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Central United Methodist Church

Being Gay is a Gift From God Campaign Info

Being Gay is a Gift from God Campaign

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View WELCOME VIDEO

Why this Campaign?

Being Gay is a Gift From God with Central United Methodist Church Toledo“Being Gay is a Gift from God”

This simple statement is intended to be a gift to those who have experienced hurt and discrimination because of their real or perceived sexual orientation.  The Church seeks nothing less than the healing of the world, and Central UMC wants to offer words and acts of healing to those hurt and marginalized.

Also, declaring that being gay is a gift from God is a prophetic call to the Church to get out of the business of marginalizing gay and lesbian persons from the Church, and to welcome them as full members.

COMMUNITY CAMPAIGN: “Being Gay is a Gift from God”

The purpose of this campaign is 1) to offer welcome to all persons who are gay; 2) to challenge the larger Church to fully accept persons who are gay into the life of the Church; and 3) to call on all people to bring all the gifts of who they are to God.

Monday, April 25, 2011, is the official launch of the campaign with an electronic billboard at Monroe Street and Sylvania Avenue, as shown below:

Being Gay is a Gift from God BILLBOARD - Toledo, Ohio - Montroe St. and Sylvania Ave.

photo of electronic billboard (at night) at Monroe and Sylvania, Toledo, OH

 

Being Gay is a Gift from God BILLBOARD

graphic of electronic billboard at Monroe and Sylvania

download POSTER with billboard graphic (PDF file)

 

"Being Gay is a Gift from God" billboard with Rev. Bill Barnard, Oretha Lawson, and Dan Rutt, from Central United Methodist Church

Rev. Bill Barnard, Oretha Lawson, and Dan Rutt

(photo courtesy of Toledo Blade)

read Toledo Blade story on “Being Gay is a Gift from God” campaign.

View local TV news coverageTV-11 TV-13

GET INVOLVED!

 

Join us for 10:45 am Sunday worship:

on the theme, “Being gay is a gift from God,” May 8-29, and “Being YOU is a gift from God,” June 5-26.

Join us for Bible study:

“Clobber Passages: What the Bible says (and doesn’t say) about being gay,” Wednesdays, 7:00 pm, May 18 – June 8.

Directions and Map to Central


Distribute campaign materials:

 

Download free posters:

Being Gay is a Gift from God POSTER

download:

POSTER – Rainbow flame cross (PDF file)
POSTER – Rainbow flame cross – EVENTS listed (PDF file)

Being Gay is a Gift from God POSTER - Billboard graphic

download:

POSTER – Billboard Graphic (PDF file)

POSTER – Billboard Graphic – EVENTS listed (PDF file)

 

Buy magnetic bumper stickers, t-shirts, buttons, caps and mugs:

 

Buy campaign items online

Being Gay is a Gift from God MAGNETIC BUMPER STICKER

3″ X 10″ Magnetic Bumper Sticker

$3.00

Being Gay is a Gift from God T-SHIRT, MUG, CAP

Premium T-shirt, $10.00

Mug, $5.00

Cap, $5.00

Being Gay is a Gift from God BUTTON-PIN 2-3/8″ Button-Pin, $1.00

These product offerings are made in partnership with TopPun.com — Maximizing Prophets,

whose Soul Proprietor is a proud member of Central UMC and the proud creator of the largest gay pride design collection on the web.

or, come to an event and get a free button!

Start a conversation about the issues raised by this campaign:

Download campaign overview and/or a more detailed campaign rationale:

Campaign Overview – 2-page campaign overview (PDF file)

Campaign Rationale – 4-page campaign rationale (PDF file)

Invite someone from our Speakers’ Bureau to come to your church or group:

e-mail office@centraltoledo.org or call 419-241-7729, to set up a speaker for your church, group, or event.

Get informed — learn more about Christ-like responses to homosexuality:

Check out these web resources:

Reconciling Ministries Network – The Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) is a growing movement of United Methodist individuals, congregations, campus ministries, and other groups working for the full participation of all people, regardless of sexual orientation, in the United Methodist Church.

Retired United Methodist Bishops Statement counseling acceptance of gay clergy — a thoughtful reflection on moving past discrimination against gay clergy.  Black Methodists for Church Renewal endorsed this statement, and nine African American scholars and clergy issued a further statement to statement to move past church bigotry and fully accept LGBT persons.

Soulforce on what the Bible says – and doesn’t say – about homosexuality — a Scriptural overview about understanding homosexuality that does not lead to condemnation.

Get updates about Central and this campaign:

e-mail office@centraltoledo.org or call 419-241-7729, and ask to be put on our e-mail list and/or mailing list.

