September 23, 2013
Bishop Mark Webb
324 University Avenue 3rd Floor
Syracuse, NY 13210
Dear Bishop Webb:
I have been a Methodist all of my life, 73 years. As I grew up I never thought much about sexual orientation. About 25 years ago our congregation began studying the relation between bible and sexual orientation. This led to our becoming a reconciling congregation in 1989. That study, my increasing awareness that there is hardly any reference to sexual orientation in the bible, and my being able to personally interact with a large number of individuals of different orientations, helped to me realize that this should not be an issue for either me or the church. While belonging to a reconciling congregation, I have seen their major contributions to our church and community, and I have seen the importance to their lives that comes from being accepted for the persons that they are. Currently, I do not think about sexual orientation until a situation such as the current mistreatment of Steve Heiss arises.
To me it is clear that the bible can be used to support just about any position on most topics, if one carefully picks the portions which support his or her previous beliefs and prejudices without considering the needs of others.
I do not know Steve Heiss, but I fully support him, and all of the other pastors who risking their careers in a way which aligns them closely with Jesus’ teachings while their critics waste time and energy over a non-issue.
Recently, I sometimes have questions about continuing my membership in an organization which supports discriminatory practices. At this time I stay because as part of a reconciling congregation I am supporting those who need support and encouragement during this transitional period.
Please consider dismissing these charges, thus saving both time, money, and energy for the real issues and events in our lives, and helping to permit many talented people to fully participate in our churches.