Monday, September 16, 2013

letter 38

September 15, 2013

Bishop Mark Webb
324 University Avenue
3rd Floor
Syracuse, NY  13210
Dear Bishop Webb,
I am a member of Vestal United Methodist Church. Recently, Pastor Daniel Ling told us that we should celebrate our spiritual bithday, as well as our temporal birthday.I found my confirmation certificate. My spiritual birthday is June 12, 1960; when I was confirmed at Community Methodist Church in Jackson Heights, New York. Finding this out has had more significance for me, than I thought it would. It has caused me to consider what my responsibility is, in seeing my committment to my faith grow for the next 50 years. As a Methodist (and by extension a rebel), I have decided to discuss the doctrinal flap over Steven Heiss performing marriages between same-sex couples.
Reverend Heiss has done a remarkable thing. He has caused each of us to look at our own prejudices. He has followed his conscience and has gotten into a world of trouble. He has made us as a group, consider that our position is on the wrong side of the issue of the Methodist Church excluding some folks from its sacraments. Steven Heiss has lanced a boil that has needed attention for some time.
I know little about church doctrine. My relationship with my Lord comes from my heart. My heart tells me that we must face this issue about our rules, head-on. We must decide if we are an inclusive church or not. If we are not, we better tell folks right away.
I pray. Lately a lot. I am praying that we will embrace Steve and thank him for his bravery. I pray that we will grow-up as a group and face this constant source of animus. I pray that I may be alive to see the day when my chosen church, advocates for all and takes strong positions against all forms of oppression.I pray for you to have the courage to shepherd us through this.
Janet Kent R.N.

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