Methodist Church begins mass consultation on gay marriage – Telegraph

The Methodist Church in the UK is to conduct a consultation of its members on whether to respond to the introduction next year of marriage equality, with approval for same – sex weddings in its churches.

The Methodist church could become the first major Christian denomination in Britain to conduct same-sex weddings after launching a consultation of its members about changing its official teaching.

Members of more than 5,000 congregations across mainland Britain are being asked to take part in a mass listening exercise which involves questions on changing the definition of marriage.

Churchgoers have until February to air their views before the findings are put before Methodist Conference, the church’s decision making body.

Under the terms of the Same-Sex Marriage Act, which comes into force next year, religious groups can perform gay marriage ceremonies if they actively opt-in as a group.

Although a handful of small Christian groups including the Quakers and Unitarians have made clear that they will conduct the weddings the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches are opposed.

– Telegraph.

The Church of England has just published the recommendations of its investigations, which resulted in the recommendation that ministers should be permitted (but not compelled) to conduct church blessings. The Church of Ireland is currently engaged in its own investigation. The global Catholic Church is preparing to conduct an Extraordinary Syynod on Marriage and Family, preceded by its own worldwide consultation. In the US, decisions by the ECLA and PCUSA to permit ordination of openly gay and lesbian clergy came after their own processes of extensive listening, study and consultation. Whatever the ultimate recommendations of the processes by the Methodists and Church of Ireland, one positive outcome is guaranteed: a greater understanding by all, of the issues involved.

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Equal Marriage Opponent Gives Christians Credit for ‘Same Sex-Marriage Tsunami’

He doesn’t call it credit, but “blame” – but considering whence it comes, that counts as credit in my eyes. A prominent opponent of marriage equality is “blaming” Christian support for what he describes (accurately) as a same – sex marriage “tsunami”. Peter LaBarbera

The president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality made some shocking claims this week about practicing Christians who have decided to embrace lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals: you’re doing the work of the devil. Appearing on “Crosstalk” yesterday for a show titled “Same-Sex Marriage Tsunami,” Peter LaBarbera informed host Vic Eliason that Christians embracing LGBT-identifying individuals are engaged in an “insidious lie… straight from Satan’s talking points.” Eliason also chimed in with an interesting perspective about the Internet slang “OMG,” telling listeners that using the phrase is not only a curse against God but contributing to the corruption of American youth.

via Huffington Post .

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Women Bishops for Wales

The Church of England has still not resolved the difficult issue of approving women bishops while still satisfying the die – hards resisting reform. However, the Church in Wales has led the way, in approving, by convincing margins, the ordination of women bishops. I doing so, they, resisted strong pressure to make special provision for the minority who had been trying to hold the church to ransom.


Church in Wales backs women bishops Continue reading

Pro-Gay Christians “Breaking Out”!

At Religion Dispatches, Peter Montgomery reports on two recent developments, that demonstrate how some Christians are “Breaking out”  – that is, breaking from the more customary religious hostility, and coming out publicly in support of LGBT inclusion and equality.

In the first, he discusses the incident in Australia, where PM Kevin Rudd, challenged by a Christian pastor over his support for equal marriage, defended his stance on Christian principles.

As someone has noted in the comments thread,

If you get a chance to see the video, check it out. The smug look on the pastor’s face quickly changes to one of deer-caught-in-the-headlights terror as he realizes he’s been bested.

So – here’s your chance to watch it, right here (followed by the introduction to Montgomery;s reflection):

Continue reading

Archbishop of Canterbury: ignoring views on gay marriage is ‘foolish’

The Church of England needs to acknowledge the revolution in attitudes to sexuality, the Archbishop of Canterbury said as he warned ignoring issues like gay marriage would be “foolish”.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby said there had been a “revolution” in attitudes to homosexuality and the economy, particularly among young people.

Speaking to more than 6,000 people at a conference, Archbishop Welby said the passing of the Same Sex Marriage Act had been “crushing” for the church, but was something it needed to listen and respond to.

“I spoke against it and voted against it but I listened and I heard the roar of revolution,” said the Archbishop, as he described listening to the debate on The Same Sex Marriage Act.

“It came not merely from those one would expect but from every side of the house, Conservatives, Liberals and Labour, of every age and sex.

“Those of us against the act were utterly crushed in the voting again, and again, and again.

“There were more people who turned out to vote than the House of Lords than experienced in World War Two.

“But, let me be equally clear, an overwhelming change which effects the opinions of the majority of people, especially our young people, is a revolution we must pay attention too. 

full report at Telegraph.

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Disciples of Christ Church Welcomes LGBT Members

One by  one, Christian denominations, and selected leaders of others, are recognising that Inclusion and welcome for all is at the heart of the Gospel message. The Disciples of Christ is the latest to have done so, formally resolving that “all Christians regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity”.  Would that more denominations could see this (they will, but its taking time.) Instead, too many continue to spouting blatant prejudice under the cloak of religion : “Christianism”, where they should be preaching and practicing Christianity.

Disciples of Christ Church formally recognizes gay members in its congregation

The Disciples of Christ denomination voted to formally recognize and welcome LGBTQ members of its congregation in worship after a general assembly meeting in Orlando, Fla. this week.

Resolution GA-1327, “Becoming a People of Grace and Welcome to All,” was overwhelmingly accepted by members of the general assembly on Tuesday, meeting attendees said. It states that “the General Assembly calls upon the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to affirm the faith, baptism and spiritual gifts of all Christians regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that neither is grounds for exclusion from fellowship or service within the church, but we celebrate that all are part of God’s good creation.”

