L.G.B.T.Q ISSUE AND THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

I am posting the notes I used during a study and discussion on the issue of LGBTQI at local chapter of the Women’s Society of Christian Service, First United Methodist Church, Davao City.

L.G.B.T.Q  ISSUE  AND THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

 

Definition of Words:

Homosexuality Sexual preference for and sexual behavior between members of the same sex.

Lesbian– Refers to a homosexual woman. (Lesbianism- sexual orientation of  women to other women.

Gay-(n) – a homosexual man. Refers to a man who has sexual preference for and sexual

behavior to other men.

Bisexual- Relating to or having a sexual orientation to persons of either sex.

Transgender– refers to a persons who through surgery or medicine has changed  his/her gender  identity. Anyone who acts or live the life of an opposite sex, Example: a man who pretends to be a woman, dress like a woman, acts like a woman thus many people in the community  may think he is a really a woman.

Queer – Deviating from the normal; Used as a disparaging term for a gay or homosexual person.

The issue of L.G.B.T. had always been a subject of discussion and concern during the last two decades of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church. In the two General Conference that I attended in St. Louis Missouri and Pittsburgh PN, the gay caucus had been very active promoting favorable  perspective on LGBT. In fact they are one of the very hospitable groups helping first time delegates to the conference.

During the recent last two General Conferences they gay caucus group demonstrated at the session of the General Conference to the extent of disturbing the session, and in one Genera Conference the police presence had to be called to restore order.

The votes on homosexual petitions at the General Conference had been increasing. It was my observation that the votes against any petition on homosexual issues comes from the Central Conference, particularly from Africa and the Philippines.

The 2016 General Conference in Portland Oregon will be decisive on the issue of LGBT. The USA Supreme Court decision of allowing same sex marriage in the US may draw more votes from the US Jurisdictions delegations that may change The United Methodist beliefs and practices on homosexuality.

It is fitting that pastors and members should study this issue on homosexuality. Let us study our present church stand and why do we believe it. On the other let us also discuss and study the perspective of those promoting LGBT concerns.

Let me share some perspective and belief of those in favor of the practice of LGBT.

                      Perspectives of some LGBT groups on this Issue

The scripture lessons that are mentioned prohibiting the practice of LGBT are time bound. This means that they are only effective and true for a specific time of our history. There are scripture lesson that are timeless, which they are applicable for all time.    (UMC Bishop and Filipino Biblical Scholar)

The greatest commandment of God is love: love God and love your neighbor. Thus this means that our relationship, faith and community, love should prevail in our life and in all circumstance.

When love becomes the reason for our life and action than it is right.    (Love prevails.group)

In the USA right all the rights and privileges given to a married couple of man and a woman is also given to a same sex marriage persons, such as:

  1. Inheritance
  2. Insurance
  3. Conjugal property
  4. Pension
  1. Taxes privileges
  2. Privilege to adopt children

There were practices in the community of the early church which have been observed strictly but now found to be discrimination to some early believers, such as:

     Discrimination against Women in church

“The women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak. Rather, let them be in submission, as in fact the law says. If they want to find out about something, they should ask their husbands at home, because it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in church.”  I Cor. 14:34-35

     Slavery

“Slaves obey you human masters with fear and trembling.”                      Eph. 6:5

“Blessed is that slave whom the master finds at work when he comes.”   Mtt. 24:46

“If you were a slave when you were called, don’t let it bother you.”       I Cor7:21

Now time had changed these church practices which have been sanctioned by the Holy Scriptures. The United Methodist had been one of the first denominations who have who decided to permit women to be ordained clergy and consecrated as bishops.

The same is true with slavery, time had changed the church perspective saying, “all persons were created free!”

The changes of these two early church practices took time, and also created splits and turmoil in our Methodist churches. As our Biblical scholars say, “these practices were time bound, it had to go.”

Countries Practicing Same-Sex Marriage.

The Netherlands =  In 2001, the Dutch parliament legalized same-sex marriage. The parliament also gave same-sex couples the right to adopt and divorce.

Belgium =  In 2003, Belgium’s parliament gave same-sex couples full marriage rights, including  tax and  inheritance.

Canada =  In 2005, Canada legalized same-sex marriage. Some Canadian provinces had already granted same-sex couples the right to marry.

Spain  = Spain’s parliament legalized same-sex marriage in 2005, despite heavy criticism from the  Catholic Church, which remains a force in Spanish society.

South Africa = South Africa legalized same-sex marriage in 2006. Some religious institutions and officers may still decline to administer same-sex marriages.