Visit our facebook page and make a comment, and “Like” us.

Donate to keep the campaign going:

The electronic billboard costs approximately $50 per day.  If you would like to contribute toward additional days of running this billboard, you can donate to Central online through PayPal (which also allows credit card payments even if you don’t have a Paypal account):

Or, you can mail a check to:                                          Note purpose as “gift of God”

Central United Methodist Church
2108 Collingwood Blvd, Ste 210
Toledo, OH 43620

 

WHY THIS CAMPAIGN?

 

CAMPAIGN OVERVIEW (download Campaign Overview as 2-page PDF file)

 

Who are we?

 

Central United Methodist Church (CUMC) is a community of people young and old, gay and straight, in committed relationships and single, from all sorts of faith backgrounds (from traditional churches to no church at all) who come together to live out our mission to do justice, practice kindness, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).  Central is a founding member of the Reconciling Ministries Network, which is the United Methodist movement for gay equality in the denomination.  CUMC has a fruitful history of over a quarter-century of connecting persons who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) and straight allies with the body of Christ.

What is the purpose of this campaign?

 

The purpose of this campaign is 1) to offer welcome to all persons who are gay; 2) to challenge the larger Church to fully accept persons who are gay into the life of the Church; and 3) to call on all people to bring all the gifts of who they are to God.

 

How did we get to this place?

 

Central has seen God speak over time to the Church in its life.  In responding to God’s growing revelation, we have been leaders in working for justice and reconciliation in overcoming racism and sexism.  We see overcoming heterosexism as a natural extension of this work.

By welcoming and living in community with faithful Christians who happen to be gay, we have come to understand that being gay is part of who God made them to be, and by gay Christians bringing all that they are to God, the body of Christ has been strengthened.  In fact, we would experience the body of Christ as incomplete without LGBT persons.

We recognize that the Church is divided over interpretation of Scripture related to homosexuality.  However, we know that Jesus did not speak directly regarding homosexuality and that the Church, Scripture, and Jesus’ life are much more united on outreaching love toward those hurting, justice for those marginalized and disenfranchised, and humility before God and one another when working out our life together.  In this light, we see the marginalization of persons who are LGBT as unjustified.

We seek to reflect the diversity of God’s creation.  We see this demonstrated first in the Trinity itself, then in God’s grace evident in the abundant variety of nature around us, and then in the creative and mysterious way that varieties of gifts are distributed among us as humans.

Given the overwhelming scientific evidence that people are born with their sexual orientation, that it is not a choice, we see that holding people morally responsible for matters in which they have no control is irrational and immoral.  Discriminating against or condemning people who have a God-given personal characteristic, whether it be race, gender, or sexual orientation, undermines calls to personal and social responsibility, to those very matters which do require human choice. The sin is in denying who God created us to be – because it is in that denial that we feel shameful and not worthy of God’s love, or anyone else’s.  We stand against this sin.

We live out our mission to do justice, practice kindness, and walk humbly with God, by welcoming all persons, regardless of their sexual orientation, by actively listening to the experiences of faithful Christians who happen to be gay, and by working for the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the life of the Church.

Both LGBT persons and straight allies, when we live in accordance with how God has created us, experience reconciliation to God and each other; and we want this for all people.

 

How are we getting this message out?

 

We are taking the message that being gay is a gift from God to the community through:

· mass media such as billboards and news outlets;

· mini-media such as flyers, posters, bumper stickers, t-shirts, and buttons;

· creating opportunities for face-to-face-conversations such as presence at community events and a speakers’ bureau

· worship experiences around the theme, “Being gay is a gift from God,” and around the larger theme, “Being you is a gift from God;”

· a Bible study on “Clobber Passages: What the Bible says (and doesn’t say) about being gay.”

· providing easily-accessible resources to those wanting to learn more about Christ-like responses to homosexuality.

The campaign launch date is April 25, 2011, and most campaign events and activities will be concentrated over the ensuing several months.

 

How can you help?

 

You can help out by displaying and/or distributing campaign materials; participating in, promoting, or organizing campaign events and activities; having conversations with others about this campaign and the issues it lifts up; and/or contributing to the costs of the electronic billboard which costs approximately $50 per day (online donating available).

 

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CAMPAIGN RATIONALE (download Campaign Rationale as a 4-page PDF file)

Central is a founding member of the Reconciling Ministries Network, which is the United Methodist movement for gay equality in the denomination.  CUMC has a fruitful history of over a quarter-century of connecting persons who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) and straight allies with the body of Christ.

