Press Release - Statement of Inclusion



Epworth United Methodists reaffirm commitment to LGBTQI inclusion following divisive global vote

Church releases public statement in response to Special General Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA - Epworth United Methodist Church, in Berkeley, announces its rejection of the decision at the Special Session of the United Methodist General Conference in February. Epworth will not adhere to the vote or church doctrine which restricts LGBTQI clergy and acceptance.

Epworth’s church council voted this week to speak out against the Special Session vote, issue a public statement and continue to host same-sex weddings and to fully support our gay and lesbian pastors.

The church’s public statement is as follows:

Epworth United Methodist Church in Berkeley welcomes all people to the love of God, including people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. We stand in active resistance to the decisions of the United Methodist General Conference that perpetuate harm to our LGBTQI clergy, members and siblings. We recommit ourselves to being a loving, healing, inclusive and justice-seeking community of faith that affirms and uplifts the sacred worth of all God's children.

“The discrimination and condemnation that many LGBTQI persons face often is justified by a misinterpretation of Christian scripture and tradition,” says Rev. Kristin Stoneking, Epworth’s pastor and one of 111 gay and lesbian clergy to come out at the 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church. “We consider ourselves to be at the frontline of the source of this discrimination and will continue to resist and transform it. Epworth stands in Methodism’s long tradition of calling the church to a renewal of a commitment to love and justice.”

Since 1995, Epworth United Methodist Church has been part of the Reconciling Ministries Network, a national grassroots organization that 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.

Just last year, Epworth also declared itself a Sanctuary Church, standing in solidarity with immigrants and other organizations working on their behalf.

About Epworth United Methodist Church Epworth United Methodist Church is located at 1953 Hopkins St, in Berkeley, California. Our mission is to come together to worship, to study, and to live out God’s love so that we strengthen our Christian faith, develop a creative, supportive community, and encourage each other in our many ministries. We strive to put our faith into action, reaching out to others in need–locally and globally–supporting justice for all people, as we meet needs together in a changing world. We affirm our United Methodist heritage, seek to understand and celebrate our many differences as well as the ties that bind us, and we strive to be a fully inclusive church.

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