Union Seminary Alumni Council Supports LGBTQI Clergy

MIND has received a letter written to Bishop Jane Allen Middleton in response to the Call to declare “We Are!” Open letter to the people of The United Methodist Church from the co-chairs of the Alumni/ae Council of Union Theological Seminary, expressing their "deep appreciation for the faithful and courageous witness of the 15 signatories of the Open Letter." 

The letter reads as follows:

Dear Bishop Middleton:

As co-chairs of the Alumni/ae Council of Union Theological Seminary, we are writing to express out deep appreciation for the faithful and courageous witness of the 15 signatories to the "'We Are' Open Letter to the People of the United Methodist Church."

We applaud their determination to call the church to greater inclusivity and hospitality, especially with regard to its LGBTQ leaders and members, and we commit to stand in solidarity with them from within our own faith traditions, offering our support, encouragement, and ongoing prayers that justice and compassion will win the day.

It is a matter of pride that we note that two of the signatories, Bruce Lamb and Lea Matthews, will be graduation this month with their M.Div degrees from Union, and we urge you and other UMC leaders to welcome them as full colleagues in ministry in good standing.

The New York Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church has had a long and impressive record of justice making for LGBTQ and other persons who have straddled against discrimination, oppression, and various forms of injustice. We urge you to keep the faith and continue the struggle, which is of life-and-death importance not only to the 15 who signed the Open Letter, but to all of us. May gospel values prevail!

With best wishes, and in good faith,


Rev. Dr. Seth Pickens '06

Rev. Dr. Linda Thomas '81

You can download the full letter here.


In addition to this letter, Union released the following public statement applauding the "courage and conviction" of the signers, noting that two Union students are among the signers. The statement reads as follows:

Statement from Union Theological Seminary:

The students of Union Theological Seminary have a long history of standing on the cutting edge of faith and justice work. In this tradition, we applaud the courage and conviction of the 15 United Methodist New York Conference clergy and candidates who last week came out as LGBTQI, including two Union students – Lea Matthews and Bruce Lamb. We recognize that in doing so, they challenge the denomination’s ban on openly gay and lesbian clergy, and we celebrate their living witness and recognize their full compatibility with Christian teaching. We are grateful for all they bring to the church and its many ministries.

We support their future ministry and believe that, through their witness, new generations of leaders will be inspired to proclaim the Gospel in a fully inclusive manner. In a day and age when it seems so hard to find hope, they are beacons of light for the future of the church and the world. Their courage is contagious and they show us that the Gospel is truly grand, indeed big enough to hold us all.