January 2020

Resist

“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.

But in 1972, United Methodist leaders voted that LGBTQ persons are not truly a part of God’s “people” we read about in Scripture. In fact, General Conferences over the years have limited clergy more and more from extending grace to LGBTQ persons. This means that, in order to be in good standing, United Methodist clergy are required to do harm in the name of Jesus.

Lest we forget, God has called and equipped all United Methodists, clergy, and lay, “to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.”

These days, they present themselves to the LGBTQ community in the forms of rejection, bullying, exclusion, trauma, cruelty, ridicule, abandonment, discrimination, isolation, spiritual exile, and sometimes even death. Some United Methodist clergy have resisted inflicting this harm and have paid a price for doing so, including facing charges and punishment. Some of their names are listed on this website.

These faithful resistors, like the Magi of Epiphany, chose a different path from the one ordered for them. This is our call: do likewise. We must hope that other United Methodist clergy will be encouraged and strengthened to do the same through the resources and opportunities of the Resist Harm movement.

January Advocacy Ideas

Worship Resources

Call To Worship: No Such Law

This Call to Worship prayer was shared by the Reconciling Ministries Network as part of the #NoSuchLaw guide, designed for use in local churches in anticipation of a Judicial Council ruling regarding several issues of consequence to LGBTQ+ clergy, including the election of Bishop Karen Oliveto.

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Prayer of Lament

This prayer is shared by permission of M Barclay, Co-Founder and Executive Director of enfleshed, a nonprofit creating and facilitating resources of spiritual nourishment for collective liberation. Visit enfleshed.com for additional resources.

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Recommitment of Baptismal Vows

Reaffirming our baptismal commitments to resisting evil, injustice and oppression is a powerful way to ground our call to resist harm sacramentally; we think it would be especially powerful at the start of the new year.

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Blessing for Marriages (during Sunday worship)

First UMC in Austin, TX uses this blessing during Sunday worship to as a way of praying for all couples. It's designed for use with same-sex couples as well as opposite-sex couples.

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Collection of hymns at queersacredmusic.com

These hymns may be used as appropriate in worship; some of the rounds could be sung at protests. Congregations are welcome to modify lyrics to enhance inclusion as desired.

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Blessing for a New Year

This Blessing is a part of the library of free liturgical resources available on enfleshed.com.

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Wesley’s Covenant Prayer, revised

This prayer was designed for use in a post-Christian context, with updated, accessible language. You can read more behind the author's intent on his blog, http://hackingchristianity.net/2016/12/wesleys-covenant-prayer-in-a-post-christian-context.html.

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Act of Resistance Rainbow Processional

This idea comes from Los Altos UMC in Long Beach, California, USA.

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January Sermon Series: Resisting Evil, Injustice and Oppression in 2020

A group of six Omaha-area Reconciling (or actively discerning) churches have joined together to promote a shared sermon series in January 2020. We will all share advertising/promoting, based on our United Methodist baptismal covenant.

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Liturgical Greetings

These liturgical greetings are to be used at the beginning of a worship service and can be led by a liturgist or a clergyperson. Each greeting contexts the service with inclusive words of hospitality.

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January Song Suggestions

These suggestions are of songs and song books that give voice to our January theme: Resist.

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Epiphany Resist Harm Worship Graphics

These graphics are available to use for Epiphany-themed worship.

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Epiphany Communion Prayer

Created by enfleshed.com. Free to use with attribution to the author.
This Communion Prayer is a part of the library of free liturgical resources available on enfleshed.com.

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Epiphany Worship, with baptismal renewal, letter-writing & story telling

These practical suggestions and advice are shared to help you plan worship that's attentive to your context and connected to our movement.

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Jan 5 , 2020 Resist Harm Worship Service

Three similar worship services will be happening in Oklahoma the evening of January 5 as a way to bring our community together and make a statement that the harm inflicted by the Traditional Plan is not acceptable. Through this worship service we will lament, resist, act and hold tightly to hope.

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Epiphany Resistance image

This could be used on PPT, bulletin covers, FB, signs, etc
Jpeg available on ResistHarm website or save pdf as a jpeg

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Epiphany desert image

For Epiphany with the theme #ResistHarm
Magi were already complicit in a system of oppression but now have a choice of how to proceed from here. They choose to minimize harm even if it means going out of their way. How can we go out of our way to resist and minimize harm in an oppressive context.

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#ResistHarm Signs

Signs are available at resistharm.com's Communication tools section. They may be printed on church printer or sent to a print shop. One church has printed them on dry erase boards and another made yard signs. The blanks give people the chance to especially love the people they know.

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Celebration of Our Diversity and Resistance to Harm

Worship service involving a diversity of people in the community including many people from the LGBTQ community.

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Covenantal Celebration of Holy Marriage

Use as a separate vow renewal service

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A Liturgy for the Festival of the Christian Home: A Blessing for All People and All Families

This Blessing of Families liturgy, in which we, as individuals, couples, families of choice and families with children, are invited to come forward to be anointed. This ritual as a way to recognize the covenant relationships that existed, but had never had the opportunity of being blessed.

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Water Image

This PDF file can be easily converted to a jpeg file

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Blessing of Unions

Use this resource to get ideas on how you could do a vow renewal service/family blessing service. This is a full worship service with Prayer of Confession, Proclamation, Great Thanksgiving and Family Blessing.

