United Methodist Women Abortion

December 14, 2018

United Methodist Women Program Affiliates with Unofficial LGBTQ Caucus

On December 3, the National Association of Deaconesses and Home Missioners (NADHM), a voluntary, national association within the United Methodist Church, formally affiliated itself with Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), the main unofficial caucus of United Methodists seeking church blessing of homosexual practice.

It is striking to see a major part of an official United Methodist agency formally join hands with a far-left group known for its opposition to official United Methodist doctrine and ethics, such no-holds-barred methods as disrupting meetings, and a history of endorsing various forms of sex outside of marriage, including multiple partners (as documented here, here, here, and here).

With few exceptions, bishops have allowed hundreds of the UMC’s 34,000 U.S. congregations to publicly identify themselves as RMN-affiliated “reconciling congregations,” despite United Methodist church law clearly stating that it is illegal for congregations or annual conferences to have such formal caucus affiliations. This was made clear in Judicial Council Decision Nos. 847 and 871. As the Judicial Council explained, “Such identification or labeling is divisive and makes the local church subject to the possibility of being in conflict with the Discipline and doctrines of The United Methodist Church.” By what logic can an official UMC agency, which supposedly is there for ALL United Methodists rather than just one narrow ideological faction, justifiably do so?

This latest news is a continuation of a trend of highly liberal practices by United Methodist Women (UMW), which administers the NADHM. John Lomperis has written on how UMW has affirmed as deaconesses a number of women in provocative defiance of the denomination’s more traditionalist official values. This has included Robin Ridenour, the legal wife of lesbian “bishop” Karen Oliveto of the Mountain Sky Area, Rachel Harvey, who was Associate Executive Director of RMN, and Susan Burgess, who worked as an administrative assistant at Planned Parenthood. UMW leadership also took part in the consecration of Helen Ryde, a partnered lesbian and RMN staff member, as a home missionary in May 2016.

Coordination and crossover work between UMW, RMN, and members of the NADHM by the most vocal and public LGBTQ activists within the UMC is not a new phenomenon, but this latest resolution institutionalizes progressive stances on human sexuality for deaconesses and home ministers as an entire group, regardless of their individual views. While the clearly liberal leadership of the NADHM supports the move, many members faithfully serving their communities will not and will have to consider whether they can continue as a part of an organization officially at odds with their beliefs. Further, this will make the program unwelcoming to potential new members if they do not adhere to RMN’s radical beliefs.

In labelling themselves as a “reconciling” ministry, the NADHM is agreeing to follow the guidance of an organization with a long history of heretical and head-scratching views. One minister speaking at an RMN’s annual convocation said that he feels “the United Methodist Church isn’t in a state of dying, that it’s dead” because it has not accepted the LGBTQ community in the ways he wants. Dr. Dorothee Benz, a well-known reconciling movement leader and LGBTQ activist, questioned whether traditionalists “have even met Jesus” at the same event this summer.  A sermon given at an RMN event by Marcus Briggs-Cloud, a Native American Christian activist, suggested ripping out pages of the Bible they disagreed with and instead listening to the wind and rain.

As a program administered by UMW, the NADHM receives funding from them totaling $400,000 in 2017. Thankfully, UMW is largely financially independent in recent years and does not receive many directly apportioned dollars from the denomination. However, concerned United Methodists should still understand the sorts of far-left causes their donations are used to support when they give to UMW-specific fundraisers that supposedly merely support some inoffensive-sounding and vaguely unspecified “mission giving.” On their own brochure, the NADHM’s office writes, “United Methodist Women Mission giving supports this ministry.” However, UMW claims that they do not fund programs that do not comply with the Social Principles or the Discipline of the UMC. If they continue to fund a group that is now an RMN affiliate, this raises a major question of their credibility.

Let us pray for wise, biblically-faithful leaders within the organization to rise up, and for courage for those for whom this divisive new affiliation will cause internal as well as external conflicts.


15 Responses to United Methodist Women Program Affiliates with Unofficial LGBTQ Caucus

  1. William says:

    Thinking this present church can be saved is not only delusional but totally insane. It must split in order to survive —- that is, for the traditional side to survive instead of hanging on and allowing the liberals to burn the entire structure to the ground.

    • Laurie says:

      Agreed!

    • John Ban says:

      I read a similar statement 10 years ago that said where we would in 10 years and that’s what we have. Everyone sees that a split is the only hope. I left the UMC 3 years ago because it appeared anyone pointing out problems was accused of being the problem. Waiting to return to the remmnant doesn’t seem likely

    • Joseph says:

      I agree fully…split and let them go their own delusional way!!
      Maybe sometime down the road they will see the error in their thinking and come back to GODS values !!!! We could only hope.

  2. DeWayne says:

    This is one of the reasons the UMW is rapidly losing membership and has, for all practical purposes, become totally irrelevant to the kingdom of God.

  3. Doug Damron says:

    You got to be kidding me. No mention of congregations who affiliate publicly and financially with the WCA? Fair and balanced has never been a hallmark of IRD as it barks about covenant breaking. “Covenant breaking” only applies to groups and congregation’s who affiliate with caucuses you oppose.

  4. Bart Vincelette says:

    It is sad that so many supposedly kindly religious people who claim to believe that all persons are created in the image of God and therefore must be treated with respect, Have never accepted that homosexuality is far more about who one has the propensity to fall in love with , than actual sex acts.Additionally, the ‘religious right’ has, for decades, spared no effort in attempting to achieve their exclusionary agenda with lies, slander and defamation. This is thoroughly documented. Freedom of religion is an essential component of democratic liberties. It does not, however, include the right to deny, diminish, or eliminate, the rights of others.

