For the first time ever, official African American and Asian American caucuses in The United Methodist Church voted to join a coalition to work at the crossroads of issues. Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) and the National Federation of Asian American United Methodists (NAFAAUM) both voted to join the Love Your Neighbor Common Witness Coalition which will impact the denomination's General Conference, April 24-May 4, 2012, in Tampa, Florida. Once every four years, just under a thousand delegates convene from around the world to set policy for the denomination.
During the ten days, delegates of the ten-million member global denomination will vote on a restructure plan that will have repercussions throughout the Protestant world. The Love Your Neighbor Coalition is urging the denomination to approve a structure that supports the leadership of people of color, women, youth/young adults, and central conferences (international).
In addition, the Love Your Neighbor Coalition will work for passage of policies that support global peace, justice for immigrants, and an end to discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the church and the world.
"In officially endorsing the statement, 'For the Love of God and Neighbor,' and becoming a full partner with the Love Your Neighbor Common Witness Coalition, the work of Black Methodists for Church Renewal, Inc. is expanded and strengthened," said Pamela Crosby, executive director of BMCR. "This partnership will help us boldly move forward in our common goals as advocates in the struggle for economic and social justice and in our mission to grow a compassionate and courageous United Methodist Church, totally committed to God."
"This new partnership with BMCR and NFAAUM gives us an opportunity to live more deeply into Reconciling Ministries' anti-racist values," said Troy Plummer, executive director ofReconciling Ministries Network. "Being partners means being allies to one another as we change the world together. This is one more sign showing that United Methodists are following God's lead to join Lutherans, Presbyterians and Episcopalians who have voted to end prohibitions based on who a person loves or their gender expression."
Don Hayashi, president of NFAAUM, said, "The National Federation of Asian American United Methodists is pleased to join in coalition with groups that share our values of being inclusive and open to all. As Asian Americans we are often invisible or overlooked. We wish to be valued for who we are and the contributions we make. Our faith dictates that we respect all creation for we are all created in the image of God. We have no higher calling than to love God and our neighbor."
"Forty years ago, Affirmation was formed when the church decided some people were 'incompatible with Christian teaching,'" said Tim Tennant-Jayne, Affirmation co-spokesperson. "Our long journey through a desert of rejection and exclusion continues but working in coalition is like a drink of water as we grow in our understanding of God's wonderfully diverse humanity."
"It has been inspiring to see the growing partnerships that embody a deep appreciation for our God-given diversity," said Jill A. Warren, Executive Director of Methodist Federation for Social Action. "Each of our groups has a long and storied history of speaking out when it would have been easier to be silent. Together we will speak out about what is possible through the love, grace and reconciliation of Jesus Christ."
AFFIRMATION is an independent voice of LGBTQ people and our supporters. We are an activist, all-volunteer organization that challenges The United Methodist Church to be inclusive.
BMCR represents and is dedicated to more than 2,100 Black United Methodist congregations in the U.S., approximately 500,000 African American members, and numerous United Methodists of African descent to raise spiritual and prophetic leaders in the church.
MFSA is a place where Progressive United Methodists lead and sustain a progressive United Methodist movement, energizing people to be agents of God's justice, peace and reconciliation.
NFAAUM is committed to the empowerment of Asian American local churches and to articulate the concerns, interest and needs of Asian Americans in all levels of the United Methodist Church.
RMN mobilizes United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our Church and world into the full expression of Christ's inclusive love.
Troy Plummer, Executive Director, (773) 315-9335 or firstname.lastname@example.org/ www.rmnetwork.org