Haggard
The Rev.        Kari Solveig Hay
The Rev. Dr.    Wesley Brun
The Rev.        Alice Sheffield
Pastor          Janet Wilson
The Rev.        Peggy Garrigues
The Rev.        Carolyn Wik
The Rev.        David Eardley
The Rev. Dr.    Jeffrey Sterling
The Rev.        Johncie Turner
The Rev.        Pamela Kail
The Rev.        James Greer
The Rev.        Lisa Kelley
The Rev.        Susan Oberg
The Rev.        William Ritter
Pastor          Inge Whittemore
The Rev.        Ryan Low Edwardson
The Rev.        Nicolas Berlanga
The Rev.        Marvin Mccallum
The Rev.        Marsha Woolley
The Rev.        Keith Laidler
The Rev.        Rebecca Farrester
The Rev.        Mark D Miller
The Rev.        James Kellermann
The Rev.        Lori Sykes
The Rev.        Robert Schoenhals
The Rev.        Jacqueline Holdsworth
The Rev.        Jonathan Mays
Pastor          Cynthia Veilleux
The Rev. Dr.    Richard Morrison
The Rev.        Deborah Johnson
The Rev. Dr.    Robert Hundley
Pastor          Joy Barrett
The Rev.        Arthur Stone
The Rev.        Patricia Pebley
The Rev.        David Newhouse
The Rev.        Rickie Edmunds
The Rev.        Jonathan Bratt Carle
The Rev.        Mary Margaret Eckhardt
The Rev.        Karen Burdick
The Rev.        Kaye Ferguson Patton
The Rev.        Jane Johnson
The Rev.        Susan Defoe Dunlap
The Rev.        Gerald Hunter
The Rev.        Dale Milford
The Rev.        John Ellinger
The Rev.        Mary Davismdavi
The Rev.        Robert Jones
The Rev.        Blaine Rader
The Rev.        Rev. Rich Peacock
The Rev.        Mary Hagley
The Rev.        Sally Harrington
The Rev.        Jeff Williams
The Rev. Dr.    Dia Vale
The Rev.        Pam Beedle-Gee
The Rev.        Dean N. Prentiss
The Rev.        Sandy Johnson
The Rev. Dr.    Douglas Ralston
The Rev.        Justin Elliott Lowe
The Rev.        Catherine Freeman
The Rev.        Jeff Bowman
The Rev.        Christine Wyatt
The Rev.        Margery Schleicher
The Rev.        Steven Davis
The Rev. Dr.    Jennifer Browne
Pastor          Julie Krauss
The Rev.        Mark Payne
The Rev.        Douglas Paterson
The Rev.        Donna Minarik
The Rev.        Carman Minarik
The Rev. Dr.    Donald Strobe
The Rev.        Richard Dake
The Rev. Dr.    Julie Greyerbiehl
The Rev.        Ed Snook
The Rev.        Allen Myers
The Rev.        Carol Walvatne
The Rev.        Mary Lou Kotz
Pastor          Jodi Cartwright
The Rev.        Lyle Heaton
The Rev.        David Hills
The Rev. Dr.    James Morgan
The Rev.        Karen Golden
The Rev.        Karen Welch
The Rev.        Richard Hohnbaum
The Rev.        Letisha Bowman
The Rev.        Kathryn Snedeker
The Rev.        Michael Higgs
The Rev.        Patricia Harpole
The Rev.        Lois Mccullen Parr
The Rev.        Karen B. Poole
The Rev.        Lucinda Bates
The Rev. Dr.    Jeremy Williams
The Rev.        Beatrice Robinson
The Rev.        Elbert Dulworth
The Rev.        Andrew Phillips
The Rev.        Sarah Flynn
The Rev.        Margaret Beck
The Rev.        Tina Marie Rees
The Rev.        David Knapp
The Rev.        Tom Schomaker
The Rev. Dr.    Lisa Mcilvenna
The Rev.        Timothy Kobler
The Rev.        Monica William
The Rev.        Carol Blair Bouse
The Rev.        Susan Hagans
The Rev.        Phillip Friedrick
Pastor          Charles Farnum
The Rev. Dr.    Jennifer Jue
The Rev.        Bradford Lewis
The Rev.        Polly Beynon James
