We Need a Moratorium
Author: Rev. Dr. Mark Holland, Executive Director, Mainstream UMC
The anti-gay coalition in the UMC celebrated another big win this week as queer clergy member, Rev. Anna Blaedel was removed from ministry in Iowa. This is exactly the outcome envisioned by the architects of a generation-long plan to forcibly remove LGBTQ clergy and their allies. This is the endgame of the Traditional Plan that begins January 1, only in the United States. This will continue without a moratorium.
It is important that we acknowledge the leaders who have worked for years behind the scenes for the anti-gay coalition. First among the activists is Rev. Rob Renfroe, President of Good News Magazine. He boasted that Africa would vote “unanimously” with him at the 2019 General Conference to force out gay clergy through the Traditional Plan. He delivered 90% of African delegates. Rev. Tom Lambrecht also works for Good News. He is the co-author of the 2004 plan calling for “forced departure” where he promised, “tightening the requirements regarding homosexuality” would help those harmed to “leave the denomination.” The plan is working as intended.
Another architect is Rev. Keith Boyette, the President of the Wesleyan Covenant Association. He was successful as a member of the 2005 Judicial Council in keeping a gay man from joining a colleague’s church. This is the kind of new denomination he is working to build as the WCA plans its departure. Closest to the current ouster is Mark Tooley, President of the Institute for Religion and Democracy. This pan-denominational group has worked diligently on an anti-gay agenda in many churches. It was his employee, John Lomperis who stalked Rev. Blaedel on the internet and, having never met, filed the damning complaint—from another annual conference. We can expect more of this behavior after January 1 when the Traditional Plan takes full effect.
Remember, the Traditional Plan only takes effect in the United States on January 1, 2020. It is delayed a full year outside the US. Only the US church suffers prior to our next General Conference. And despite this incongruity, these same “Traditional” powerbrokers refuse to call for a moratorium of their own members filing complaints. This is the same group that claims to want an “amicable” separation so they can form their new denomination. But they cannot help themselves from harming others in the meantime. More harm is simply more leverage for negotiations.
In light of this on-going harm, Mainstream UMC is renewing our call for a moratorium. The global Council of Bishops chose not to act, but now it falls to the Bishops in the US Jurisdictions to step up and call for a moratorium like the Bishops in the Western Jurisdiction have. All we are asking is for a reprieve until the General Conference in May of 2020. This is the same reprieve the rest of the global church has! Why is the US church the only ones who must suffer the Traditional Plan prior to General Conference 2020? Bishops, lift up your voice! Change is only seven months away. The US Bishops must stop being instruments of the anti-gay coalition’s harm.
How many more pastors will be evicted before May 2020?
Mainstream UMC is re-opening our letter calling on the Bishops to call for a church-wide moratorium on harmful complaints, charges, and trials. More than 8,100 people signed the initial letter. But the message has not yet been heard. We must keep the pressure on calling for the moratorium until our Bishops take action. Please take these four actions:
Please Note: If you have previously signed the letter, you do not need to sign it again. But please call or email your Bishop again. The message has not been heard!
- If you have not previously done so, please click here to read and sign this letter to the bishops: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/UMC_Moratorium3
- Please forward this email to everyone in your congregation and on your United Methodist contact list. We have only a few weeks before the Traditional Plan takes effect in the United States! Our strength is in our numbers.
- Please call or email your bishop today at your annual conference office asking him or her to please support this moratorium. If you are not sure how to contact your bishop, click here http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/annual-conferences-directory. This will link you to your annual conference website where you can find your bishop’s phone number and email.
- Please ask your congregation to pray for a moratorium during worship.
Thank you! Together we can stop the harm the judicial process inflicts on our LGBTQ clergy and allies and find an amicable path forward for the church.
Please help support the ongoing advocacy work of Mainstream UMC. We need your help to continue to move the church in a more graceful direction. You can contribute here: https://mainstreamumc.com/donate/ Thank you.
Read Article about Rev. Anna Blaedel’s unjust, “Just Resolution:” https://www.iaumc.org/newsdetail/just-resolution-achieved-church-trial-avoided-13018699
Read Rev. Blaedel’s profound response to the “Just Resolution:” http://iaumc-email.brtapp.com/files/communications/just+resolution/resolution+statement+-+rev.+anna+blaedel+11.12.19.pdf
Read Rob Renfroe’s 2018 prediction of African support for his political position: https://goodnewsmag.org/2018/07/failure-of-leadership/
Read about Tom Lambrecht’s “Forced Departure” document: http://hackingchristianity.net/2019/02/the-betrayal-of-good-news-how-a-2004-blueprint-created-the-gc2019-endgame.html
Read Rev. Keith Boyette’s Judicial Council Decision 1032 where he supports a colleague banning a gay man from membership in the local church. http://www.umc.org/decisions/41942
Read Rev. Keith Boyette’s article about the changes to the Discipline coming January 1 with the Traditional Plan: https://wesleyancovenant.org/2019/03/11/overview-of-legislation-adopted-by-the-special-general-conference/
Read an article about the letter of support from Indiana United Methodists to Rev. Blaedel, condemning the actions of John Lomperis: https://um-insight.net/in-the-church/ordained-ministry/hoosiers-support-iowa-pastor-facing-trial/
Read about how the Traditional Plan takes effect outside the US on January 1, 2021. http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/ask-the-umc-what-did-the-judicial-council-decide-about-the-traditional-plan
Read the statement by the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops promising no trials for LGBTQ clergy or clergy performing same-gender weddings: http://westernjurisdictionumc.org/safe-harbor-declaration/
If any of the above links do not work, please copy and paste them directly into your browser. Thank you.