I am Ophelia Hu Kinney (she/her), a queer United Methodist lay leader serving HopeGateWay in Portland, Maine, the Communications Specialist at Reconciling Ministries Network, and a member of the New England Annual Conference. I grew up an atheist in a non-Christian household, became a Christian as an adult, and joined The United Methodist Church when I found a church that I could call home – a church that has been unabashedly queer- and trans-affirming since its inception. Our mostly queer leadership gets to co-create an experience of worship and community that is growing and giving. Belonging should not be so rare in an institution formed in the way of Jesus.
I'm called to Resist Harm because resistance is my inheritance and my responsibility. My Christian faith descends from a foundation of resistance, and my faithfulness depends on my willingness to lean into Christ's call to resist empire, even when – and perhaps especially when – it comes from within the Church. The empire we face now is seeded in part by an organization that has for decades worked to sabotage racial justice, anti-poverty, and anti-misogyny work in mainline Christian denominations. Its apologists include religious leaders charged to tend their flocks but devoted instead to fear-based interpretations of power and scripture.
I'm called to Resist Harm because we must. My queerness is not only an identity but also a command: to stay this course of duty because, no matter the state of The United Methodist Church come General Conference 2020, LGBTQ people will continue to wonder if their Creator loves them as they were created. That's why I belong to the Resist Harm effort.
On my best days, I believe in living today the Church we long to experience tomorrow. Because no General Conference will atone for our sins. No Judicial Council ruling will right what is wrong. No single plan or proposal will usher in God's justice. No one is coming to save us. We cannot wait and see. We cannot hope to be given by empire the justice for which we yearn. My queer, Christian, and Asian American ancestors taught me that. This is a moment, broken wide open with the pain of LGBTQ United Methodist clergy and their allies, into which God is calling us to co-author Her kin-dom. The well is bottomless, and the ink has yet to dry. By the power of your baptism, you are authorized to pen the future. So, what do you say?