Norway  = Same-sex marriage became legal in Norway in 2009.

Sweden= Sweden’s parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage in 2009.

Iceland =  In 2010, Iceland’s legislature voted unanimously to approve same-sex marriage.

Iceland elected Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, the world’s first openly lesbian head of state. In 2010, she married her partner.

Portugal =  In 2010, Portugal legalized same-sex marriage.

Argentina =  Argentina’s legislature approved same-sex marriage in 2010. It was the first

country in Latin America to do so.

Denmark   = In 2012, Denmark’s parliament approved same-sex marriage. In 1989, it became  the first country to allow same-sex couples to register as domestic partners.

Uruguay  = The country’s parliament approved same-sex marriage in 2013 with the approval of the country’s two legislative houses and President Jose Mujica’s signature.

New Zealand= New Zealand’s parliament legalized same-sex marriage in2013.

France = French President François Hollande signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage on May 18, 2013.

Brazil = Brazil’s National Council of Justice allowed same-sex marriage on May 14, 2013.

England and Wales   In 2013, Queen Elizabeth II essentially approved a measure to allow same sex marriage in England and Wales.

Scotland =  The Scottish parliament approved a policy legalizing same-sex marriage on Feb. 4, 2014. However, churches and certain religious groups can still decline to administer same-sex marriages.

Luxembourg  =  June 18, 2014, was the day that Luxembourg’s parliament approved legislation legalizing same-sex marriage and child adoption. The bill took effect in the following year and was heavily supported by Xavier Bettel, the country’s first prime minister.

Finland = Finland’s parliament legalized same-sex marriage in November 2014, and the

country’s president, Sauli Niinistö, signed the law in February 2015. The law will not go into effect until 2017.

USA  = Legalized same-sex marriage Oct. 2015

                         UMC Book of Discipline on LGBT:

“Marriage: We affirm the sanctity of marriage covenant that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, shared fidelity between a man and a woman. We believe that God’s blessing rest upon such marriage whether or not there are children of the union. We reject social norms that assume different standards for women than for men in marriage. We support laws in civil society that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” Par. 161.B, p.109, BOD 2012

“The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.” Par. 304.3 (Self-avowed practicing homosexual is understood to mean that a person openly acknowledges to a bishop, district superintendent, district committee on ordained ministry, board of ordained ministry, or clergy session that the person is a practicing homosexual- Judicial Council Decision)  p.304 BD 2012

“A bishop, clergy member…local pastor…May be tried when charged…With one or more of the following offenses:…(b)practices by declared The United Methodist Church to be incompatible with Christian teaching, including but not limited to: being a self-avowed practicing homosexual unions; or conducting ceremonies which celebrates homosexual unions or performing same-sex marriage…” Par. 2702.1 BOD 2012

“Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual union shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.” Pat. 341.6 BOD 2012

“No annual conference board, agency…shall GIVE United Methodist funds to any gay caucus or group, or otherwise use such funds to promote the acceptance of homosexuality.”

Par.  806.9/ 613.19,  BOD 2012

This beliefs and practices as stated in our Book of Discipline is of course based and grounded on the Holy Scripture.

So let me share a Biblical perspective on the issue of homosexuality.

                                Biblical Perspective:

Sexual preference for and sexual behavior between members of the same sex, is considered to be an immoral style and behavior pattern throughout the Biblical revelation. Only heterosexual preference and behavior patterns are approved in Scripture confirming to God’s plan in the creation of man and woman. Moreover, all sexual behavior is to take place in the context of  marriage. Sex is considered so long as it takes place within this parameters.

The Bible makes no distinction between what some today refer as “homosexual orientation” and homosexual behavior. Sexual desire or feelings are never mentioned as such in  Scripture, but homosexual behavior is strongly condemned  as a deviation from  God’s will for human beings.

Therefore, it stand to reason that any homosexual inclination, feeling or desire must be seriously dealt with as a potential dangerous temptation much like those temptations of a heterosexual nature such as the desire to commit fornication or adultery.

Biblical references to homosexuality are relatively few.

Genesis19:1-11 tells of a story of an attempted homosexual gang rape at the house of lot by the wicked men of Sodom. Verse 5 mentions specifically the homosexual intentions of the men of Sodom (“to know” referring to having sex). Lot considers this behavior wicked (v.7).Raping his daughters was considered the lesser of two evils (v. 8).  This evil of Sodom is mentioned elsewhere (Jeremiah 23:14; Ezekiel 16:49-50; 2 Peter 2:6-10;  Jude 7) in the strongest terms of condemnation. The term “sodomy” has its roots here. A similar story is found in Judges 19:22-30.

