July 17, 2013
The Reverend Bishop Mark J. Webb
United Methodist Churches
324 University Ave. 3rd Floor
Syracuse, NY 13210-1811
RE: Support of Pastor Stephen Heiss
Dear Bishop Webb;
My husband and myself are members of Tabernacle United Methodist Church in Binghamton, NY, where as you know, Steve Heiss leads us. As so many of our nation’s families do, for many years we let our hectic lives take us away from sharing in Tab’s Sunday worship. After our boys went to college and moved from our home and into their own, we were ready to resume sharing in Tab’s services, but did not know how to go about it. It can be awkward for an introvert like me to “reappear” after an extended absence. Then the Tab newsletter came informing the entire congregation of the upcoming vote to become a reconciling congregation. Our firm believes that ALL individuals are God’s children and are welcome to share in fellowship with God, BROUGHT US BACK TO TAB.
The United Methodist Church is slow to change, always has been. Remember when slavery was not a sin, but an “economic reality” in the Church’s belief? The UMC was wrong then, and it is wrong now. Gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, and transgenders are God’s children, just as much as any heterosexual is. They deserve the same rights as the rest of us, and that includes marriage. Marriage is a commitment between two people and God, and if God has a problem with a gay or lesbian couple, that is between God and them. Jesus died for our sins. Believer’s sins are forgiven, forgiven by God. It is not our place to judge. Jesus took that burden away from us when he died on the cross. If God can forgive a repented mass murderer, I have no doubt loving homosexual couples would be forgiven, if homosexuality is a sin, which I believe it is NOT.
In short, the Bible, written by numerous people after the fact, is both conflicting and comforting. No one knows definitely what God’s view on homosexuality is. We can only speculate. But we do know that Jesus taught us to love, not to judge, and to welcome all those who want God in their lives.
Steve Heiss should not be punished for performing same sex marriages. I suspect that decades from now, Steve will be remembered as a crusader in the UMC. “Open minds. Open hearts. Open doors.” Is that not what the Upper New York District of the United Methodist Church newsletter proclaims?
In God’s Love for All!
Kellie K. Boyer