Queer Denomination

Dreams of a ‘Queer Denomination’ for Reconciling Methodists

Grayson Jang on July 13, 2022

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer-affirming United Methodist Church (UMC) current and aspiring clergy were recently featured by the church’s unofficial LGBTQ caucus to discuss their hopes for a “sexually liberated” and “queer denomination” following the model of the liberal and declining Episcopal Church.

Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) Executive Director Jan Lawrence hosted the Rev. Lyssette N. Pérez, the Rev. Dr. Cedrick Bridgeforth, and J.J. Warren for an online seminar in which the panel were asked about their “wildest dreams” for a post-separation UMC.

The UMC should become a “queer denomination” that is capable of continuously questioning themselves to move forward to perfection, proposed Warren, a certified candidate for ordination who identifies as gay. As a lay reserve delegate representing the Upper New York Annual Conference at the 2019 General Conference, Warren made an impassioned plea for the affirmation of persons who embrace LGBTQ identities.

“Queering is a process of perpetual subversion,” Warren favorably quoted the Rev. Dr. Brandon Crowley, lecturer in Ministry Studies at Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The young UMC clergy candidate believes that the UMC could progress to perfection through a continuous re-examining process. “I hope we will be a church that challenges its own assumptions…a church that is sexually liberated…” Warren insisted.

Bridgeforth, director of Innovation and Communication for the California-Pacific Annual Conference, proposed that the UMC become a church that includes “every hue, every shade, every thought, every idea.” He emphasized that the UMC actively engages in social issues “around voter suppression and affordable housing, an equitable economy…inclusion and embrace for all of us who identify as queer; LGBTQ…” He firmly believes that “if we’re not focused on impact, we’re… wasting each other’s time…”

“I also dream for the church that is for all-inclusive and for everybody,” Pérez, pastor of the OASIS United Methodist Church in Pleasantville, New Jersey, affirmed.

Only eight percent of local UMC congregations come from minority ethnic groups, Pérez noted, urging the UMC to reach out to those groups. “That’s a big problem…we can share with them this theology that we have that reaches out to everybody,” Pérez insisted.

Lawrence questioned: “What do you think the UMC has to learn from our ecumenical siblings this season?”

Warren answered that the post-separation UMC should learn from the Episcopal Church’s precedent. In 2015 the Episcopal Church’s General Convention voted to revise its constitution and canons regulating marriage, permitting any couple access to a gender-neutral trial rite of Holy Matrimony. Warren believed the UMC could even learn from Episcopalians’ mistakes.

Pérez claimed that ecumenically-minded churches should work together to make a community “where all the different traditions of faith can work together.”

“If we truly want to transform our communities…we have to work with our ecumenical churches…we can still work together with people who have different traditions of faith,” Pérez reiterated.

The California-Pacific Annual Conference director was concerned that the UMC has isolated itself from ecumenical churches, making it difficult to talk with other denominations. He declared that they need honesty in facing their reality to move forward. 

At the end of the seminar, an audience member asked: “Our wildest dreams are possible. But not everyone shares those dreams…What do we do about that?” 

New Jersey Minister Pérez answered: “I have seen people change their mind, ultra-conservative people who somehow have changed and understand the dynamics of…an inclusive church.”

While Pérez believed people could change their views through conversation, she felt a strong need to tell those who think being LGBTQ is a sin what God is doing in their lives.

Bridgeforth clarified that the affirming churches could not force other people into something they were not ready to understand. He believed that it is possible to be in the right relationship with people who have a different view, “but there has to be mutual respect for folks to believe, to grow, to experience what they need to experience along the journey.”

“As we think about the church and people who don’t share our vision, just knowing that…we [queer-identifying members] live in a big connection and that there are people with so many gifts,” Warren stated.

Warren said that engaging in conversations where he has to defend himself as a gay man is spiritually harmful, arguing that there have to be “some core principles about what it means to be the UMC.” He declared that the principle should be a welcoming doormat that affirms the goodness of everyone to come into a conversation about LGBTQ identity.

“So, I think there’s some room…to have tough conversations; set a safe bar,” Warren concluded.