In the Holiness Code of Leviticus , homosexuality is considered an abomination (18:22

“You must not have sexual intercourse with a man as you would with a woman; it is a detestable practice”) and such behavior was to be punish by death (20:13 “If a man has a sexual intercourse with a man as he would with a woman, the two of them have done detestable. They must be executed; there blood is on their own heads).

In the New Testament the early church also considered homosexuality as sinful behavior. Although Jesus never mentioned such behavior, probably because the problem never arose during His ministry among Jewish people. Paul clearly condemned homosexuality. Romans 1:26-27 considers homosexuality to be a sign of God’s wrath upon blind sinfulness. Such behavior as a degrading passion, unnatural, an indecent act, an error, even worthy of death, Romans 1:32)

“That’s why God abandoned them to degrading lust. Their females traded natural sexual relations. Also in the same way, the males traded natural sexual relations with females, and burned with lust for each other. Males perform sinful acts with males, and they were paid back with the penalty they deserved for their mistake in their own bodies….Though they know God’s decision that those who persist in such practice deserve death, they not only keep doing these things but also approve others who practice them.”

        Some of the Corinthian Christians apparently had been homosexuals

(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Don’t you know that people who are unjust won’t inherit God’s kingdom? Don’t be deceived. Those who are sexually immoral, those who worship false gods, adulterers, both participants in same sex-sex intercourse, thieves, the greedy, drunks, abusive people, and swindlers won’t inherit God’s kingdom. That is what some of you used to be! But you were washed clean, you were made holy to God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. “ Paul implied here that homosexual behavior is forgivable through the gospel and that any homosexual temptations should be resisted as seriously as those toward fornication,  or adultery.

       Paul also taught that homosexuality was contrary to sound doctrine.

   (1 Timothy 1:10, “They are people who are sexually unfaithful, and people who have intercourse with the same-sex. They are kidnappers, liars, individuals who give false             testimonies in courts, and those who do anything else that is opposed to sound teaching.”

       St. Paul wrote to the early Christians strongly telling them to live lives worthy of being God’s children. Here are some of his exhortations:

“We appealed to you, encouraged you, and pleaded with you, to lives worthy of the God who is calling you into his own kingdom and glory” 1 Thess. 2:12

“So put to death the parts of your life that belongs to the earth, such as sexual immorality, moral corruption, lust, evil desire, and greed.” Colossians 3:5.

“Sexual immorality, and any kind of impurity or greed, shouldn’t even be mentioned among you, which is right for a holy person…Because you know for sure that persons who are sexually immoral, impure or greedy those… persons won’t inherit the Kingdom of Christ and God” Eph. 5:3

The Bible does not recognize homosexuality as biologically constitutional or heredity (as a kind of third sex), but sees its roots in the sinful nature of man- a psychosocial, learned behavior expressing rebellion against God and calling for redemption. Such persons are responsible for their behavior.

This is a complex psychological problem with many possible roots or causes, calling for both Christian compassion on the part of God’s people as well as God’s redemptive power through the gospel. The ministry of the church to homosexuals should include: conversion, counseling, education, and support group relationship.

               General Conference of the UMC 2016 Portland, Oregon, USA

        What now? As I said earlier I encourage that this issue on homosexuality should be studied by the leaders of the church down to the local congregation.

The 2016 General Conference in Portland Oregon will be decisive on the issue of LGBT.

So I also recommend that our delegates to the 2016 General Conference should seriously consider that they are the delegates of the conference they are representing. So it is proper that they should consult or get the decision or stand of the conference they are representing regarding this issue and vote accordingly to the conference perspective.

This is how it works in the General Conference.

Petitions on many issues are sent to the General conference and these petitions are assign to a legislative committee for study. The petitions approve by the committees goes to the conference session for consideration and approval.

