Friday, September 27, 2013

letter 95

September 26, 2013

Bishop Mark Webb
Upper New York Conference
United Methodist Church
324 University Ave., 3rd Floor
Syracuse, NY 13210

Dear Bishop Webb:

I am praying daily that God leads you to make the right decision to not pursue a trial against Steve Heiss.  Steve is not standing alone in rejecting the United Methodist Discipline’s uninclusive language against LGBT people.  A special opportunity has been presented to you – to join the Bishops who have vowed to continue their ministry as if that language was not included in the Discipline.

I was heartened when you handed our new District Superintendent the shepherd’s crook and recited Jesus’ words to Peter “Feed my sheep”.  Did Jesus mean some sheep or all sheep?  And think of all the sheep that could be physically fed with the money that a trial costs the Church!  Tabernacle United Methodist Church feeds 100 -120 people every week, with money contributed and fundraised for that purpose.  From all accounts, a trial costs upwards of a quarter of a million dollars.  That money could feed a lot of people!

I wonder where the money to conduct a trial comes from?  Is it from our conference’s ministry shares, or is there a national fund?  Either way, I believe that that hard-earned money was contributed to the Church in good faith that it would be used judiciously, with justice and love always prevailing. 

A lot of time and effort has been spent on this issue in our community in recent months, since the State legalized same-sex marriage, yet the church continued its prohibition (who would have thought the State would lead the way in Justice?). Honestly Bishop Webb, I’m sick of thinking about it.  I want my thoughts and actions to reflect the love that Jesus has shown for us, in some more constructive way.  I want equal love for our LGBT brothers and sisters to be a given, something that the UMC has done their apology and repentance for, and moved on. 

My prayers are with you.


Fiona Cleugh

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