Rev. Cathy Weigand at Wisconsin Annual Conference

IMG_1018 (1)Cathy Weigand, Elder

Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church, Oshkosh

Bishop, I’d like to ask for a moment of personal privilege.

I was asked to attend General Conference to witness what happens to people who are marginalized by our church. It was awful.

In 20 years of ministry I have done almost nothing to make a difference for LGBTQ people in our church or in our world. We’ve seen the news. People are being targeted and murdered, 50 dead and 53 in the hospital. And what have I done? I have quietly thought good thoughts. I have carefully said well intended words in safe audiences. But I have not bothered to witness the harm being caused by our church. I have not risked anything.

I am sorry. I have allowed damage be done. I have considered myself an ally, but in truth, I’ve been a complacent bystander. My silence has been betrayal. My calm has caused damage. My theology means nothing without word and action. And so, I ask for forgiveness.

My witness and my apology mean nothing if I continue to speak safely and quietly; if I don’t work to make a difference.

There must be substantive action and risk.

I take this risk today and ask for forgiveness for causing harm. I challenge you to take a risk today and stand with me. Stand with me and sing Jesus Loves Me, that safe, sacred song from our childhood that reminds us of God’s love, a love that has been compromised by our use of the word “incompatible”, a song that many who are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer can no longer can hear as truth for themselves because of what we’ve said and done as a church and because of what we haven’t said and haven’t done.

Instead of Jesus Loves Me, can you offer your prayers for the victims in Orlando as well as your apology to the LGBTQ people among us, take a risk, stand up, and sing with me, “Jesus Loves You”.

[Most at Annual Conference stood and sang.]

Cathy Weigand, Pastor

Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church
1174 Algoma Boulevard
Oshkosh, WI 54901

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10 thoughts on “Rev. Cathy Weigand at Wisconsin Annual Conference

  1. I am impressed. Heartened. I am Cathy’s brother. I am military and have been fighting the physical fight against terrorism and oppression. I concur with this message.

  2. Thank you. Too many, for too many years have thought they were our allies but have not taken any risk. Their hearts are in the right place, but their actions are nonexistent. The world and the church need risk takers. It’s what Jesus did. How can we be followers without taking the risk of being crucified?

  3. Thanks Cathy from your uncle Ron. As a gay man I know how important it is to so many of us to feel fully accepted as members of any church. My prayers, support and love are with you.

  4. Thank you for speaking words that need to be heard. Wisconsin Annual Conference has ended just a few minutes ago & your message will be carried throughout our state and God is smiling ❤️💛💚💙💜

  5. Thank you Cathy! It was at an Annual Conference, years ago, that I discovered the book, The Lord is My Shepherd and He Knows I’m Gay. I was a delegate to the Wisconsin Annual Conference for several years, and that year we spent days debating whether to support a young gay man who wanted to enter the ministry. Very late on Sunday night, we adjourned with a ‘no’ vote. I did not know I was gay at that time, but somehow I knew it was not wrong. As I read more about gayness and Christianity, my own path continued, being Lay Leader in my church, District Lay Leader, Lay Speaker, and even investigating entering Diaconate Ministry. And of course, the choir and years of teaching Sunday School and counseling the high school youth group. I eventually left the Methodist Church and my husband, realizing that I was living a life that was not allowing me to be the person I was meant to be. Fortunately, a few years prior to my self-acceptance,I had had a transforming experience with my loving God, and came to fully believed that He loved me, so I did not have to struggle with the condemnation that is heaped on many people. I am thankful for the allies who stand with us, and pray that one day we will be able to return to and fully participate in the churches and denominations in which we grew up and loved. I love my ‘gay’ church, but I miss the beauty and tradition that I and my children were part of for so many years. Thank you for your apology. I hope it bears fruit!

  6. I belong to RMN, PFLAG, have a gay son, and live in Misdissippi. I grew up in the Methodist Church, belonged to the United Church of Christ, and wonder why the United Methodist Church can’t be more progressive and follow the Spirit of Christ. It is so wrong. My father was a UMC
    minister and DS in Iowa years ago for most of his life. Why can’t the UMC be accepting of all of God’s children? God help us!

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