Growing numbers of United Methodists are actively resisting the harm caused by anti-LGBTQ+ policies and practices of the United Methodist Church. With three months until General Conference convenes in Charlotte, North Carolina, the movement is making a difference in communities across the denomination, and for our direction as a United Methodist Church. 

As we prepare for General Conference, we continue to collect and share descriptions of the harm that is caused by the church, as well as testimonies of faithfulness and inclusion. We have renewed energy for providing resources for worship and prayer, for advocacy and direct action, as we continue to embody the fullness of the grace of Jesus Christ, which comes to all, without exception. We invite others to join our movement--sharing their stories and speaking up about our desire to stop harm against LGBTQ+ people in our communities.

The Resist Harm movement was launched in the wake of General Conference 2019, during which our denomination added even more harmful, anti-LGBTQ+ policies to our Book of Discipline. The movement gained quick momentum among United Methodists who wanted to clarify that these hateful and exclusionary decisions were out of sync with the Gospel. Resist Harm sought to give assistance to folks in actively resisting this harm, and mitigating its consequences. 

In the weeks and months after that 2019 General Conference, the voice of faithful resistance was heard. Across the denomination, the cruel rules we adopted have not been widely enforced, as a vast majority of our Bishops have held complaints in abeyance. Instead, local churches and Conferences have stepped out in new and bold ways, clarifying that we understand the Gospel call to welcome all in our churches. We have now, for the first time, an organized Queer Delegate Caucus, a reflection of the commitment of Annual Conferences in electing and sending leaders to General Conference that reflect the diversity of the church and our recognition that LGBTQ+ folks are already faithful leaders in our midst.

Now, as we prepare for General Conference, we continue to seek a faithful way forward, knowing that we cannot continue to perpetuate harm. We are grateful for the faithful work of partner organizations and groups, who offer their particular wisdom and labor to this work in the denomination. We are excited by new partners who join this movement, and also by the long faithfulness of those who have been engaged for decades, like the Reconciling Ministry Network. We encourage those who would join us to take a next step--one that makes sense for you and your context--as we each play a part in the long work toward justice.

The Resist Harm movement continues to have three goals:

  1. To stand in solidarity against harmful and discriminatory UMC practices and language and in shared witness as a Church committed to justice for and in ministry with all persons.
  2. To raise the visibility of United Methodists who seek a church that affirms all ages, nations, races, classes, cultures, gender identities, sexual orientations and abilities.
  3. To support those directly experiencing harm because of the discriminatory and punitive provisions of the Traditional Plan.

The group has launched ResistHarm.com to support individuals, local groups and churches who also oppose the church’s anti-LGBTQ stance. The website contains tools and resources on prayer, worship, education, direct action, clergy support, and social media use. The website will be updated regularly.

Many groups within the United Methodist Church have signed on to support Resist Harm, including UMCNext, Reconciling Ministries Network, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Mainstream, Uniting Methodists, Western Methodist Justice Movement, UM Scholars, All Belong, Affirmation, and the Love your Neighbor Coalition.

In the wake of a postponed General Conference and a continued pandemic, we are urgently called again to the work of Christ – in all the ways we can. Ever more clearly, we discern the disconnect between the logistics of our gathering and the call of the gospel. 

The institutional fight to enshrine anti-LGBTQ+ policies in the Church has not only distracted us from hope-filled work, but it has caused great harm to LGBTQ+ people in our churches and communities, as well as their families and friends.

In a spirit of humility and in a wounded Church of differing convictions, we the people of the #ResistHarm movement call upon our United Methodist kin to resist apathy and practice enduring love. We are impelled to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves, and especially as they relate to LGBTQ+ persons who are the explicit target of the Book of Discipline’s discriminatory provisions. Specifically:

  1. We call on Bishops and Annual Conferences to hold in faithful abeyance anti-LGBTQ+ complaints related to the celebration of Christian marriage with LGBTQ couples and those related to the ordination and ministry of LGBTQ+ clergy.