  1. Comment by Gary Bebop on July 13, 2022 at 1:59 pm

    There’s a longing within what is Queer for reconciliation or completion of the self in community. That longing expresses itself fiercely in machinations to control the destiny of the UMC. The result has been the long march through the opposition. No obstacle of orthodox reasoning has obstructed this march; there’s only the consistent, steady drumbeat against and the displacement of resistance. All plausible sanctuary for orthodox voices of complaint inside the UMC is being eliminated.

  2. Comment by Sandy K on July 13, 2022 at 3:24 pm

    Just how far will the queer contingent of the Church be allowed to continue to spout heresy at the pulpit? Is the move away from this perversion of the Word being stonewalled by the need to collect cash and prizes on the way out the door as the laity is split in two like Solomon’s baby? Will the congregations subject themselves to a humiliation ritual in the form of a public struggle session by the Gay Mafia as a parting gift?

    No one’s taking a stand against these creeps and now members of the church pantomime “being good Christians” by petting the wolves that are intent on devouring them. Righteous men and their families are being driven from the pews every week, week after week. All of the rainbow-colored rationalizations and queer-friendly sloganeering will not save your immortal soul on Judgment Day!

    Stand for something or fall for anything.

  3. Comment by David S. on July 13, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    “Warren believed the UMC could even learn from Episcopalians’ mistakes.”

    I’ve got a suggestion, reverse course, but since these people are not Christians, merely worldly people masquerading as not just Christians, but ones in clerical collars, they will not, because they are blind. We pray that the Holy Spirit will open these people’s eyes and transform their hard-heartedness, but if in God’s will that does not happen, then we pray for their removal in every denomination in which they have found safe harbor.

  4. Comment by Rev. Dr. Lee D Cary (ret. UM clergy) on July 13, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    It’s part time for reality therapy folks. The UMC has died of Wokeness. A funeral is in order.

  5. Comment by Loren J Golden on July 13, 2022 at 8:19 pm

    Nature teaches us that the purpose of sexual intercourse is procreation and the perpetuation of the species.  Period.
    To suggest that two men can mate, or that two women can mate, and produce a child is insane.  To suggest that a male who has undergone surgery and hormone replacement to appear as a female can mate with a male, or that a female who has undergone surgery and hormone replacement to appear as a male can mate with a female, and produce a child is lunacy.
    “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.  And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’
    “So God created man in his own image,
         in the image of God he created him;
         male and female he created them.
    “And God blessed them.  And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.’” (Gen. 1.26-28)
    This is the first commandment recorded in Scripture that God spoke to humanity.  He wanted them to procreate; He wanted them to reproduce.  And His repetition of it to Noah after the Flood (Gen. 9.7) indicates that He expects it still of fallen man.  It is the reason that He gave us sexual intercourse.
    It is nothing short of utter disrespect shown toward God and His created order, when individuals suffering from gender dysphoria—a condition brought on by the Fall—and their advocates should demand that society normalize that condition and treat it as if it were a good and positive condition, as if the sexual perversions that stem from gender dysphoria should be regarded as no worse and no more detrimental than healthy sexual relations between a man and his wife, when it is plain that the highest good that can come from sexual intercourse—the production of new life—cannot come from individuals who spurn either the male/female dichotomy inherent in nature required for reproduction, or their own biological gender, and then act on their incredibly selfish and sinful desires.
    And it is nothing short of madness that portions of the Church of Jesus Christ, founded on the Word of God, should spurn His Word and entertain these self-destructive ideologies!
    And it is not love that you show the sinner when you give approval to his or her sin.
    Nor, for that matter, is it love that you thereby show to God, who created them, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply.”

  6. Comment by Anthony on July 13, 2022 at 8:31 pm

    These people have dropped off the deep end. And, those defending them are going in with them. Liberals are not only saying traditionalists will be welcomed in this big tent, queer denomination but are now going for the absurd and preposterous prize of claiming that the future UMC doctrine, that is now ignored in many places, will not change. That’s just the latest ploy to try and fool traditionalists and retain their MONEY. If this was but a fraction of what these people are claiming, they’d be paying traditionalists to leave with the billions of dollars rolling in from the millions joining this big tent circus.

