A message to the UMC: Resist Harm in response to the postponement of General Conference 2022
The Resist Harm Movement stands firmly within our Wesleyan tradition of the wideness of God’s grace in a broken world in need of Christ’s love. In light of the Traditional Plan passed by the Special General Conference 2019, we cannot remain silent and thereby complicit with legislation that discriminates against LGBTQ persons and that meets pastoral care with punishment.
In a spirit of humility and in a wounded Church of differing convictions, we the people of the Resist Harm movement are compelled to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves and especially as it relates to LGBTQ persons who are the target of the Traditional Plan and other discriminatory provisions in The United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline.
“On entering the house, [the Magi] saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage; …And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their country by another road.” - Matthew 2:11a, 12 (NRSV)
At Christmas, United Methodists celebrate the birth of Jesus as the revelation of God’s inclusive, redemptive love made visible in human flesh. According to John’s gospel, God sent Jesus - the light of the world - so that all of humanity can know the fullness of God’s love.
“Beloved, let us love one another because love is from God: everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love God does not know God, for God is love.” - 1 John 4:7-8 (NRSV)
United Methodists believe that God is Love. We believe that every human heart longs to be loved and to love. We yearn to be assured that God loves us, and we seek to grow in our love for God. Therefore, it is all the more tragic that the inclusiveness of God’s love has become the source of division within our Church.
“The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.” - Luke 22:61-62 (NRSV)
We have no way to count the tears of LGBTQ people whose humanity has been denied by our denomination. The tears of LGBTQ persons whose belonging has been conditioned on their remaining in the closet and hiding who God created them to be. Nor can we report all the hours spent comforting parents lamenting that their LGBTQ children and youth no longer feel wanted or safe in the church of their baptism. There are tears still to shed for stories yet untold.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” - John 8:12 (NRSV)
Jesus is the light of world. The United Methodist Church is not the light. United Methodist clergy are not the light. United Methodist laity are not the light. Jesus is the “light of all people,” “the true light, which enlightens everyone,” the light that is stronger than any darkness in this broken world (John 1:4, 9a, NRSV).
“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” - Acts 1:8 (NRSV)
In this month of General Conference, we have a responsibility and opportunity to witness to the power of God’s unconditional and redeeming love — a love that we have no power to withhold from LGBTQ persons in The United Methodist Church. To that end, our witness must be authentic and Christ-like.
Individuals, small groups, local churches, annual conferences, and other organizations can all participate and lead. Resist Harm offers tools and resources that you are invited to adapt and use in any way that fits your situation. No further permission is required to use the resources on this website. Invite and involve others as a part of the growing movement!
Take care of yourself and others. Limit the spread of the virus by following CDC guidelines. The CDC has a great primer here.
Pray for Christ’s light to shine despite the fear and uncertainly of the global pandemic.
Light a candle to remind you and others that Christ’s light is still present.
Give to your church and other charities to support the ministries that serve the community, especially charities that focus on vulnerable populations.
Share the light of Christ through acts of service. Check on neighbors, church members and friends, especially those who are older adults, people with disabilities or vulnerable in other ways. Remember to follow safe guidelines, but call, text, Facebook message, and speak from a distance to let people know you care.
Help with Meals on Wheels which feeds some of the most vulnerable populations - older adults.
Avoid purchasing items showing the "WIC" label (usually near the price) to ensure that those items are available to those who need them. The WIC Program, or Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children was created to provide nutritious food to low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, as well as infants and children up to 5. If the WIC items are no longer available then a family will not be able to feed their family. Save short supplies for people in need, especially the first of every month when WIC vouchers go out to families.
Donate personal protective equipment (face masks, gowns, gloves) to medical clinics and other health care facilities and people. Make gowns, and masks for people to wear and give them away to protect others.
Care for animals. Make sure you have enough food (and, for cats, litter), check in with elderly neighbors to ensure to ensure their pets are cared for. If neighbors who are quarantined or elderly have animals with medical issues, helping transport their pets to appointments can be crucial. Some animal shelters need people to foster animals during this time. Contact shelters in your area and see how they are dealing with this crisis and how you can help.
Write and call your civic leaders and lobby for Congress to support the most vulnerable. Call your representatives to find out what measures they’re putting in place when it comes to paid sick leave, WIC and SNAP benefits, and other relief efforts for citizens. Ask them what they’re doing to increase access to COVID-19 testing, and how they’re preparing for the weeks and months ahead. Ask about those in prisons and detention facilities and how they are being protected. The General Board of Church and Society has been actively supporting legislation to protect the most vulnerable during the crisis. Learn more here.
Help globally. The General Board of Global Ministries is scaling up its response worldwide. Learn more here.
Share your stories of how you, the people of #ResistHarm, are shining the light of Christ in the world. Share your stories here.
Share your stories of how you, the people of #ResistHarm, are shining the light of Christ into the world. Share your stories here.
Resist Harm is not an organization or a coalition. It has no employees, offices, or overhead. However, it does incur expenses for web infrastructure, promotion, printing, and organizing. We are a movement of volunteers and 100% funded by people and churches like you. Anything you give helps to make this movement more effective. To give, donate at Reconciling Ministries Network’s website and designate “Resist Harm.” 100% of your gift will pay for Resist Harm’s direct costs. RMN has graciously agreed to administer the funds donated for the Resistance movement for no charge.
Is your organization or group working to resist the Traditional Plan? We welcome engagement by all opposed to the Traditional Plan and who seek to resist evil and injustice in all forms. Please complete the following form, and we will add your organization to our growing list of partners.