Wednesday, September 18, 2013

letter 57

September 13, 2013

Bishop Mark Webb
Upper New York Annual Conference
324 University Ave., Third Floor
Syracuse, NY 13210

Dear Bishop Webb,

As a member of Broad Street United Methodist Church of Norwich, I feel compelled to write to you.  You don't know me.  I will probably never meet you.  I have seen you: I have heard you.  I was in Syracuse on August 1st at the University United Methodist Church.  I was there to support Steve Heiss and I was there to pray for everyone to hear what was said that day with open minds and open hearts.  I prayed in gratitude for Steve and his courage to bring the "gay issue" to the forefront. 

How long can we as United Methodists turn our backs on our brothers and sisters? Steve is an amazing pastor, an amazing man.  He is also an amazing father.  How could, or would Steve turn his daughter away when she asked him to marry her and her partner?  My husband and I have been blessed with two wonderful daughters.  They were raised in our church.  If either was gay and wanted to be married in the church where they were baptized, confirmed and loved so much, and they were told, "No, I'm sorry, the church can't marry you because of your sexual orientation." What would that do to you as a parent to see your child turned away from the church?  It puts a new meaning to "closed doors".   Would Jesus say,   “I’m sorry my child you are not worthy because you are gay"? That's exactly what we as a church are saying.  We are all brothers and sisters.  How can we hurt each other like that? 
I am asking you as a Bishop, to please have the courage to do your part to change what is so wrong. Let us truly be an open church.  Steve said  "The Parable of the Kingdom of God as a wedding banquet has been an event in real time for hundreds of gay couples across our state.  Finally like the guest list in Jesus’ parable, those on the outside are invited to the inside of God's grace.  THEY MUST COME. WE MUST COME.!!!
My prayers continue.

Linda Gregory

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