The following is a letter written by retired bishop Cliff Ives and his spouse, Jane Ives. The Ives have given their permission to Love Prevails to make this letter public.
It would be ideal if we conducted ourselves, denominationally, in such a way that apologies like this were no longer needed. But alas, we do not learn easily from past mistakes. And so, as vulnerable people are repeatedly harmed, apologies and acts of repentance until continue to be required. “Oh, when will we ever learn?”
May the sentiments of the Ives be repeated loudly by other leaders in the days to come.
February 5, 2019
Dear LGBTQ Beloved in Christ,
We are glad that the Council of Bishops sent you a letter of apology, and we deeply desire to add our personal words and witness. We also confess our participation in the harm that has been and is being done to you. We too are “brokenhearted by conversations that dishonor, objectify, and dehumanize” you and regret “that our actions and words have not always been life-giving or honoring of the LGBTQ community.” (COB letter, 12/28/18)
Moved by the witness of LGBTQ persons at each General Conference since 1972 and at meetings of the Council of Bishops and other church gatherings, we have struggled to find healing words. We want to say that we are so sorry: sorry for any acts of commission or omission by which we have contributed to the negative climate in which you have had to live; sorry that we have not been more effective allies in the quest for justice and full inclusion.
Thank you for your constant witness and your kind assistance in helping us find ways to help and, more importantly, ways to stop doing harm. Whatever happens in St. Louis, we stand firmly for your full inclusion in our church.
With love and prayers,
Cliff and Jane
Bishop S. Clifton and Jane P. Ives