2013 annual conference witness

June 5-8, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY

It was a watershed year for MIND at annual conference. A new bishop, the advance of rights and public opinion in civil society and the inspiration that Tom Ogletree has sparked  in people served as the backdrop for an increasingly bold call to “do the right thing” and embrace the constructive conflict that God is using to do a new thing in the New York Annual Conference.

hofstra21Highlights from this year’s witness include the presence of  Bishop Melvin Talbert, who was our featured speaker at the MIND lunch and who also hosted a special breakfast for LGBTQ people people of color and allies of color. Tom Ogletree also joined us at the lunch, as did Bishop McLee.

MIND submitted three pieces of legislation for consideration to strengthen the conference’s longstanding dissent from the UMC’s prejudice and discrimination, all three of which passed: Commendation of those who have taken a stand for justiceA single garment of destiny: Global solidarity with LGBT people, and  Boy Scouts of America, United Methodist Men and gay men.

As we do every year at annual conference, we asked everyone to wear a blue armband during the ordination service — the armbands are blue to symbolize tears: tears of joy as we celebrate with those being ordained, and tears of sorrow as we mourn with those who are also called by God but rejected by the church. Friday will once again be our t-shirt day. Those wearing the armband this year included several of the ordinands as well as Bishop Talbert.

Friday was once again be our t-shirt day, when we ask everyone to wear MIND’s signature shirt. For LGBTQ people in the midst of a hostile denomination, the shirt is a lifeline, a beacon signaling safe harbor.