The Rev.        Tom Macaulay
The Rev.        Carole Lyman
The Rev.        Sue Platt
The Rev.        Michael Mayo-Moyle
The Rev.        Dennis Bromley
The Rev.        Carol Johns
The Rev.        Christopher Momany
The Rev.        Frank Lyman
The Rev. Dr.    Steven Manskar
The Rev.        Clinton Mckinven-Copus
The Rev.        Gerald F Hagans
The Rev.        Julie Liske
The Rev. Dr.    Brent Mccumons
The Rev. Dr.    Douglas Wingeier
The Rev.        G. Patrick England
The Rev.        Margaret Jones
The Rev.        Lynne Perg
The Rev.        Dorothy  Marie Blakey
The Rev. Dr.    Vaughn Thurrston-Cox
The Rev.        Steve Mccoy
Pastor          Alexander Sandy Miller
The Rev.        Pauline Hart
The Rev.        Thomas Hart
The Rev.        David Rahn
The Rev.        Maurice Sharai
The Rev.        Joy Arthur
The Rev.        Judith Mayo
The Rev.        Thomas Pier-Fitzgerald
The Rev.        Amee Paparella
The Rev.        Robert Roth
The Rev.        Dianne Vanmarter
The Rev.        Paul J. Mallory
The Rev. Dr.    William Abram Cargo
The Rev.        Sue Trowbridge
The Rev.        William C. Bills
The Rev. Dr.    Jill Hardt Zundel
The Rev.        Lester Mangum
The Rev.        Molly C. Turner
The Rev.        Cynthia Skutar
The Rev.        Alice Fleming Townley
The Rev. Dr.    Michael Conklin
The Rev.        John Fisher
The Rev.        Thomas Davenport
The Rev.        Patricia Bethke
The Rev.        Dee Chapell
The Rev.        Christopher Hintz
The Rev.        Kristi Hintz
The Rev.        Carter Cortelyou
The Rev.        Rev. Dr. Julius Del Pino
The Rev.        Thomas Shanklin
Pastor          Billie Lou Gillespie
The Rev.        Scott Sherrill
The Rev. Dr.    A. Edward Perkins
The Rev.        R. Lavere Webster
The Rev.        Eric Burton-Krieger
The Rev.        Ben Bohnsack
The Rev.        David Ferguson
The Rev.        Brittney Stephan
The Rev.        Lawrence Wik
The Rev.        Michael Emshwiller
The Rev.        Barb Robbins
Pastor          Sara Carlson
The Rev.        Jack Stubbs
The Rev.        Lisa Batten
The Rev. Dr.    Tommy Mcdoniel
The Rev.        Bill Wylie-Kellermann
The Rev.        Jeff Nelson
The Rev.        Melanie Baker
The Rev.        Terry Allen
The Rev.        Timothy Tuthill
The Rev.        Christopher Butson
The Rev. Dr.    Karin Orr
The Rev. Dr.    Harold Jon Slater
The Rev.        James Balfour
Pastor          Joe Bistayi
The Rev.        Edrye Maurer
The Rev.        Douglas Mercer
The Rev.        Bea Fraser-Soots
The Rev.        Reva Daniel
The Rev. Dr.    Tamara Gieselman
The Rev.        Nancy Lynn
Pastor          Doug Trebilcock
The Rev.        Patricia Catellier
The Rev.        Dan Bruce
The Rev.        Jean Smith
The Rev.        Duane Harris
The Rev.        Maureen Baker
The Rev.        Dee Ferens
The Rev.        Manohar Joshi
The Rev.        David Gladstone
The Rev.        Weatherly Burkhead Verhelst
The Rev.        Suzanne Goodwin
The Rev.        Caleb Williams
The Rev.        William Dye
The Rev.        Sondra Willobee
The Rev.        Linda Stephan
The Rev.        Daniel Duncan
The Rev.        Shelly Wisdom-Long
The Rev. Dr.    Douglas Vernon
The Rev.        Linda Burson
The Rev.        Stephen Charnley
The Rev.        Devin Smith
The Rev.        Ann Emerson
The Rev.        Catherine Huvaere
The Rev.        Michael Kelley
The Rev.        Linda Farmer-Lewus
The Rev.        Len Schoenherr
The Rev.        Paul Hahm
