I am outraged over news that the United Methodist Church defrocked the Rev. Liz Stroud for being a lesbian. In fact, I am so infuriated and upset over this injustice done unto a minister so filled with the love of Christ that I will let this statement from the Rev. Troy Perry, founder of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, speak for me.
Today, the friends and members of Metropolitan Community Churches stand in solidarity with the Reverend Elizabeth Stroud, who was found guilty and defrocked by the United Methodist Church for violating a church ban on active gay and lesbian clergy.
Despite today’s pain, God will open new and meaningful doors of ministry for Rev. Stroud. Her future is filled with hope. But we grieve for a sister denomination that has lost the passion, gifts, and ministry of a deeply committed and called woman of faith — solely because she has chosen to live her life openly and with authenticity.
We extend our love and prayers to the many gay clergy who continue to serve in the United Methodist Church, and to the tens of thousands of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender persons whose church of choice has failed to love them unconditionally, as God loves, and to embrace them without reservation. We support their faithful efforts to work for change within the denomination they love.
On behalf of Metropolitan Community Churches, we send our love and prayers to Rev. Stroud. We are saddened that her denomination has failed to live up to its motto: “Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.” Today, her church shut its heart and mind — and its doors — to Rev. Stroud and to God’s gay and lesbian children.
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, frequently proclaimed “The world is my parish.” He did not mean solely the heterosexual world. He truly meant that God loved the whole world — and so should the Church.
Events such as these are sad but powerful reminders that the work of building communities of faith where all God’s children are free to live and celebrate the great diversity of God’s creation has unfortunately just begun. With all the advancements that have been made over the past three decades, the reality is that far too often homophobia is still rooted in religion and that far too often LGBT people are not welcomed into communities of faith.
Metropolitan Community Churches reaffirms its commitment to weclome persons of diverse genders and sexualities to serve and minister in any capacity, and reaffirms its 35-year commitment to work for spiritual justice for all God’s people.
My heart bleeds today, knowing that the Methodist madness I witnessed back in 2000 continues. God bless Liz Stroud. God bless and help the UMC.