        Possible example of petitions on homosexuality:

Petition to revise the Social Principles: Par. 161.B, p. 109, BOD 2012 by deletion and substitution.  “Marriage: We affirm the sanctity of marriage covenant that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, shared fidelity between  (delete the wordsa man and a woman. (Substitute it with the following wordstwo persons who love each other. . We believe that God’s blessing rest upon such marriage whether or not there are children of the union. We reject social norms that assume different standards for women than for men in marriage. We support laws in civil society that defines marriage as the union of ( delete the words)  one man and one woman. (substitute the deleted words to)     two persons who love each other. Par. 161.B, p.109, BOD 2012

                               When revised it then read this way:

“Marriage: We affirm the sanctity of marriage covenant that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, shared fidelity between two persons who love each other. We believe that God’s blessing rest upon such marriage whether or not there are children of the union. We reject social norms that assume different standards for women than for men in marriage. We support laws in civil society that defines marriage as the union of two persons who love each other.” Par. 161.B, p.109, BOD 2012

        If this petition is approve by the General Conference revising this part of our Social Principles, it means that homosexuality is as good as approve belief and practice of The United Methodist Church.

        Now, let me share some things which I think are important in our study of the issue.

One General Conference of the Methodist church, some time ago created a committee to study the issue whether homosexuality is acquired or in-born. Atty. Beltran from the Philippines was a member of the committee. According to him the report of the Committee was that homosexual tendency is both acquired and inborn. When I asked him, in-born? He told me that the committee had seen and interviewed several persons who have both female and male sexual organs. Some may call them hermaphrodite. The fact that there are persons who have both female and male organs at the same time, this may prove that there are persons who are born with homosexual feelings and tendencies.

      Now on the belief that there are parts of the Scripture that are time bound and timeless, several important questions should be considered.

*      Assuming that there are time-bound parts of the Bible, who decides what part of the Bible are time-bound?  Who decides when the parts of the Bible have already lapse and are not applicable anymore?  Will it be the law making body of the country or the head of the country? This is what happened in the US, the Supreme Court decided homosexuality is lawful and should be practice.

Several persons have been charged in court and found guilty of discrimination for not supporting same-sex marriage. A president in one African country promulgated a law that polygamy is legal and should be practice in that country.

How could we say that a secular personality by their action declare that our long time scriptural practice in the Bible has already ended?

*      Will it be the faith community, the church, who declares that such and such part of the Bible is time-bound and is now ending? Who? the leaders, such as Bishops and or delegates to the General Conference?

*      Could it be that the time-bound text cited above such as ““The women should be silent in the churches, ” I Cor. 14:34-35 and  “Slaves obey you human masters with fear and trembling.”     Eph. 6:5 are not doctrinal teachings but just affirmation of a traditional practices for good relations in the community? If so tradition changes with time and good practice.

*     On the other hand, you will note that the practice of homosexual is considered as sin:

(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Don’t you know that people who are unjust won’t inherit God’s kingdom? Don’t be deceived. Those who are sexually immoral, those who worship false gods, adulterers, both participants in same sex-sex intercourse, thieves, the greedy, drunks, abusive people, and swindlers won’t inherit God’s kingdom. That is what some of you used to be! But you were washed clean, you were made holy to God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. “

Paul also taught that homosexuality was contrary to sound doctrine.

   (1 Timothy 1:10, “They are people who are sexually unfaithful, and people who have intercourse with the same-sex. They are kidnappers, liars, individuals who give false testimonies in courts, and those who do anything else that is opposed to sound teaching.”

Accepting that God through St.Paul taught us that homosexuality is sin, can we, the Christians today, change God’s word and say IT IS NOT SIN ANYMORE!

More Concerns:

Some are concern that the practice of same-sex marriage in more than 20 countries and if also approve by religious groups such as the Christian churches may lead to the acceptance and practice of polygamy and polyematry in our communities.

Polygamy is the practice of a man marrying more than one woman.

Polyematry is the practice of a woman marrying more than one man.

The practice of polygamy and polyematry are found practice by some tribes group and some countries have special laws making it legal.

What now?

I suggest that we seriously study the issues on homosexuality, same-sex marriage not only on the perspective of the Bible but also in the context of our Filipino tradition, beliefs and practices.

After seriously studying the issue on homosexuality, do you continue to believe the present stand and practice of the UMC on this issue?

In case the decision of the General Conference 2016 approves that homosexuality, and same-sex marriage are acceptable beliefs and practices of The United Methodist Church.

What would your stand be?       What action would you take?

What do you think?

Some conservative Methodist in the USA are suggesting and are even planning to submit petition to the General Conference for an amicable split or separation from The United Methodist Church if it approves the practice of homosexuality.

Some groups from the Central Conferences may also petition for autonomy.

Would you think that such an issue is so important that it may break the church?

      Let us prayerfully study and give serious importance on this concern because it will surely affect the mission and unity of the church.

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THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH POLITY

THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH POLITY

 

Polity means “the form of government of a nation, a state, a church or an organization.” “An organized society, such as nation, having a specific form of government.”