Pastor          Scott Marsh
The Rev.        George Ward
Pastor          Larry French
The Rev.        Latha Ravi
The Rev.        Benjamin Bower
The Rev.        T. Bradley Terhune
The Rev.        Shawn Lewis-Lakin
The Rev.        Lynn Hasley
The Rev.        Pamela Buchholz
The Rev.        Richard Blunt
The Rev.        Mike Tupper
The Rev. Dr.    Harold Weemhoff
The Rev.        Bruce Kintigh
Pastor          Caroline Hart
The Rev.        William Chu
The Rev.        William Bills
The Rev.        Melany Chalker
The Rev.        Robert Goudie
The Rev.        Charlotte Cowdin
The Rev.        Diana Goudie
The Rev.        Scott Manning
The Rev.        Ed Rowe
The Rev.        Paul Melrose
The Rev.        Marshall Dunlap
The Rev.        Richard Burstall
The Rev.        Kennetha Bigham-Tsai
The Rev.        Mary Sweet
The Rev. Dr.    Barbara Lewis-Lakin
The Rev.        Tania Dozeman
The Rev.        Melissa Claxton
The Rev.        David Morton
The Rev.        Tommy Boutell
The Rev.        Brian Steele
The Rev.        April Mcglothin-Eller
Pastor          Jess Davenport
The Rev.        Julie Kline
The Rev.        Christina Miller-Black
Pastor          Jan Johnson
The Rev. Dr.    Dale Miller
The Rev. Dr.    Norman Kohns
The Rev.        Eric Stone
The Rev.        Jane A Berquist
The Rev.        Rob Mcpherson
The Rev.        George Covintree
The Rev.        Julia Elmore
The Rev.        Vince Mcglothin-Eller
The Rev.        Nancy Frank
The Rev.        Kim Delong
The Rev.        Beth Titus
The Rev.        June Marshall-Smith
The Rev.        Susan Youmans
The Rev.        Alicea Williams
The Rev.        Jane Lippert
The Rev.        Melodye Surgeon Vanoudheusden
The Rev.        Megan Walther
The Rev.        Jaye Reisinger
The Rev.        Ellen Zienert
The Rev. Dr.    Christina Wright
The Rev.        Katie Fahey
The Rev.        Annelissa Gray-Lion
The Rev.        Katie Waggoner
The Rev.        Devon Herrell
The Rev.        Briony Desotell
The Rev.        Tina Zimmerman
Pastor          Dale Hotelling
The Rev.        Laurie Nelson
The Rev.        Susan Petro
The Rev.        Corey Simon
The Rev.        Chris Lane
The Rev.        Mark Babb
The Rev.        Susan Babb
The Rev.        Kathy Brown
The Rev.        Ellen A. Brubaker
The Rev.        John Ross Thompson
The Rev.        Paul Donelson
The Rev.        Nathaniel Starkey
The Rev. Dr.    Randall Forshee
The Rev.        Todd Query
The Rev.        John Ball
The Rev.        Lindsey Hall
The Rev.        Dan Hart
The Rev.        Brian West
The Rev.        Sari Brown
The Rev.        Sherri Swanson
The Rev.        Michael Vollmer
The Rev.        Bradley Bartelmay
The Rev.        Tom Fox
The Rev.        Bill Johnson
The Rev.        Jeremy Peters
The Rev.        Georgia Hale
The Rev.        Amy Terhune
The Rev.        Cara Weiler
The Rev.        Matt Weiler
The Rev.        Mike Desotell
The Rev.        Robert Blanchard
The Rev.        Kathy Charlefour
The Rev.        Sarah Alexander
The Rev.        David Elmore
The Rev.        Mary Ivanov
The Rev.        Jeremy Wicks
The Rev.        Erin Fitzgerald
The Rev.        David Huseltine
The Rev.        Melanie Carey
The Rev.        Joel Fitzgerald
The Rev.        Mark Thompson
The Rev.        John E. Harnish
The Rev.        Amy Mayo-Moyle
The Rev.        Laura Speiran
The Rev.        Barry Petrucci
The Rev.        Paul Perez
The Rev.        Jon Reynolds
The Rev.        Carl Gladstone