|Our journey supporting GLBT rights in the UMC|
|On June 20, 2002, over 100 members and participants from our congregation of about 150 met together, to consider our response to Pastor Mark E. Williams' public statement that he is a gay man in ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church.* That night we voiced our undivided support for Mark Williams, and asked to retain him in ministry to our congregation, as an ordained pastor in good standing.
Our church made this commitment with the understanding that this issue is not only about asserting the worthiness of Mark Williams for pastoral ministry. Through our stance we are also confronting the injustice of the presumption of unworthiness inherent in our denomination's refusal to appoint openly gay men and lesbian women to ordained Christian ministry.
We publicly re-affirm this commitment. We acknowledge that, by our actions on that night, we have chosen to consciously begin this journey of faith and justice-seeking. On this journey we accompany and support Mark Williams. We also travel, identified as a United Methodist congregation and as a community. Individual members of our community are at different points on this journey. We all struggle to learn, to deepen spiritually, and to grow in understanding in response to the mysteries of human sexuality, God's creation, and God's relationship with us. In the United Methodist tradition we use the means and resources recommended to us: Holy Scripture, Reason, Tradition and Experience.
We value the love and community we have together, and are dedicated to the many ministries and missions of our church. While not uniform, concern for the injustice of not ordaining gay men and lesbian women is widespread in our congregation. For many the response is passionate. We seek to respond faithfully to God's call, in this time and this place, to speak out in the face of injustice and oppression, particularly when it is done in God's name within our own denomination.
Woodland Park is now a member of the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN).
We welcome the support of those who journey with us through your prayers, your presence, your gifts, and your service.
*The United Methodist denomination prohibits appointment of clergy who are "self-avowed, practicing homosexuals." However, because Mark Williams is a pastor "in good standing," church law also gives him the right to an appointment. PNW Conference Bishop Elias Galvan has decided to appoint Seattle District Superintendent Robert Hoshibata as our pastor on an interim basis, until Judicial Council rules on this case. Mark Williams continues in an employed ministerial capacity with our church, as 'Minister of Congregational Life.'