 

Government is the “management or administration of an organization, a business or an institution.”

 

Let me enumerate some of the characteristics of The United Methodist Church life and practice that becomes the flesh and blood of the polity of the church.

 

  1. It is a covenant community of people.

The people called Methodist is bound together by a covenant they promise

when they join the Methodist community. They promise ‘to be loyal to The United Methodist Church and do all in their power to strengthen its ministries… to faithfully support and uphold the Methodist community with their prayers, their presence, their gift and service.” They make this promise of their own free will and fulfill it with the help of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Their covenant to the community is undergirded by two things:

  1. With God’s help they live the great commandments, “To love God with all their heart, strength and soul and to love their neighbors as they love themselves.”
  2. They impose upon their group what they call as “General Rules” of the covenant community, which is Do No Harm, Do God, and Stay in love with God.”
  3. They imposed upon themselves guidelines, rules and discipline to govern their action to facilitate their mission, thus they have a “Book of Discipline.”
  4. As a covenant community they also speak as one regarding their life and practice, thus they have a “Book of Resolution.”

 

  1. It is a covenant community of people with a mission. (BD, Par. 120-142)

This covenant community of people are taught, nurtured and trained to

fulfill what they call as their great commission, “Go to all the world, To preach, teach, baptize people and make them disciples of Jesus Christ”  In short the mission of the local Methodist community is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Local churches provide the most significant arena through which disciple-making occurs. They fulfill their mission by proclaiming the good news of God’s grace and by exemplifying the Jesus’ command to love God and neighbor, thus seeking the fulfillment of God’s reign and realm in the world.

The process of carrying out our mission:

  1. Proclaim the gospel, seek, welcome and gather persons into the body of Christ;
  2. Led persons to commit their lives to God through baptism by water and the spirit and profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
  3. Nurture persons in Christian living through worship, the sacraments, spiritual disciplines, and other means of grace, such as Wesley’s Christian conferencing;
  4. Send persons into the world to live lovingly and justly as servants of Christ by healing the sick, feeding the hungry, caring for the stranger, freeing the oppressed, being and becoming a compassionate, caring presence, and working to develop social structures that are consistent with the gospel;
  5. Continue the mission of seeking, welcoming and gathering persons into the community of the body of Christ.

 

  1. It is a connectional covenant community.

They geographical area of their mission is the whole world and their

target are all people and races. Their connection with each other, help and facilitate the fulfillment of their mission in the world. Where one community group because of race and color cannot enter a place to fulfill their mission, another community can. When a community wish to fulfill their mission in one area but lack resources other communities share their resources to the covenant community in mission. Indeed, in unity there is strength.

This connectional relationship is also express in the church structure that facilitates the fulfillment of their mission into the world. Thus the structure is global; from the:

LEGISLATIVE:

 

       Charge Conference (Local Church)

(District Conference)

Annual Conference

          Central/Jurisdictional Conference

          General Conference (Worldwide)

 

Administrative or executive branch

Local church Pastor/Pastors (Local Churches)

Bishop with the District Superintendent (Annual Conference Level)

College of Bishop (Central conference/Jurisdictional)

Council of Bishop (General Conference)

 

JUDICIAL:

Trial Court (Annual Conference)

Judicial Court (Central conference)

Judicial Council (Worldwide))

 

  1. It is Episcopal led and supervised for the fulfillment of its mission.

The conferences enumerated above are legislative in nature. It is the

Office of the Bishop that supervises the work and mission of the covenant communities. The Bishops are elected and assign to supervise the work and mission of the covenant communities in designated annual conferences.

The clergy, deaconess, and deacons are appointed by the Bishop to serve  a covenant community and or program agency, through a process of consultation with the worker, district superintendent (Bishop’s cabinet) and the church

workers- parish Relation of the local church.

 

  1. Their polity is representative.

The covenant community is represented by someone from their group,

either elected or appointed by the group to represent them in conferences and or agencies of the church. As a representative of the community, he/she speaks for the group and is accountable to the covenant group he/she is representing.

 

  1. Their decision making is democratic.

Decision making is through the decision of the whole group, either through

consensus or majority decisions. When a decision is made by the covenant community, members are bound to obey the decision

 

  1. They seek and administer justice and peace in the fairest possible

within the community of faith, in what they call as “being tried and judge by their own peers” as described in the Book of Discipline “Judicial Administration.” Decisions in the lower church court is appealable to the Judicial Council, which is the counterpart of the Supreme Court in the secular world.