The resolution was 16 years in the making, after a general assembly meeting in 1997 included dialogue about encouraging the church to “give continuing research and reflection ‘concerning the participation of gay and lesbian persons in the full life and ministry of the Church.’”

 – full report at  TCU 360.

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Reclaiming Christianity from the Religious Right

There have been several recent reports of a petition to CNN, demanding that it no longer give Family Research Council chief Tony Perkins the credibility of exposure on its air time for his anti-gay views. What I did not originally appreciate, is that this petition did not originate from an LGBT group, or from marriage equality activists – but from a group of Christians, angry that people like Perkins, who misrepresent their prejudices as based on Christian obligation, are giving Christianity a bad name.

Christian Group Obtains 33K+ Signatures Asking CNN To Stop Hosting ‘Anti-Gay’ Tony Perkins

A Christian group has obtained more than 33,000 signatures for a petition demanding that CNN cease putting Family Research Council chief Tony Perkins on its airwaves with his “anti-gay” views.

The group, Faithful America, describes itself as a “community dedicated to reclaiming Christianity from the religious right,” refusing to “sit by quietly while Jesus’ message of good news is hijacked to serve a hateful political agenda.” As such, one of their causes is to put an end to the cable news outlet’s use of Perkins as a “voice for Christian causes.”

“Even as church bells rang out to celebrate a victory for equality,” the petition reads, “CNN once again turned to a hate-group leader to speak on behalf of America’s Christians. Tony Perkins doesn’t speak for us, and CNN needs to stop giving him a platform to spread anti-gay hate.”

The group laments that “CNN host Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Perkins’ lies” in a segment about the Supreme Court’s overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act. “[N]or did [Blitzer’s] segment feature any Christian leaders with a different point of view — despite polls showing that a majority of Christians actually oppose [DOMA].”

The plea concludes: “With America moving decisively towards full equality, it’s time for CNN to stop portraying Christians as voices of anti-gay hate.”

Originally the petition sought 15,000 signatures, but it has more than doubled that amount, garnering more than 33,600 signers since its posting nearly three weeks ago. Though CNN’s use of Perkins has led to this particular petition, the FRC head has also appeared on Fox News and MSNBC in the past.

No word on whether CNN will respond to the petition’s specific request.

via  Mediaite.

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Church of England postpones internal debate on allowing civil partnership ceremonies

Discussions to allow civil partnership ceremonies in Anglican churches appear to have been dropped – at least for the time being.

The Telegraph reports Church of England officials have quietly shelved a debate on the issue ahead of a five-day meeting of the Synod in York on Friday.

Equality campaigners believe the postponement reflects an “appalling” reluctance by some in the Church hierarchy to openly debate the issue of same-sex relationships.

But others believe it could reflect a behind the scenes shift at the top of the Church of England which they are convinced could open the way for an historic change in its approach to same-sex relationships by the end of this year.

Last month the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu – a leading equal marriage critic – pointed out that the Church offers blessings for sheep and even trees but not committed same-sex couples, something he said would have to be addressed.

-continue reading at

Washington DC Church Bells Peal for SCOTUS Marriage Decisions

Today at noon the bells of many churches in Washington DC, including the National Cathedral and New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, pealed in celebration of today’s same gender marriage decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court.

It is a historic day for LGBTQ people. “I rejoice in the knowledge that the justices have reached a decision that makes our union—indeed all our unions—more perfect and certainly more equal,” writes The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral.

“We, the members and congregations of More Light Presbyterians, celebrate today with all those whose legal  marriages will finally be recognized by the federal government, and we rejoice with millions of Californians who now have civil marriage equality returned to them. We are mindful that the same Supreme Court eviscerated the Voting Rights Act yesterday, and that that injustice must be corrected by Congress at the earliest possible moment. We will also continue to work for change in the PC(USA) to remove the restrictions on sessions and clergy to host and officiate at Christian weddings of same gender couples.

With the addition of California, there are now 13 states and the District of Columbia with legal same gender marriage recognized federally. This means that there are 4,542 Teaching Elders (clergy) in 46 presbyteries who are put in the untenable situation of trying to obey a muddled mishmash of Permanent Judicial Commission rulings, or truly be pastors to the same gender couples among them. These numbers will only continue to rise as we move toward the 221st General Assembly of the PC(USA) in Detroit a year from now. The GAPJC has called on the church to answer this problem. We will continue to work to help the church move toward full justice for LGBTQ people.”

~Patrick Evans, Interim Executive Director of More Light Presbyterians

via More Light Presbyterians.

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400 Mormons March in Solidarity at Utah Pride Parade

For the second successive year, grassroots group Mormons Building Bridges marched in the Salt Lake City Gay Pride parade, making a symbolic show of support from the religious community along with marchers from Unitarian and Episcopalian denominations.

Pride Parade Mormons

The Rt. Rev. Scott Hayashi, who was bishop of All Saints Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City and Park City’s St. Luke’s, joined in — the first time an Episcopal bishop has taken part in the parade, according to Lee Shaw, a member of the Episcopalian fold.About 400 people from Mormons Building Bridges faced the 80-degree sunshine to march behind a loud Ska band playing on the Downtown Farmers Market float. For about 90 minutes, the parade meandered up 400 East and took a left onto 200 South for six blocks before ending at West Temple.Marching under a banner reading Family Reunion, organizer and founder Erika Munson said the group and others have helped change attitudes in the past year: Bishops no longer excommunicate members who come out, and the Boy Scouts now allow openly gay scouts to participate.The Mormon group drew some of the loudest applause when they passed with signs reading “Love 1 Another,” “LDS heart LGBT” and “God loves all his children.”

The-  Salt Lake Tribune.