Letters: Statue consecration deserving of coverage

11/20/2007

Editor,
A matter of much interest to United Methodists of Mississippi and elsewhere occurred on Oct. 27 on the Millsaps College campus.  But first a little background: 

In 2005, Millsaps alumnus Lee McCormick, class of 1966, visited the campus and saw the statue of Mahatmas Gandhi, which was a gift to the college from the Indian community of Jackson. He looked around for a statue of John Wesley and was told there wasn’t one. He was inspired to place a statue of John Wesley, founder of Methodism, on the Millsaps campus and set about taking steps to start raising the necessary funds. With many people helping in this endeavor and giving generously, his dream came true. In the dedication ceremony this impressive statue was consecrated by Bishop Hope Morgan Ward and the Rev. Lisa Garvin. 

Having been disappointed that there was no coverage of this “monumental” occasion in the Nov. 7 issue of the Advocate, I bring it to your attention now. Hopefully you will make up for this omission by having pictures and a write-up in the next edition. Thank you.

Janie Carre’ Dale
Greenwood

Editor,
As a life-long Methodist who has seen changes come and go, I feel I must speak out on our church’s recent weak responses to sexuality issues.

First, there was the matter of the associate pastor who “came out of the closet” during a church service in the recent past. Although I haven’t read a final rendition of how this will be settled, the account I read seemed to indicate the Methodist church was agonizing over what to do about this matter. I don’t see the problem in deciding what to do. Our church has a clear-cut, compassionate statement regarding homosexuals: They cannot serve as pastors. As I recall, we believe they are, of course, children of God and loved by him and by us. They are welcome to worship and participate in sacraments of the church, but they cannot be clergy, and the church does not condone homosexual activity-lifestyle.

Now I read in the Advocate that we have accepted a transgender (clergyperson). One reasons was, supposedly, because the church did not have in place a regulation for this kind of thing. I’m sure we did not, but we need to initiate a policy statement now rejecting this kind of lifestyle as suitable for a pastor. The article also states that this transgender person is accepted because the (clergyperson) was in good standing and because that person had to have “due process.” In a quote from the article, we are told that being “transgender” does not matter. Yes, it does. I cannot believe that changing one’s sexual gender is God’s plan for a clergyperson. I cannot believe a congregation can feel inspired or led by such a person. I cannot believe that our church does not allow homosexual clergy but will allow one to “transgender” himself and still be ordained. If the legal process is such that once ordained and in good standing a clergyperson cannot be removed, one must remember that the person ordained is not the same person we have now. This is a “new” person, and it’s unthinkable that the church is so (weak) that it will not take action to have (the person) removed. 

 Last, I also see that, although the church does not approve of homosexual clergy, it will provide benefits for “domestic partners” in such an arrangement. What kind of double-speak is that? Again, the church is failing to live up to its own convictions.

My final rant is to ask what kind of voice do we as members have? From where do these lofty decisions emanate? Church members seem to have little or no voice in the decision-making process of our church; how can we defend such decisions? The answer is, we can’t. I have always viewed my church as my strong foundation; now it has such a huge crack in it that I certainly don’t feel secure, inspired or committed to it. John Wesley must be doing cartwheels in his grave.

Betty Rush Browne
Newton UMC