 

  1. The Local covenant community are autonomous in their life, mission and resources.

They plan their local church mission, programs, projects and raise their

resources to carry them out.

Charge Conference   (Legislative Body)

BOT/ CFA/ PPR/ CLL  ( Standing Boards/Commission)

Administrative:

   Local Church Council (Administrator of the church program)

             ( consisting of the different chairpersons of Boards, Commissions and Committees)

        With the Local Pastor as the Chief Executive Officer with the support of the Associate Pastor, Deaconess, Home Missioner,  Lay Servant & Lay Leaders

Program Committees ( Nurture, Outreach, Witness)

Program Agencies (SS, Kindergarten, etc.)

             Church Employees

 

Autonomous they maybe in the decision making and carrying out their

mission, guidance, resources and help from the connection maybe available and offered to the local covenant  group.

 

  1. The covenant communities are in found in nearly all countries

of the world, thus it is global in their presence and in their mission.

To help the presence and mission of the covenant community in the

around the globe, general agencies are organize to help local covenant  communities start and carry out their mission.

 

10  This Covenant community is governed by the Book of Discipline which contains the Constitution of the church, Doctrinal standards, Administrative order and Judicial Administration.

 

  • This covenant community are open to changes for good,

Such changes may emanates from any of the covenant communities but undergoes a process of prayer, consultations going down to the grassroots and majority decisions, appealable to the Judicial Council which is the Supreme Court of the Covenant Communities.

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EMPAC Advance Course of Study

The Board of Ordained Ministry of the East Mindanao Philippines Annual Comference will conduct the second session of the Advance Course of Study for local pastors on February 20 to 24, 2017 in New Corrella United Methodist, Davao Norte.

This Advance of Study is offered as an alternative course for pastors who are candidate for the ministry who cannot study in seminary, and who have already reached the age of 40 and above.

This program course of study also answer the candidacy of our ethnic pastors who have no college education thus cannot be accepted in any seminary recognized by the United Methodist Church.

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GBOD GRANTS

Grants for Ministries with Young People –2015 Grant Recipients

Young People’s Action for Socio-Economic Justice and Sustainable Development (Cotabato Province, Philippines) –Received GMYP grant for $10,200

Through a series of seminars, skills trainings, and programs, along with some financial assistance, the young people involved in this project are becoming empowered and equipped to overcome socio-economic injustices and working for personal, family and community transformation. Ana Loreen B. Porperio, a beneficiary of the project, says this: “My participation in this project…helped me to understand that the church is not only worship, Bible study and prayer meetings. It helps the poor and needy, like me and my family, to have more income for our needs. I thank God for this church.”

2016 Grants for Ministries with Young People Recommendations for Funding

National Youth Conference–Manila, Philippines [Philippines Central Conference]
Total Awarded: $2,500

This 4-day conference gathers youth leaders from all over the Philippines to share experiences, contribute new ideas and build relationships in order to better know Christ and make Christ known. The event has a track record of producing equipped and empowered leaders in the Church, and provides young leaders with opportunities to engage in different ministries of the church to explore their calling into ministry

OXY-GEN–Quezon City, Philippines [Philippines Central Conference]
Total Awarded:$5,000

This project aims to develop and sustain the music and dance ministry at the Good Samaritan United Methodist Church. This will be accomplished through purchasing quality instruments to create Praise and Worship Teams and receiving proper training from Christian musicians; they will also establish dance groups that will learn and perform many different kinds of dance forms in order to joyfully express their faith in the Lord.

Wildflame Campus Ministry–Bulacan, Philippines [Philippines Central Conference]
Total Awarded: $2,500

This campus ministry teaches youth to discern their unique call to live a meaningful life and to act with justice and fairness toward all people. The ministry produces young leaders by providing trainings and lectures to enlighten their minds and hearts, and strives to develop other
ministry aspects, like Praise and Worship, Children’s Ministry, Preaching, Dance and Small Group Ministry, to instill a love for the mission of the church and
show other ways young people can serve God.

2016 Youth Service Fund Recommendations for Funding

*Young People’s Faith-Sharing & Acts of Compassion Program –Catabato, Philippines
Total Awarded: $2,325

This project will help the young people of St. Michael United Methodist to witness and serve those in need in the Manubuan Village. They will be trained to share their faith, visit sick and shut-ins, help elderly and shut-ins with household chores, do vegetable gardening for the needy, prepare food for small children, encourage the community to resist drugs and alcohol, and be in ministry with prisoners in the municipal jail.

