Minnesota clergy vow to marry all

Latest effort in growing movement to defy prescribed discrimination in UMC

“We joyfully affirm that we will offer the grace of the Church’s blessing to any prepared couple desiring Christian marriage,” declared a group of clergy from the Minnesota Annual Conference in a statement released at their annual conference meeting last week. The statement (full text below), signed by 40 clergy at the time of the announcement, grew to at least 70 signers by the end of the conference.

The “Equality for All in Christian Marriage” pledge parallels MIND’s Covenant of Conscience and is the latest sign that United Methodists throughout the denomination are increasingly responding to the entrenched ban on gay marriage by simply, boldly and collectively deciding to defy the prescribed discrimination.

Last year, Foundry UMC and Dumbarton UMC, both in Washington, DC, announced official policies of marrying all people. Meanwhile, a network of retired clergy in New England has been performing gay weddings since 1998, and now has over 100 members. Read more on the growing movement throughout the UMC here.

The Minnesota statement comes as MIND’s recruitment for signers on the Covenant of Conscience has exceeded initial expectations, and ought to give an extra boost of encouragement to everyone at the New York Annual Conference meeting this week as we gather and use the opportunity of face-to-face conversations to sign additional supporters.

Here is the full text of the Minnesota statement:

Equality for All in Christian Marriage

Minnesota Annual Conference 2011

We joyfully affirm that we will offer the grace of the Church’s blessing to any prepared couple desiring Christian marriage. We are convinced by the witness of others and are compelled by Spirit and conscience to act. We thank the many United Methodists who have already called for full equality and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the life of the Church.

We repent that it has taken us so long to act. We realize that our church’s discriminatory policies tarnish the witness of the Church to the world, and we are complicity. We value our covenant relationships and ask everyone to hold the divided community of the United Methodist Church in prayer.

Any United Methodist person in Minnesota Conference who conducts Christian marriages is welcomed to sign.

I have chosen to sign the Equality for All in Christian Marriage Statement and I belong to the Minnesota Annual Conference.