September 17, 2013
Bishop Mark Webb
Upper New York Annual Conference
324 University Ave., Third Floor
Syracuse, NY 13210
Dear Bishop Webb,
I support Rev. Steven Heiss and any other United Methodist Pastor who wants to perform a same sex marriage. I am a former Catholic and a Methodist since 2007.
I first came to First United Methodist Church in Schenectady, NY for Neighborhood Watch meetings. Pastor Steve Clunn would join us at these meetings. I got to know Pastor Steve through the Neighborhood Watch. I decided to attend FUMC Schenectady one Sunday after some encouragement from one of my friends from Neighborhood Watch. The congregation was so welcoming to me. This was different than the experiences that I had at the Catholic Church that I attended as a child. I actually started attending every Sunday. I wanted to go to church.
The same year that I joined FUMC Schenectady, I met my now wife. She is a lifelong Methodist. We were married at her childhood church by both of our pastors, not because we couldn’t decide which one to use, but because we wanted both of them to be a part of our wedding. I am glad we were able to be married in a church. To us, it means a lot more to be married in a place of worship than in a reception hall or outside by a Justice of the Peace. When a wedding takes place in a church, there is a connection to something bigger and greater than all of us. That something is God. Doesn’t every couple deserve to have God as the center of their marriage?
I believe that any good marriage is based on a mutual love of God. The community of a congregation that encourages a couple is also of utmost importance. Do we really want to deny same sex couples of this relationship like the Catholics do? I left the Catholic Church because of the discrimination that I would see. It bothered me that priests couldn’t marry. I was uncomfortable with the fact that the women of the church could never become a priest and could only be a nun. Now I am seeing more and more that the Methodists are discriminating. I thought that “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors” meant everyone was allowed, not everyone is allowed but if you are gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered, you aren’t allowed. How is that welcoming? I would hate to be treated like that by a church that I looked to for spiritual growth and to bring me closer in my relationship to God.
How can we call ourselves Christians when we treat people like this?