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Other Posts

Resist Harm Movement Kicks Off

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, […]
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A Short History of Resistance

Resisting evil, injustice, and oppression is integral to our spiritual DNA as United Methodists. It’s part of our Scriptural story, our church tradition, our Wesleyan heritage, and our denominational future.
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I am Ophelia Hu Kinney

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 […]
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December 29–January 4

Loving God, resisting evil, injustice, and oppression in all of its forms is hard work and I often feel small and fearful. May your love abolish my fear and replace my wavering with unfaltering courage. May your strength annihilate my feebleness. Give me the boldness to step forward with full courage to call the Church […]
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January 5-11

Almighty God, you know the heart and mind of every person, and (yet) you love them, including me. As I seek to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in all its forms, may I never resist your love, wherever it is to be found and however it shows up. Grant me the strength and clarity to […]
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January 12-18

Inviting God, give us grace to hear and respond to your invitation to be co-creators with you in the cause of justice and peace-making, through the practice of nonviolent resistance and the ministry of reconciliation. Amen. Scripture Readings (Common English Bible) Sunday: 2 Chronicles 35:20-21 Monday: Isaiah 59-14-20 Tuesday:  Matthew 5:7-10 Wednesday:  Acts 5:27-29 Thursday: […]
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January 19-25

Overcoming God, who brings light out of darkness, hope out of despair, and life out of death, give us the strength to overcome evil with good, to defeat hatred with love, and to eliminate discrimination with inclusion. Give us the strength to endure hardship, misunderstanding, and opposition, so that the fruit of the Spirit may […]
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January 26–February 1

Loving and holy God, when you set a task before us, you do not leave us to labor alone. Thank you for the presence and power of your Holy Spirit who empowers us and enables us to persevere in the face of challenge. Give us steadfast hearts and minds towards the day ahead, surround us with your […]
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I am Rev. David Meredith

Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Rev. 22.20 In the waning hours of Advent, this is my prayer. Often it is that the final edit of the Christmas Eve message is saved and printed. Often it is that the final substitution of personnel for the Christmas Eve services has been settled. Often it is that the […]
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I am Karen Garcia Prudente

My name is Karen Garcia Prudente (ako/ikaw/tayo), a queer lay member of Christ Church United Methodist (NYC) where one thrives as a beloved child of God. I served as Chair of Methodist in New Directions (MIND) and stood on the GC2019 floor, as a member of the NYAC delegation, to affirm The Simple Plan which […]
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I am Rev. Dr. Valerie Jackson

I am Rev. Dr. Valerie L. Jackson (she, her, hers) and I am an apologetic Womanist homiletician; visionary faith and community leader; and author. As an ordained elder in the United Methodist church, I live into my calling as a voice for uncensored and unconditional love, inclusion, justice and fullness of life for all human […]
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Events

Meeting with Bishop Graves

On January 6th a group of laity and clergy will be meeting with Bishop Graves. This meeting has been set up with Bishop Graves for 9:00 AM. We appreciate Bishop Graves meeting with us even though he is hosting the SEJ Bishops later that day. Please join us as we meet with him, ask him to be supportive of a more inclusive church, ResistHarm, and so many United Methodists who are opposed to the Traditional Plan and the other discriminatory language of The Discipline. We will also ask him if we could pray for him. This is a difficult time! We need as many people as possible to participate! Please come and be supportive!

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Great Plains Resist Harm Kickoff

We will gather for Epiphany worship at Topeka Countryside UMC followed by a trip to the Great Plains Conference office to deliver the letters to Bishop Saenz from the GP UMCNext letter writing campaign. To send a letter, be sure to check out the instructions in the November issue of the GP UMCNext News: https://us3.admin.mailchimp.com/campaigns/show?id=3756829 More info to come.

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#resistharm worship service

The service will be lgbtq led, with support from allies. The homily will be delivered by Bonnie Allen, Chicago, IL. Allen is a graduate of Rhodes College, and received her law degree from the University of Florida College of Law. She has a Masters in Theological Studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Currently, Allen is the CEO of the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. All are welcome.

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A Different Way

#ResistHarm worship service. LGBTQ focus and launch of book project which will comprise stories of harm received by LGBTQ people and the healing they have received at Hollywood UMC. Group photo of all those in attendance will be taken all holding #ResistHarm posters. LGBTQ Associate Pastor preaching (also is the LGBTQIA Advocacy Coordinator for the Cal-Pac annual conference). #Resistharm fence line banner will be displayed from 1/1/20.

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External Resources

Theological Declaration from the Western Jurisdiction

Affirmed at a Western Jurisdiction Summit in November 2020, this theological declaration uses rich biblical and liturgical language, and can be adapted for use in local settings. Read the declaration here.
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Songs for the Holy Other

The Hymn Society has edited and shares this free volume of hymns affirming the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Visit their site to download.
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January Worship Planning Worksheet

We invite you to incorporate the work of resisting harm into the worship life of your church or group.  This worksheet is a tool for use by individuals or groups, as a starting point for finding ways to incorporate #ResistHarm into regular Sunday worship, small group meetings, or vigils and special services; it includes some […]
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Liturgy from enfleshed

With a commitment to spiritual and theological depth and the centering of marginalized experiences, conversations, and communities, enfleshed seeks to provide liturgy, devotionals, curriculum, preaching, training, and pastoral care that addresses honestly, tenderly, and directly, the beauty and pain of living enfleshed lives.
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