laity united methodist

guest post: why i signed the open laity letter

We have heard Jesus say – to all persons without exception – “follow me.” Yet the Commission on Homosexuality says otherwise. When the numbers came out of the representation of the Commission on Homosexuality, I was absolutely horrified knowing that the 3 categories I represent were disproportionally unrepresented (laity, young people, and LGBTQIA people).

Laity are the building blocks and the glue that stick the church together. Laity are the ones you see helping on Sunday morning at church with everything from coffee hour, being a greeter and usher and, speaking the litany and scripture during the service. Yet, that’s not all laity do; they also help with service projects both near and far. Laity like us have been at the disaster sites of Hurricane Matthew from the start and will be the last people to leave. Laity are ordinary people doing extraordinary things both inside and outside church walls.

Time and time again I hear that the young people are the future of the church. Well I hate to burst your bubble we (as a young person of the church) are the now of the church. If we aren’t involved now in the church, or don’t feel like we have a place in the church because we are looked down upon for being young we aren’t going to stay in the church. This quote from the 2008 GC Proclamation says what I have seen with my peers “The young notice. They notice the church denying, refusing, threatening, removing, closeting the lgbtq people who faithfully serve the church.” The young notice their peers and friends leaving the church because of lack of acceptance of their queer siblings and because of the failure to recognize the young people as the now of the church instead of being just thought about the future of the church.

Queer people are in our churches and have been from in them from the beginning whether you realized it or not. At General Conference this year a list of called out clergy was released by Reconciling Ministries of 111 clergy, and candidates for ordained ministry the list is now up to 141 clergy. As a queer person myself (I identify as non-binary and use they/them/their pronouns) I know we have people willing and wanting to be on the commission of homosexuality which in reality is really a committee on debating the human worth of the LGBTIA community both inside and outside the church. Yet, queer people need to be on the commission in order to show people on all theological spectrums that we want to be in this church and we need the church just as much as you, and we can create a common good together.

The United Methodist baptismal liturgy calls all of us to accept the freedom and power God gives us to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves. It is our duty – our baptismal covenant – to stand against the sin of the church, to stand for God’s freedom and power, to affirm God’s entire body of Christ that is the church.

2008 GC Proclamation by Audrey Krumbach and Rev. David Meredith

By signing this letter for an equal representation of laity on the commission of homosexuality you are just doing that. Will you join those who have signed and create a powerful impact by saying we are laity and we are here and we are not giving up our position in our United Methodist Church? Click here, sign, and join us.

About Reclaiming’s first guest bloggerAaron Pazan resides in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, where they are highly involved in the Conference and Episcopal Area. They are a senior at Central Washington University majoring in recreation management and minoring in religious studies. In their free time they enjoy hanging out with friends, running, writing, photography, and reading about the emergent church.

Photo is from izquotes.com.

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