Note: The following is a letter from Rev. Jim Todd, Rev. Dr. Julie Todd’s father. The letter has been used to raise funds for Love Prevails in New England, but the LP team believes it is powerful enough to be shared across all forms of media. Enjoy this beautiful expression of inclusion, and if you are financially able to end your year with a gift to Love Prevails, please do so here.
Thank you, Jim.
Dear pastors and members of reconciling congregations:
My daughter, Julie, has committed many years of her life making sure the doors of the United Methodist Church are open to LGBTQ people. I do not understand, in this day and age, the United Methodist Bishops, pastors and lay people who refuse to fully open the doors and welcome “ALL” into the community of faith, including pastoral appointments. The UMC, as we know it, is becoming increasingly irrelevant as a backward, punitive and judgmental organization.
For the last couple of years Julie has worked closely with Amy DeLong (both UM clergy) to right the wrongs and fully open the doors of our denomination. During these years, they have “showed up” when the Bishops and the Connectional Table meet to promote their agenda of truly “open doors” Their organization, “Love Prevails” – www.loveprevailsumc.com – and their Facebook page tell the story.
At a recent gathering of the Bishops and Connectional Table in Oklahoma City, Love Prevails members were constantly harassed by United Methodist staff. They were seen as troublemakers and locked out of meetings. Police and hotel security were called by church leadership for no good reasons.
I am embarrassed and angry that our denomination has treated Love Prevails members the way they have. The Bishops do little or nothing to open the doors because they claim they “need to keep unity and serve the whole church.” Is this the same reasoning our denomination used when people of color and women were denied full rights?
Mary and I regularly provide financial support for Love Prevails and their efforts to open the doors of the UMC for full inclusion (including ordination) of LGTBQ people. For 40 years they have been left out of full participation. How can we, as Christians, accept this United Methodist policy and foot-dragging? This restrictive policy can be changed only every four years. I strongly believe if Jesus were to attend the 2016 General Conference in Portland, OR, he would support such a change.
So why am I sharing all this with pastors and reconciling congregations? I am inviting you to financially support Love Prevails and their prophetic stand. It is not only because of Julie’s involvement, but that is a motivating factor, for sure. It is because you can help Love Prevails “show up” and make a difference. You can make a tax deductible donations toward a $9,000 matching grant. Kairos CoMotion (www.Kairoscomotion.org), is the 501(c)3 financial sponsor of Love Prevails. Mail your contribution c/o Margaret Talcott, Treasurer, PO Box 45234, Madison, WI 53744, or go to their website and contribute through PayPal.
I hope you will seriously consider joining me with your own financial contribution to help the UMC become a more inclusive church where ALL people are valued.
Love peace. Promote Justice,
Rev. Jim Todd (firstname.lastname@example.org)