The Hunger Network in Ohio is an ecumenical ministry with many United Methodist Church partners. This week, the UMC voted to continue barriers to inclusion of LGBTQ clergy, individuals, and families in the denomination.
Two traditions are clashing in some Christian Denominations. One is a tradition of Christian treatment of homosexuality as sin, the other is a tradition inclusive of all that in this case includes persons regardless of sexual orientation. The Hunger Network of Ohio affirms the tradition of inclusive love and the extending of grace to all including LGBTQ persons. Inclusion and care for all persons motivates our dedication and work to overcome hunger and poverty. We encourage people to embrace diversity, inclusivity, and care for one another.
The United Methodist Church’s social principles state, “Certain basic human rights and civil liberties are due all persons. We are committed to supporting those rights and liberties for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation…Moreover, we support efforts to stop violence and other forms of coercion against all persons, regardless of sexual orientation.”
As sinful people, we often fall short of the standards set by God and that we set for ourselves to be in right and loving relationship with our neighbor. For that, we ask God to forgive us.
While our denominations and various religious traditions continue to debate how to fully embrace the gift from God of human sexuality, The Hunger Network in Ohio will remain committed to our mission of addressing the root causes of poverty through advocacy. Research shows us that depression and anxiety rates are higher among LGBTQ individuals than the general population - which leads to barriers to economic stability. Similarly, LGBTQ youth are more likely to experience homelessness than their peers. