On July 17, 2017 Love Prevails sent the An Invitation to Be Invitational to all members of the Commission on (Not) The Way Forward. Bishop Ken Carter, one of co-chairs of the Commission, responded to our email. Here is our response back to him. (The original email communications from Love Prevails to the Commission members and Bishop Carter’s response to us follows below.)
Dear Bishop Carter,
Thank you for responding to our Invitation to Be Invitational. Clearly you are not interested in doing so. The notion that the work of The Commission is transparent appears to us as delusional. Press releases and formulaic videos are not the same as “transparency.” Apportionment dollars used to pay for armed, local law enforcement to protect you from us does not qualify as Invitational nor Transparent.
If there is a group of persons with more of a stake in The Commission than Love Prevails, we would like for you to tell us who they are. The very existence of this Commission is in response to the pressure applied across the denomination by Love Prevails and other LGBTQ groups and advocacy allies.
In light of your statement that the Commission’s work is, in fact, transparent, we ask you for the following information.
We would appreciate hearing from you about:
1) Your list of the stakeholders in the Commission, the individuals or groups you have identified as having a stake in the outcome of the Commission’s proceedings.
2) Is our being invited to the meetings of the Commission a decision you are authorized to make? The Commission as a whole? The Council of Bishops? Since your response had no mention of our being welcome or who is responsible for excluding us (or others who might attend), please clarify.
3) Descriptions of the general content of each meeting of the Commission before, during and afterwards.
4) When will the Commission be out of its “early stage” and be mature enough to invite others into its life? Was the video a misrepresentation of the trust-building it portrayed?
5) What is your communication plan to bring the rest of the church along before some great reveal in an Advance DCA for 2019?
We will be publishing your email communications with us on social media going forward.
We look forward to your utmost transparency.
The Members of Love Prevails
Here is the original email Invitation to Be Invitational that Love Prevails sent to every member of the Commission.
Dear Commission Member,
Greetings as you prepare for your next Commission on A Way Forward. Love Prevails is still awaiting more transparency from the Commission. As a result, we are formally inviting you to invite more to be present with your deliberations now that you have established your trust with one another. We hope to hear your RSVP will allow ourselves and others to come in from both the cold and the heat.
We are aware that you may still be remembering our identity of being disruptive for General Conference 2016 as all other avenues than direct action have been removed from LGBTQ persons actually being at decision-making tables. We are quite capable of honoring an agreement to be non-disruptive witnesses at your meeting in the Chicago area.
We invite you to read our attached invitation and hope to hear from you soon that your self-imposed wall will be dismantled from the inside.
Bishop Ken Carter responded with the following email response to Love Prevails’ Invitation to Be Invitational, addressed to Rev. Wesley White, who sent the emails on behalf of Love Prevails.
Thank you for reaching out to us. We continue to do our work for the sake of finding a way forward and we are at an early stage in this mission. We are also in continuing communication with United Methodist News Service and are transparently listening and sharing with stakeholders across the church.
God bless you today.
The Peace of the Lord,
+Ken Carter, Florida Area
The United Methodist Church