Saturday, October 19, 2002
The Golden Hill United Methodist Church, Bridgeport, CT took one more step forward last night for human decency and respect.
The Church Conference, supreme legislative body of a local United Methodist Church, unanimously approved "A Covenant of Openness and Affirmation." The covenant says in part:
"We affirm each individual as a child of God and celebrate the uniqueness of each person including his or her race/ethnicity, culture, economic reality, gender, age, physical/mental ability, gender identity and sexual orientation. We commit ourselves to work towards ending ignorance, fear, hatred, prejudice and discrimination against people considered to be different, including our lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender sisters and brothers."
This action follows four years of study and reflection. Golden Hill used United Methodist-approved curriculum, "The Church Studies Homosexuality" in three separate study sessions with its congregation. At the invitation of New York Area Bishop Ernest S. Lyght, they participated with 23 other churches in discussing these study experiences. Golden Hill subsequently offered a Bible study, a congregational survey, a forum with leaders of open congregations, and a series of "Talk It Over" conversations within the church to develop consensus.
The church's pastor, the Rev. Dr. Brian Schofield-Bodt, observed, "Our denomination's media slogan now is 'Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors.' We see this statement as an important declaration that we are truly open to all people. It is one more way of describing our racially and culturally diverse congregation. By specifically saying we are open to all regardless of sexual orientation, we are confronting what some have called, 'the last socially acceptable prejudice.'"
For further information, please contact:
The Rev. Dr. Brian Schofield-Bodt, Pastor or
Ms. Melodye Merola, Director of Outreach Ministry