Current Reality and Environment

As Christians…

· We believe that Jesus is God made real in the world. We learn what God is like and what God wants for human community by listening to what Jesus taught and watching what Jesus did.  When there is any conflict among teachings in Scripture, our primary source of authority is what Jesus said and did.

· We seek to reflect the diversity of God’s creation. We see this demonstrated first in the Trinity itself, then in God’s grace evident in the abundant variety of nature around us, and then in the creative and mysterious way that varieties of gifts are distributed among us as humans.

· We believe that all are God’s beloved. Jesus’ example shows this clearly.  Both those whom society rejects and those who flaunt and abuse their power are nonetheless beloved of God.

· Jesus broke down the walls that divide us. We find nothing in what Jesus said or did that diminishes the worth of anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation or suggests that differing sexual orientations are to be seen as unnatural or needing to be remedied.

As United Methodists…

…we ascribe to four ways in which God reveals God’s self to us: Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason.  Each contributes to our understanding and experience of who God is and how God has acted in the past is acting now and will act in the future.  This Wesleyan quadrilateral attests that  “the living core of the Christian faith was revealed in Scripture, illumined by tradition, vivified in personal experience, and confirmed by reason.”

Scripture

· The Church is divided over interpretation of Scripture related to homosexuality. Some say that homosexuality is a sin which must be overcome or not expressed.  We believe that our sexuality (whether heterosexual or homosexual) is a gift from God, yet another way in God’s infinite diversity, in which God created us to be.  The sin is in denying who God created us to be – because it is in that denial that we feel shameful and not worthy of God’s love, or anyone else’s.

· Jesus did not speak directly regarding homosexuality. Nonetheless, we have the authority of what Jesus said and did to help us discern the truth elsewhere in Scripture where interpretations are divided.

· The issues on which the Church is more united should carry us into the future. The Church, Scripture, and Jesus are more united on outreaching love toward those hurting, justice for those marginalized and disenfranchised, and humility before God and one another when working out our life together.

Check out Soulforce on what the Bible says – and doesn’t say – about homosexuality for a Scriptural overview about understanding homosexuality that does not lead to condemnation.

Tradition

· God speaks over time to the Church in its life. The Church has accepted growing revelation throughout its history.  The Church has worked to overcome sexism and racism, which were once the norm.  The Church has struggled and will continue to struggle with these and other “isms” as it lives into the Kingdom of God.  Check out this statement by Black UM clergy and scholars to move past church bigotry and fully accept LGBT persons, much like Blacks and women have been accepted as equals in church history.

· CUMC has a fruitful history of over a quarter-century of connecting LGBT and straight allies with the body of Christ. CUMC is a founding member of the Reconciling Ministries Network, which is the United Methodist movement for gay equality in the denomination

Experience – a Christian’s personal and communal journey in Christ.

· God is not done speaking to us. God speaks to our lives through the Holy Spirit.  We must continue listening.

· Faithful Christians who are gay have come to accept that being gay is part of who God made them to be and they have brought all that they are to God.

· These faithful gay Christians have inspired and strengthened others to bring all that they are to God. This strengthens the Church.  In fact, the Church, the body of Christ, is incomplete without LGBT persons.

Reason – rational thinking and sensible interpretation.

Read more about the American Psychological Association’s statement on trying to change sexual orientation and other statements regarding LGBT issues, and the American Medical Association’s statement that opposes, the use of “reparative” or “conversion” therapy and other LGBT issues.

As Central United Methodists…

…our mission is to do justice, practice kindness, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).

We Do Justice

· One way we do justice is by working for the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the life of the Church. Our faith community shares the Good News of the Gospel with all.  Especially those who are ostracized by society and other faith communities.  We educate ourselves about injustice, and recognize our own areas of privilege, so we can better relate to communities in need. Through advocacy and direct action, we work to change systems.  In addition, we respond to particular needs through ministries of prayer, service, and financial support.

We Practice Kindness

· One way we practice kindness is by welcoming all persons, regardless of their sexual orientation, to participate fully in the spiritual journey of Christ’s faith community. It is our core belief that all people are beloved children of God.  In Central United Methodist, we create an atmosphere of love, respect, and compassion for all.  And our practice of kindness empowers us to reach outside our church walls to everyone around us.

We Walk Humbly with God

· One way we walk humbly with God is by actively listening to the experiences of faithful Christians who happen to be gay. Our faith community centers us towards a personal relationship with God.  We support each other in developing a spiritual life through worship, prayer, study groups, and retreats.  We encourage daily prayer, weekly Sabbath, frequent sharing of experiences of God and regular fasting.  By connecting to God, we are drawn closer to one another and are inspired to share the Good News of the Gospel.

In short,

 

Get Involved!