  5. Cheryl Farr says:

    While the public affiliation of NADHM and RMN hurts my heart for reasons I will go in to later, I want to begin by clarifying a couple of things that @danwmoran got wrong. To begin with, NADHM is a voluntary, national association of deaconesses and home missioners. This means that NADHM acts independently of the Order of Deaconess and Home Missioner. Members must be D/HMs, but, currently, a D/HM does not have to join NADHM. Another clarification is that Helen Ryde was not consecrated as a Home Missionary in 2016. For one thing, UMC Home Missionary is a position that has been phased out and replaced by Home Missioners. While there are still some Home Missionaries (I believe), there have been no new ones for many years. Helen was consecrated as a Deaconess and, unless something has changed, is still officially a Deaconess. If I am not mistaken, a Home Missioner did give her his pin out of love for her and respect of her desire – but inability – to be classified as a Home Missioner.
    Until a year and a half ago when I was licensed as a Local Pastor, I was a Deaconess and was on the leadership board of NADHM. I was at the convocation when the question of aligning with RMN was brought to the floor at a business meeting. After the event, we met as a leadership team to discuss the various issues of convocation including the RMN discussion. At this meeting, it was explained that NADHM works independently of the Order of D/HM so aligning with RMN was not in conflict with the BOD. While there are D/HMs that work for UMW and are on the leadership board of NADHM, they serve as ex officio with no vote on the petitions brought to the board.
    When the alignment with RMN was discussed, one of the questions raised was the potential message such alignment would send to the D/HMs that held to traditional beliefs. I even brought up that if we were to align with RMN, we should also align with Good News or the Wesleyan Covenant Association. The discussion was, at that point, tabled for future discussion.
    Shortly after this meeting, I left the Order. Primarily, I left because my call had changed and I felt pulled toward ministry, however, I will say that between the RMN discussion and some other things happening within the order and at that same convocation, I was feeling that the circle that had widely accepted all just a few years before was narrowing.
    As far as the alignment with RMN, there are some of the signers of support of the move that I continue to count as my sisters and they are acting as there conscience leads them. I do not agree with them or the alignment, but I do love them for the people that they are.

  6. Cherie Boeneman says:

    I agree with William that the church should probably split. The only question is who is going to leave? I have to say that, as a person on the other side of the theological fence, I refuse to leave. You’re going to have to throw me out. I will always stand for the Love and Mercy and Compassion of Jesus the Christ.

  7. Karen Pollard says:

    This entire subject grieves me to the core…I come from generations of Methodists, my great-grandfather stained the pews of the Sayville Methodist Church, where multiple generations in my family have been baptized, married and eulogized. I married
    the pastor’s son in this same church. Our holding to the beliefs as stated in the Book of Discipline for all these many years and seeking God’s best (marriage between a man and a woman), states that NO active homosexual should be in leadership, much less ordained pastor. Those whom God loves, He disciplines. God loves all who sin, including me, but calls us to repentance of sin. We don’t need to be changing the Book of Discipline, as much as we desperately need prayer for God to draw us closer to Himself and to people to repent of sins. Lord, give us courage to stand for what is good, pure and moral.

  8. Karen Pollard says:

    This entire subject grieves me to the core…I come from generations of Methodists, my great-grandfather stained the pews of the Sayville Methodist Church, where multiple generations in my family have been baptized, married and eulogized. I married
    the pastor’s son in this same church. Our holding to the beliefs as stated in the Book of Discipline for all these many years and seeking God’s best (marriage between a man and a woman), states that NO active homosexual should be in leadership, much less ordained pastor. Those whom God loves, He disciplines. God loves all who sin, including me, but calls us to repentance of sin. We don’t need to be changing the Book of Discipline, as much as we desperately need prayer for God to draw us closer to Himself and for people to repent of sins. Lord, give us courage to stand for what is good, pure and moral.

  9. Sarah says:

    They should have started looking at splitting off the traditional side years ago. Liberals have been infiltrating the UMC for years because it is very welcoming. But to take over a church, to legitimize their beliefs, in opposition to what the UMC’s Church law is just wrong. I’d suggest they need to start their own church, because as a life long practicing Methodist, I do not need reconciling. Ripping out pages from the Bible does not validate their beliefs. I would ask Dr. Benz the same, “Have you met Jesus?” Or better yet “Do you know your Lord and Savior?” Would he approve of you tearing down his church and ripping up the gospel?

  10. Linda A. Richard says:

    Terribly misleading headline and confusing article. It does not establish a direct connection between UMW and the decision to identify as being a Reconciling organization. The headline is designed to provoke anger and frustration with the UMW. My anger and frustration is instead provoked toward the author for his misleading and confusing article!

  11. John Smith says:

    I’m sorry but why is this: “it is striking to see a major part of an official United Methodist agency formally join hands with a far-left group known for its opposition to official United Methodist doctrine and ethics,” raising an eyebrow. Its pretty much dead on for the last couple decades.

    The real question is: If the traditional plan wins will actions like this be dealt with or will it be business as usual? My money is on business as usual which is why its not going into the collection plate for apportionments. Call me when the UMC starts to act like God is more important than membership rolls and funding for programs.

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