Dear Dean Love,
Reconciling Ministries Network hopes this letter finds you well. We pray for you in your ministry and leadership at the Candler School of Theology. We are thankful for the time and energy that you, the administration, faculty, and staff give to preparing the next generation of leaders in the church. With that in mind, we would like to take an opportunity to share our concerns with you as it pertains to the ways that Candler seeks to live into its core values.
Reconciling Ministries Network stands in solidarity with those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) and their allies in our church and in our world. With that said, we stand with the LGBTQ students at Candler School of Theology who have requested that you not bestow an award on a person who is known in The United Methodist Church as someone who actively works against LGBTQ inclusion in the full life of the church.
We are thankful that you reiterated in your letter to students on September 19 that Candler, with your support, is a place that seeks to be fully welcoming of those who are LGBT. However, the depth of that welcome seems questionable when an award is given to someone who attacks their personhood and their lives. We encourage Candler to reevaluate its decision and to live into the six core values that guide its work. We hope that in doing so you will ensure that those who are lifted up for honor from your institution are those that demonstrate the best of The United Methodist Church, not those who attack members of your student body.
We at Reconciling Ministries Network invite Candler School of Theology to declare itself to be a “Reconciling Seminary” as a clear and demonstrable step to honoring its commitment to “the preparation of leaders to participate in ministries of justice and reconciliation.” By becoming a Reconciling Seminary you would communicate that you are not only willing to welcome LGBTQ students, but want to stand with them in solidarity as they move forward from your institution into a church that is not fully inclusive of their life or ministry.
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