  7. Comment by Diane on July 13, 2022 at 11:03 pm

    Will take lgbtq folks any day over Those straight Baptist and RC clergy who get off with sexually abusing vulnerable kids and young women. Noticed “Not Christian” is trending since reversal if Roe v Wade. People are just fed up with institutional religion. Once all the old folks die off, there won’t be too many left in churches of any persuasion. Covid was a killer of churches, too.

  8. Comment by Douglas E Ehrhardt on July 14, 2022 at 3:22 am

    If you think sexual deviants don’t abuse vulnerable children you are out of your mind.

  9. Comment by David on July 14, 2022 at 7:06 am

    Some might argue that the earth is already “filled” to perhaps excess.

  10. Comment by Steve on July 14, 2022 at 11:46 am

    You’d have to be deliberately blind to fail to see that the overwhelming number of victims of sexual abuse are male, and that most of them are not children, but sexually mature minors. The now-quaint term “lavender mafia” refers to the network of sexually active gay priests and bishops who cover up for each other.

  11. Comment by Steve on July 14, 2022 at 11:56 am

    The LGBT+ community already has “queer denominations” with literally thousands of churches that they are not going to. The article on this site on the UCC is an example among many.

    It’s not about having a “queer denomination” it’s about having all denominations queer. The Southern Baptists are already starting to struggle with rouge preachers and the GMC will be no different when UMC elders from Duke, Garrett, and other progressive UMC seminaries follow their churches to the GMC. Denominations like the UMC and SBC need to fight back not run off to form new denominations that will have to fight the queer activists later.

  12. Comment by Roger on July 14, 2022 at 4:49 pm

    The Word is not used often but this is an Apostate person in high leadership of the Church. The definition of an Apostate is: One who departs from the faith; but not one from the outward profession of Christianity. Apostasy in the Church is irremediable, and awaits judgment.

  13. Comment by Lynn on July 14, 2022 at 9:03 pm

    Beware of False Teachers From the Word of God, which I am sure the people in this article will try to twist and justify their own warped mentality.
    False teaching preys on the spiritually immature
    False teaching can be the product of distorted interpretations of Scripture by those not firmly established in the truth.
    False teaching grows out of ungodly ambition, ignorance, and conceit.
    False teaching can result from and lead to inappropriate sensuality and sexual immorality.
    False teachers seek to divide the body of Christ.
    False teaching can come from apostates and deviant teachers within the church.
    The above came directly from scripture, the Word of God. Matthew, Jude, 2 Corinthians, Romans, 1 Timothy/ These are a few of the warnings made to God;s people. And surely we are in these times, the devil tries to destroy the church within and seems to be at work with the aforementioned persons in the article.

  14. Comment by Toby on July 15, 2022 at 3:08 am

    Great work Grayson!

  15. Comment by Gary on July 15, 2022 at 2:28 pm

    Why don’t they just go to the UCC or the MCC or the Episcopalians in the first place?

    I don’t care who they sleep with, I really, really don’t. Why do they have to keep shoving it in everyone’s faces?

  16. Comment by Pudentiana on July 15, 2022 at 10:00 pm

    Seems like instead of making the UMC a huge welcome mat, they are making those who abide to the Discilpline into doormats.

  17. Comment by Jim Dukes on July 16, 2022 at 4:06 pm

    Consider these words of Jesus to His disciples, especially after the word but:

    “And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:2-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    Our public and some private schools are “grooming” our children to become sexually aware in pre-k through 12 th grade to change their sexual identification and/or their sexual preference. This is causing our little ones and our future to sin. It is time to begin gathering the millstones!

  18. Comment by George on July 16, 2022 at 8:00 pm

    Fifty years ago, they only asked to not be attacked or be denied basic human rights. Now they point an accusing finger at anyone who fails to not just accept their lifestyle, but promote it as well. It will be a cold day in hell before I worship at the alter of a rainbow flag backdrop. We are all sinners and I will sit next to and worship with other sinners but never will I promote and celebrate the sins.

  19. Comment by John Smith on July 17, 2022 at 8:10 am

    The real fun will be when the UMC is officially “welcoming” & “tolerant” & “inclusive” under the control of the “loving” & “understanding” leaders and the crackdown, purges and purifying start.

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