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.

Mary Lou Taylor Reflects on Cherokee Removal for Love Prevails Native American Study

In the epilogue to The Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears, the authors conclude: “The Trail of Tears is their (the Cherokee) story, but it is also an American story. And if it is a story we are not proud of, we should make sure that its lesson is well learned: Racism, greed, and political partisanship can subvert even the noblest American ideals.”

While reading the book, I could not help but make parallels, not just to what is happening in the United States today (where racism, greed and political partisanship seem even worse than ever), but to what has been happening over and over around the world. The American government’s treatment of Native Americans in the United States, especially its policy of removal, was our Holocaust. White Christian Europeans assumed that the native tribes were lesser than fully human, that because their civilization was different, it was uncivilized, and because they worshipped in a different way, they were heathen. While there were no gas chambers and no grand design of extermination, the United States government forced thousands of men, women and children to march over 1,000 miles barefoot, with little clothing, almost no tents, inadequate food and literally none of their belongings. Everything they owned had been taken from them. Many died.

In the last paragraph, I have written “the government,” but in truth I should say “we.” Though we were not alive at the time of the past atrocities against Native Americans, we currently sit in our living rooms and watch as people around the world are suffering a similar fate. Trails of Tears continue.

I pray that understanding what the Cherokee Nation suffered, and what all of the First Nations peoples suffered, will help me get out of my living room and really commit to working for safety and dignity of all people. I look forward to the next six weeks of study, and to going to participating in continuing Acts of Repentance and Healing towards Indigenous People through the United Methodist Church.

Open Invitation to Study

Join the Love Prevails 2014 Native American Study as we engage in larger resistance to oppression within the United Methodist Church. For more information check out the tab above and please read the letter sent to the Council of Bishops and Members of the Connectional Table below for more information.

Open Invitation to Native American Study with Love Prevails-page-0

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.