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