Love peace, promote justice: A request for support

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.

December 2014

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 (jimtodd75@verizon.net)

Marcia and Jeanne #ShowUp and #Disrupt with Love Prevails

Love Prevails recently received a very generous $9,000 donation from two long-time United Methodist LBGTQ justice activists. Listen to the reasons why they gave to Love Prevails so generously. To continue to do our work to Show Up and Disrupt, we are challenging our supporters to collectively match this gift by the end of 2014. We would also gladly accept your donation of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. Please make your financial donation at https://loveprevailsumc.com/donate/ and flyer miles/hotel points through email with loveprevails22@gmail.com.

Help Love Prevails!

In honor of our one year anniversary on Facebook, Love Prevails is running a campaign to try to reach 2016 likes in anticipation of General Conference 2016. Check out our Facebook page for more details on how to win a Love Prevails t-shirt and watch Will Green explain why he likes Love Prevails below:

Connectional Table Letter – April 2, 2014

“The tone and content of your letter to us signaled a distinct shift away from the spirit-filled riskiness we experienced when we were with you and back toward institutional security. The steps forward that you outlined have been tried repeatedly for the past 40+ years and have proved inadequate.” This was our response to the first letter the Connectional Table sent to Love Prevails in December 2013. We have since exchanged two more letters. Here is the latest letter from the CT to Love Prevails earlier this month. Their response remains fundamentally the same: inadequate and shifting away from spirit-filled riskiness. We look forward to our encounter with the CT in Chicago at the end of the month.


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General Board of Discipleship Letter and Response

We received the following response from the General Board of Discipleship after they received our open letter on March 4th. A response to their letter was sent to the Board of Discipleship on April 6th, 2014. See both letters below. ImageImage

Disrupting the Connectional Table November 2013: Rev. Dr. Julie Todd

Love Prevails’ disruption of the Connectional Table (CT) meeting in Nashville in November was not planned as such. We had intended to pass out a list of Principled Leaders who had been lost to the denomination because of our exclusionary policies against LGBTQ people. But we had been agitated by the repressive welcome on our first day. The CT tolerated us to the point of disregarding us almost completely. I could not bear the thought that we would give them a list of people who had sacrificed their callings and ministries in our church, and that they would be ignored. So we decided that when we handed out the list, during the CT leadership report, I would sing the people’s names aloud.

I really hadn’t thought through what this experience would be like. I personally knew and loved the first five names on the list, as well as many others. When I began singing, I quickly became conscious that I was calling these person’s presence into the room. I felt them with me. For a moment my heart quickened. Then a calm came over me. It was a calm that came from elsewhere and covered me, and it was almost as if there was no one else in the room. I kept singing the names and walking. Certain people came vaguely into my view. At one point I was aware that Bishop Ough was asking me to stop singing, but it was as if I could not quite register his words. Then everyone stood up and read something together, aloud. I modulated to a higher key and sang the names louder. I had no plan of if or when to stop. Then CT member Ms. Cynthia Kent started screaming to stop the meeting. From that moment on, a conversation between Love Prevails and the Connectional Table proceeded.

When Bishop Jim Dorff spoke during those conversations afterwards, he said that when he entered the room and saw the CT members standing and speaking together aloud and heard my singing, he thought it was a moment of worship in the spirit of Pentecost. And he was right. It was a kairos moment filled with the Holy Spirit.

People ask Love Prevails why we are committed to the work of Disruption. This experience is an example of why. When Disruption is done in the right spirit, it provides opportunities for the Holy Spirit to break in, to create a disequilibrium in which new opportunities are made possible. Love Prevails will return to the Connectional Table meeting this April 2014. We will remain open to the creative work of Disruption and pray that the Holy Spirit will once again find ways to work through us.

Watch the kairos moment described above.

In anticipation of the April Connectional Table meeting

You might have read our previous interactions with the Connectional Table here. We received a response from them on March 13th and replied on March 23rd. Please read their letter and our response below and feel free to share as we work towards the end of discrimination in our denomination.

Mar 2014 Love Prevails Response-page-0love prevails response to CT 3.24.2014