Why we signed

A Covenant of Conscience

“I have signed the Covenant of Conscience because God calls me to love my sisters and brothers – all of them. The full inclusion of LGBT persons is fundamental to the Christian witness to God’s love and justice.  I feel compelled to publicly oppose the denomination I love and work to change it on this issue.” Rev. Jeff Wells, chair, Conference Board of Church and Society and pastor, Community UMC, Massapequa

 “As an openly gay Latino United Methodist, the fact that so many UM clergy, laity and congregations are ready to take a stand for justice through the Covenant of Conscience gives me hope for the future of our denomination and the world.” – Jorge Lockward, chair, NYAC Worship Committee

"In this time of too frequent hate crimes against people of color who are gay and immigrants, the church should respond. Instead of merely hanging my head in shame about the UMC's discriminatory treatment of its lesbian and gay members, I am grateful for the Covenant of Conscience and its witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ who came to set the oppressed free." – Rev. Dr. Traci West, professor of Ethics and African American Studies, Drew University Theological School

“It hurts me immensely to see my LGBT sisters and brothers being ignored, discriminated against and even ostracized.  Signing the Covenant of Conscience is a way for me to say plainly and publicly, ‘Yes, everyone is God's precious creation.’" – Rev. Kun Sam Cho, chair, Board of Ordained Ministry  

"I signed the Covenant of Conscience because it is in line with the teachings of our faith that we are all part of the body of Christ, God created us all, God cares for all of creation, and I must try to live my life consistent with these understandings.”  – Carolyn Hardin Engelhardt, member, NYAC delegation to 2012 General Conference

“It is time! It is time for all of God's children to receive the right hand of fellowship in the United Methodist Church.” – Ernest Swiggett, conference treasurer emeritus

“Our church has struggled with different social issues throughout its history, and God is once again doing a new thing among us, leading us to the day when we will welcome unconditionally all God’s children. That is why I am a proud signer of the Covenant of Conscience.” – Ximena Varas, CLM, chair, NYAC Immigration Task Force and lay leader, Connecticut District

 “Why radical inclusiveness?  Scripture and the Protestant principle propel us to push against the compromising position of our UMC, which puts institutional restrictions on scripture's simple mandate: ‘Love God, love your neighbor as yourself.’ When we see the church saying, ‘No!  Love cannot happen in this way!’ instead of celebrating the sacred commitment persons of faith make to one another, it's time to get back to the Bible, putting the church on the  side of Love.” – Rev. George Engelhardt, retired elder and former district superintendent

“The Covenant of Conscience is the most exciting thing happening in United Methodism today.” – Rev. Doug Cunningham, founding pastor, New Day UMC

“The breadth of God's love is beyond our imagination. It invites us to love without boundaries and to accept all the human manifestations of that love.  Our open acceptance of God's precious gift lived out by the people of God in all and varied ways gives glory of God. May we join the chorus of thanksgiving for the divine gift and celebrate it for all people.” – Rev. Dr. Gennifer Brooks, director of the Styberg Preaching Institute and Styberg associate professor of homiletics, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

“As a United Methodist pastor serving a small rural church in Lyndonville, Vermont in the 1970s , I was convinced that the next urgent social issue for the church was the ‘gay issue.’  I knew where I stood on the issue but I was a very passive activist.  Now is the time.  I sign this covenant to put into practice what I have believed most of my life. We are all God's children.” – Rev. Dr. Mark H. Chatterton, retired elder and former district superintendent

“In Christ we covenant to love all persons as ourselves.  When the full expression of God's love is denied to any member of the body of Christ, the covenant is violated; when done at the denominational level, institutions become the abusers, despite the good intentions of individuals.  We must embody Christ's love by refusing to participate in an offensive aspect of the institutional system. We must extend our ministry to all people. That is why I have signed the Covenant of Conscience.”—Home Missioner Kevin M. Nelson, chair, Methodist Federation for Social Action NYAC chapter

“As a lifelong United Methodist, I have always been painfully aware that while the church wanted my gifts and my service, it did not want me – me as God created me, gay. But the Covenant of Conscience community is creating a new reality, a church that refuses to discriminate, true to Christ’s call to welcome and defend the marginalized and the oppressed, a place where I am finally welcome at the table.” – Dr. Dorothee Benz, chair, Methodists in New Directions

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