Middle TN Methodists Call for an End to Bullying
July 16, 2012 by Guest contributor
This guest post comes from Laura Rossbert:
If you live in the Bible Belt of the South and are looking for a place to see where God’s inclusive love is proclaimed, you need not go any further than the Tennessee United Methodist Church’s Annual Conference. This gathering, of equal representation clergy and lay people, are the voting body for the Tennessee United Methodist Church. Looking around Annual Conference, you would see rainbow stoles of all shapes and sizes on people from near and far. This year two groups (Nashville Area Reconciling Ministries and Clergy for Inclusion), co-hosted a dinner with over 100 people in attendance. Bishop Melvin Talbert came and spoke a word of encouragement and action. The Bishop called those gathered to "Biblical Obedience" which includes honoring and celebrating the covenant commitments of all persons through the act of marriage.
Following the deaths of at least three teens this year who were bullied because of their sexual orientation, Middle Tennessee Methodists endorsed a statement that called for an end to bullying. This may not seem like a big step, but it was the first legislation ever introduced by the two groups and it was the first statement by Tennessee Methodists that included people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
We still have work to do in the church and in our government, but we are hopeful and filled with the love of God as we go about our work.
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