An Open Letter to the UMC Council of Bishops

Sunday April 29, 2018

Dear Bishops,

          We greet you in the name of the risen Christ, as you celebrate Eastertide and prepare to gather in
Chicago. We appreciate that the journey to Chicago has been long, particularly for our Bishops
who travelled intercontinentally. We recognize that, for you as Bishops, such travel is just a
small part of the significant demands made upon you. For this, and for all you do for our beloved
church, we thank you.

We are in prayer for you as you gather, as we have been in prayer for you throughout the
Commission process. Since 2016, we have been filled with a new hope. In responding to the call
of the General Conference, you have opened a space that may yet breathe life anew into our
mission and ministry. May we all respond to your steadfast work by answering the call in Acts 2
to dream dreams and see visions of a new church; a church that is indeed going on to perfection.
Yet even as you would lead us into new ways of being, we witness the power of the temptation
pulling us back to our old habits of dis-ease. We see the church trials at every level in the
denomination detracting us from engaging in ministry with the poor, improving global health,
developing principled Christian leaders, and creating new and renewed congregations. In this
time when the church (and our planet) must become more conscious of sustainability, these trials
sap our denominational resources and attention.

In order to move forward in the misson of the church, we believe that the harmful language in
the Book of Discipline about LGBTQ identity and marriage must be removed. Though it is clear
that United Methodists are not of one mind regarding many issues, including human sexuality,
we have faith that we can find a way to live as one body. While removing the harmful language
in the Book of Discipline is an important step, it is only a step. In our hearts, we still long for the
day when the body of the church mirrors the Body of Christ, and is fully inclusive and affirming
of all God’s children.

The risen Christ alone gives us hope for that new reality. Empowered by faith, we have remained
in this United Methodist Church, even when it has been at great risk to our own well-being. We
have remained, because we have been called to serve, and because we yet trust in our
denomination’s ability to “do good” and “attend upon the ordinances of God.” We will continue
to remain as servant leaders, with God’s help.

We have chosen to come out as a caucus because we have been called to witness to how we have
experienced Christ in our lives. Some of our members will be on hand as you meet in Chicago.
We will be there not to disrupt your proceedings, but simply to pray with and for you, as well as
to be available for conversation. We would look forward to breaking bread with you not only at
the communion table, but also at the breakfast, lunch, and dinner tables, if you are moved to hear
our stories of ministry. We invite you to contact us through either of our co-conveners, Rev. Lois
McCullen Parr or Rev. Alex da Silva Souto. No single one of us can represent the many stories
of LGBTQ Christians, but each of us has experienced joy and harm while serving within The
United Methodist Church, and each of us is eager to be useful to you in your discernment and

Again, thank you for your service and leadership, dear Bishops. May the risen Christ continue to
bless, keep, and guide you.

Grace and peace,

The Faithful Servants of the United Methodist Queer Clergy Caucus