Global Scholarship Recommendations for 2015 -2016

Alfie Jann Loberiano Tangunan III -$1,575
Philippines, 21, Accounting

Michael Blanca Khemlani -$1,900
Philippines, 19, Information Technology

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An Outcry Against Hatred and Hate Crimes and a Commitment to Prophetic Love

An Outcry Against Hatred and Hate Crimes and a Commitment to Prophetic Love

Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those
who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.1 John 4:20

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.
Proverbs 10:12

In light of continuing acts of violence, destruction, and murder based upon hatred, racism, fear, bigotry and prejudice:

We recommit ourselves to the life to which our church’s baptismal liturgy calls us—a life in which we “renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness…reject the evil powers of this world…and accept the freedom and power God gives [us] to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.”

We stand united in our conviction that all human beings are of sacred worth, beloved by God and created in the Divine Image
.
We therefore denounce all hate crimes committed against women, men, youth, and children of all our racial or ethnic identities.

We deplore the evil of racism and its continued expression in the hearts and institutions of our culture. We therefore repudiate all forms of violence and mistreatment that are fueled by racist hatred and toxic bigotry.

We affirm that all are precious to God, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We therefore decry all crimes and violence against people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer.

We maintain that justice must be pursued with both integrity and equity. We therefore denounce police brutality in any form. We also denounce the unjust targeting of law enforcement officers.

We deplore all acts of terrorism, whether foreign or domestic and all forms of social injustice, systemic discrimination, and dehumanizing oppression.

We reject and condemn all hate-fueled crimes of abuse and violence, believing that such crimes are an unacceptable assault on the sacredness of our shared existence.

We believe in the countercultural love and the transformational grace of Jesus Christ, in whom “there is no longer Jew or Greek…slave or free…male and female” (Galatians 3:28) We commit ourselves to building lives and communities in which love, justice, and mercy are as natural as breathing and every bit as urgent. We call for strategic partnerships and meaningful action plans that will lead humankind more deeply into God’s redemptive future.

We believe that God is relentlessly good; that God is far more devastated by our hatred and violence than we are; that God weeps and grieves over the unthinkable distortions of how God created things to be; and that God, even now, is redemptively and dynamically present in the brokenness, holding suffering souls in the quiet depths of the Divine Heart and ushering the church and world into a renewed commitment to justice, oneness, and agapic love.

We the church repent of the ways in which we have nurtured and reinforced hatred, both individually and communally, through our actions, our silence, and our toleration of distorted priorities. We call the church to a deeper and more holistic devotion to the way of Jesus, where grace transforms hatred into love, fractured relationship into reconciliation, and crippling fear into life-giving and world-shaping hope.

Prayerfully offered by the Board of Directors, GBOD

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WHAT IS K TO 12 PROGRAM/

WHAT IS K TO 12 PROGRAM?

The K to 12 Program covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education (six years of primary education, four years of Junior High School, and two years of Senior High School [SHS]) to provide sufficient time for mastery of concepts and skills, develop lifelong learners, and prepare graduates for tertiary education, middle-level skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship.

K to12-Basic-education

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UNITED METHODIST MEN PHILIPPINES NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

THE UNITED METHODIST MEN PHILIPPINES NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
First UMC, City of Baguio, July 24-25, 2015

PROPOSED PROGRAMME

Day 1 July 24, 2015
3:00-4:00 pm Arrival and Registration
4:00-5:00 pm Opening Worship- Bishop Ciriaco Francisc0- DEA
5:00-6:00 pm Dinner
6:00-8:00 pm Welcome Night
8:00-10:00 pm Report:
1. MEA UMM President- Bro. Ricky Ravina
2. BEA UMM President- Bro. Dominador Peralta
3. DEA UMM President Bro. Abraham Castillo
10:00 pm Sleeping time

Day 2, July 25, 2015
5:00-6:00 am Wake Up Exercise
6:00-7:00 am Breakfast
7:00-8:00 am Morning Worship- Bishop Pedro Torio- BEA
8:00-9:00 am Report: UMMP President= Bro. Carlos M. Manio
9:00-10:00 am Ratification of Constitution and By-Laws
10:00-10:30 am Election
11:30-12:30pm Closing Worship, Bishop Rodolfo Juan- MEA
12:30 pm Lunch and Homeward Bound

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A Response from Dallas Theological Seminary to Today’s Supreme Court Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage

A Response from Dallas Theological Seminary to Today’s Supreme Court Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage
by Mark L. Bailey on June 26, 2015 in News
With the verdict of the Supreme Court today that legalizes same-sex marriage in the United States, we at Dallas Theological Seminary are grieved by this decision that seeks to legally yet wrongfully expand what God established from the beginning to be the divinely designed institution of marriage. We continue to support and adhere to a biblical view of marriage and sexuality because we believe such an approach to life and marriage honors God and makes for fulfillment in life the way God designed it.

