A document distributed outside the Tampa Convention Center Tuesday claimed that Women’s Division and the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women extended an “official imprimatur” to a position on homosexuality that is at odds with the position of the United Methodist Church because our music leader for our joint orientation for women participated in an unrecognized service in an organization that “has ‘no official status’ within our connection.”
We are very grateful for the extraordinary gifts of DeLyn Celec and the students from UM-related Shenandoah University where Ms. Celec is Worship Art Coordinator in the Spiritual Life Office. Their worship leadership set a tone of Christ-filled tonalities and rhythms that are part of developing the cultural competencies needed in a global church.
In fact, The United Methodist Church’s position on homosexuality notes that all persons have sacred worth and urges our members and congregations not to turn their backs on gay or lesbian persons. The Body of Christ as lived out in our denomination does not forbid gay or lesbian musicians to offer their gifts to the church; nor does it prohibit general agencies from enlisting the gifts of these persons. It also does not treat the membership of its musicians in organizations like The Church Within a Church Movement, which concerned the author of this unsigned article, as an imprimatur on the views of the organization.
Further, as a point of information, our agencies’ staff and directors prepared the worship for the morning session. The only “rigid agenda” of the Women’s Division and the Commission is to extend God’s justice, full inclusion and grace to all people.