“Ecclesiastical Disobedience:” A Letter to The Daily Camera’s Open Forum on Behalf of the Church Council of First United Methodist Church of Boulder

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Ecclesiastical Disobedience

Bishop Karen Oliveto
Bishop Karen Oliveto

Under the cloud of President Trump’s executive order that affirms the right to discriminate under the banner of “religious freedom”, we feel compelled to address the Camera article of April 25th about the United Methodist Judicial Council’s trial of Bishop Karen Oliveto which argued that her election violates church law.

Since 1972 the world-wide United Methodist Church has included in its governing policies that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” may not be ordained. This has been a matter of embarrassment and shame for those of us who believe that this punitive language separates us from the gifts and graces of highly worthy candidates such as the episcopacy of Karen Oliveto.

Just as family members often disagree but still remain together to try to work out their differences, so we stand to oppose this oppressive policy. Our mainstream denomination reflects the division that exists between conservative and progressive ideology in our country. Yet we all remain part of the United States. The First United Methodist Church Boulder voted in 1997 to proclaim themselves a Reconciling Congregation that welcomes all persons including LGBTQ persons. We stand in ecclesiastical disobedience in support of being an inclusive faith community.

The consecration of Karen Oliveto as the first openly lesbian United Methodist bishop is a matter of deep pride and a true blessing that she was assigned to our area. Bishop Karen embodies the spirit of the beloved community which she represents.

With her wise and gifted guidance, may we all learn to live the biblical admonition: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.” – (Galatians 5:22-23)

~ Submitted by Rev. Matthias Krier and Jean Hodges on behalf of the First United Methodist Church Council