In answering the questions of His disciples related to divorce, Jesus went back to creation to argue the original intent for marriage. Marriage was intended from the very beginning of creation to be the covenant union of a man and a woman in a permanent and exclusive relationship (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19: 4-9; Mark 10: 5-9). God’s design for this relationship was for the purposes of procreation, personal pleasure, and the fulfillment of the purposes of reflecting the image of the Creator and His desired relationship with His people (Genesis 1:27–28; 2:18–24; Ephesians 5:31–33). That image involves both male and female with marriage depicting their mutual cooperation in a designed diversity to steward God’s creation.

We believe God has also expressly reserved sexual intimacy and intercourse for heterosexual marriage (Ephesians 5:3, Colossians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 6:9). It is God’s expectation that the married live in faithfulness to their spouse and unmarried should live pure and celibate lives, refraining from sexual intimacy (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

The English translation of our historic Seminary motto from 2 Timothy 4:2 is “Preach the Word.” We intend to keep doing that and to equip others to do so as well. Our current slogan is taken from 1 Timothy 1:5 and that is “Teach Truth. Love Well.” As we approach a culture that does not share our biblical values or standards of conduct we still need to model love and pray for those with whom we disagree. This Jesus also taught (Matthew 5:44). As our culture begins to look more and more like that of the New Testament times, we need to remember and take heart that the message and mission of Jesus was birthed and flourished in such times. May God do it again in our lifetime.

Soberly and Prayerfully,

Dr. Mark L. Bailey
President

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 2015

Longmont, Colorado: In a church trial held Feb. 24 and 25 at Longs Peak United Methodist Church in Longmont, Colorado, the Reverend Filimone Havili Mone was found guilty of disobeying the order and discipline of the church. As part of the verdict, the jury voted unanimously to terminate Mone’s United Methodist membership in the Rocky Mountain Conference. Mone retains his ordination in the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga.

The verdict was delivered by a jury of 13 United Methodist clergy. Retired Bishop Alfred W. Gwinn Jr. presided over the trial.

“I will not stop praying for Rev. Mone and the Tongan United Methodist Church,” said Rev. Ron Hodges, counsel for the United Methodist Church. “I felt the case itself was clear and concise and the evidence before us was reliable and relevant.”

Rev. Keith Watson, counsel for Mone, said, “While the respondent and counsel team feel disappointment in the outcome, we commend the members of the jury for their careful, and probably painful, deliberations. I think that all in the court recognize the import of the decisions that have been made.”

Mone was formerly the pastor of Tongan United Methodist Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2012, resident Bishop Elaine J. W. Stanovsky received concerns of suspected sexual abuse that occurred at Tongan UMC and had allegedly gone unreported by Mone. Following a supervisory review, at which time Mone was placed under suspension, it was found that he had failed to report the abuse to authorities in a timely manner in violation of church and state law. In 2013, Mone was tried in city court and negotiated a plea for failing to report abuse of a child, which is a misdemeanor. He was assigned and performed community service.

On Oct. 22, 2012, a just resolution agreement was negotiated and signed by Mone, Bishop Stanovsky and District Superintendent Sione Tukutau. Stanovsky lifted the suspension and dismissed the complaint against Mone after the agreement was reached. Mone did not return to Tongan UMC nor was assigned to a church, but continued on leave as a clergy member of the Rocky Mountain Conference.

“The jury’s decision recognizes Rev. Mone’s actions conflict with the values and practices of the United Methodist Church,” said Stanovsky. “We are sorry to lose this friend and colleague, who has served among us for many years, but know that God continues to work in this life.”

In a United Methodist church trial, an individual responds to a charge or charges of having violated denominational law, as set forth in the church’s Book of Discipline. A church trial is seen as a “last resort” after all other paths to resolve conflict has been exhausted.

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Contact information:

Charmaine Robledo

Director of Communications

Mountain Sky Area of the United Methodist Church

303-325-7054 (office)

303-910-8268 (cell)

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Discipleship Ministries

Feb 9 at 8:00 PM
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