This is the video of the Witness that took place on the floor of General Conference. It was very moving experience. I found myself experiencing the Spirit of God during this time in ways I have not felt in a long time. The most powerful part to me was the bishops who were willing to stand to show their acknowledgment of the divide in our church, and the need for change. I found myself unable to control my emotions during this time, and began to cry during a couple occasions during the witness. The first was when the singing began and I saw all of the people standing in unity with those offering the witness, and the other when Bishop Melvin Talbert went to the microphone to offer the following words:
“My name is Melvin Talbert. I am one of your bishops. In this General Conference we have been reminded that in 1939 this church took an action that separated my sisters and brothers into a separate jurisdiction. That action was wrong. That action was a sin against God. Thank God we have moved through and discontinued that segregated structure. But my sisters and brothers, here we are again. In the name of Jesus Christ, we have taken an action that is wrong. At least for the Central Jurisdiction we remained within a structure and we worked out the relationships. But for these sisters and brothers we have chosen to leave them out rather than invite them into work out our relationships in the name of Christ. I can do no other than to say what’s on my heart. General Conference, General Conference, This is wrong. I invite you to reconsider.”
When the vote first occurred on the issues around sexuality, I felt an urge to be angry and finally leave the denomination. I knew that I had a place in the UCC, and would be more than comfortable there. As this witness occurred, and I spoke to people who were also struggling with these stances, I realized the need to stay and work for justice. I am able to be ordained because my sexual orientation is accepted by the church, and I can work for change within the system. I pray that we may be able to be an open church for all people, and realize that above all things, Love is the call of God.
I’ll have other reflections over the next few weeks, but I started with this one.
Grace and Peace,