I'm going to steal Kelli's pulpit for a quick post. I'm in the North Central Jurisdiction, and as people who are in the Facebook RMN group know, I watched our episcopal elections with great interest. For most of the 22 votes (not a record, but a lot) there was a clear struggle to make a statement about homosexuality and the United Methodist Church. Two candidates pulled away from the pack, one on the board of directors of the "Confessing Movement" (our anti-gay faction) and the other the pastor of a Reconciling Congregation.
After awhile, the eventual elected bishop, Dr. Julius Trimble, an apparent centrist, started rising and overtook both until they each withdrew their nominations. (Good news: the Confessing pastor went down before the Reconciling one.)
I was sure Dr. Trimble was a good candidate and would be a good bishop, but still, I was angry at someone losing because his church's doors were open to all
Until today. Just a while ago, an entry from the RMN blog came across the wire. Here's a link to the whole thing
, but the part excerpted below made me cry* at work.
I told Rev. Dr. Trimble a bit of my story – that I am a gay man and lifelong United Methodist. That I have LGBTQ friends who feel barred from the Church. What will he do as a Bishop for the LGBTQ folks already in the Church and those who stand outside? A colleague of mine asked the even better follow-up question of “What have you already done in your ministries for queer folks?”
Rev. Dr. Trimble provided great answers, but I was more touched by the response of him and his wife, Racelder Grandberry, at the end of the discourse. Both Trimbles came to me, laid their hands on me, affirmed that I was a beloved child of God, called me courageous, thanked me for my question, thanked me for keeping the faith and staying in the Church despite its shortcomings, prayed that I would continue telling my story, and prayed for the day when the United Methodist Church truly becomes inclusive of all people.
Maybe, just maybe, this is another baby step in our 40th year around the mountain.
* Literally, and it's not easy to get me to cry (unless you pull a nose hair).