I received the following press release (the organizers are clergy colleagues in my annual conference) and thought I would promote it! Clear your calendars for the afternoon/evening of Pentecost and gather a community watch and worship party!
PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW GLOBAL ONLINE METHODIST WORSHIPPING COMMUNITY FOR AND BY LGBTQIA+ PEOPLE AND THEIR ALLIES
Who: Manna: Online Worship For All Methodists
WHAT: Methodist LGBTQIA+ clergy and laity are offering a new worshipping community that launches its first worship service for LGBTQIA+ people and their allies
WHEN: Sunday June 9, 1:00 PM PST – 2:00 PM PST
HOW: Information about the inaugural worship and community can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MethodistManna/
TAGLINE: Manna from heaven for all of God’s people.
The United Methodist Church was recently roiled by a special General Conference in St. Louis and a series of decisions from its Judicial Council, which tightened restrictions against LGBTQIA+ clergy and same-gender weddings. While the denomination is the nation’s largest Mainline denomination and the third largest denomination overall, its 6.95 million US members make up roughly 55.9% of the worldwide church, which numbers over 12.5 million members. This makes the United Methodist Church a global church, something different from most US denominations. Recent developments have left many members wondering if there would be a place for them – a safe place to worship and to find nurturing community. For some, this is a life and death question.
Worried about the harm the church is doing, the Rev. Terri Jane Stewart and The Rev. Katie M Ladd reached out to others around the denomination. They are organizing Manna to offer LGBTQIA+ Methodists and their allies from around the world the opportunity to worship together in real time and to form relationships through a facilitated online community. Its mission is to provide an online worship experience and community with Wesleyan theology that affirms, welcomes, includes, and is led by the Queer/LGBTQIA+ community.
In its inaugural worship on June 9, the sermon will be offered by J.J. Warren and additional leadership will be offered in real time by people in multiple locations around the globe.
“I’m excited that Manna is coming into existence at a critical time within the Methodist movement. I pray that my LGBTQAI siblings are able to find a spiritual home with Manna,” Brian Lee, who identifies as trans-nonbinary.
“It’s a sacred act to seek community over isolation and to work for inclusion in our world which leans heavily toward division. I am truly grateful to witness as Manna dreams new ways of doing both. We are indeed the image of our creative and inclusive God,” Debra Lynn Rodriguez, Artist & Worship Leader, Atlanta, GA
“Connecting to Manna means a lot to me. It gives me hope that there are brothers and sisters out there who cares, who loves and who desires to build up a community of love. My conference is not supportive but am still praying for God to direct me as to what I must do.” Name withheld., nonbinary, elder, Central Conference.
Hope you can join in!