  2. We call on local churches and Annual Conferences to “continue the mission of seeking, welcoming and gathering persons into the community of the body of Christ” (BOD, 122), including people of all ages, races, gender identities, and sexual orientations.
     

As we wait until we can gather together safely as a global Church, we do not have to wait to be the Church. Building relationships across our connection, we honor and acknowledge our similarities and differences, and commit to our ongoing work dismantling racism and colonialism. Together let us persist in offering Christ-like mercy and working for justice; deepening lives of devotion and drawing communities together in worship.


French translation: TO COME
Portuguese translation: https://bit.ly/ResistHarm2022_Portuguese

To sign on, visit: https://bit.ly/ResistHarm2022Sign

People of the United Methodist Church from diverse places around the globe have signed on to this message: lay people and clergy, including delegates to General Conference 2020, young people, Bishops, and leaders at all levels of the church. The movement to Resist Harm continues to grow.

Click here to view signatures: https://bit.ly/ResistHarm2022

The United Methodist Church is expected to split into two separate denominations later this year.

One will be “traditionalist methodist” and will continue to oppose same sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy, while the remaining portion would recognize both for the first time in the church’s history.

The move comes as church leaders hope to end a contentious impasse that's been going on for years within the nation's third largest religious denomination.

For the last two years, worshippers Victor Self and Chris Fraley have been spending Sundays mornings with their daughters, Coco and Kiki, at Los Angeles First United Methodist Church.

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A campus minister at George Mason University is facing possible punishment in the United Methodist Church for officiating at a same gender wedding. Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports.

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For immediate release: December 5, 2019 (updated December 9, 2019)
Contact: Pat Luna, 334-202-9440, patluna@me.com
Download this as a PDF.

Resist Harm movement kicks-off, launches web tool for faithful resistance to the anti-LGBTQ Traditional Plan.

United Methodist Church leaders have come together under the moniker Resist Harm to oppose the discriminatory Traditional Plan through prayer, education, direct action, clergy support, and more, and they are asking others to join them.

“The church's stance against LGBTQ people results in cruelty, discrimination, isolation and spiritual exile,” said Pat Luna, one of the leaders of Resist Harm. “We believe that the call of Christ to the Church is expressed in our baptismal vows to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves, so we are taking a stand.”

The Resist Harm movement has three goals:

The group has launched ResistHarm.com to support individuals, local groups and churches who also oppose the church’s anti-LGBTQ stance. The website contains tools and resources on prayer, worship, education, direct action, clergy support, and social media use. The website will be updated regularly.

The Traditional Plan, adopted narrowly by delegates at this year’s United Methodist Special General Conference, mandates that clergy who are found guilty by trial of performing one same-sex wedding, regardless of circumstances, are suspended for a minimum of one year without pay. The second time, they are stripped of their credentials. The plan also prohibits bishops from ordaining “self-avowed” homosexuals and places additional punitive measures in the already discriminatory Book of Discipline, singling out LGBTQ persons for harm.

Same-sex marriage is legal in the United States and is supported by a majority of Americans, according to a 2019 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center. LGBTQ affirmation is also a safeguard against harm. According to The Trevor Project in 2018, youth who report having at least one LGBTQ-affirming adult were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year.

Many groups within the United Methodist Church have signed on to support Resist Harm, including UMCNext, Reconciling Ministries Network, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Mainstream, Uniting Methodists, Western Methodist Justice Movement, UM Scholars, All Belong, Affirmation, and Love your Neighbor Coalition with more joining weekly.

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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.

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Resist Harm Partners

Resist Harm is organized by everyday United Methodists in every corner of the connection and is supported by a number of organizational partners.* To learn more about our partners, visit their websites:
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*The tools, resources, and opportunities posted on Resist Harm have been suggested by people or organizations associated with the movement. They are not necessarily endorsed by all of the partners.
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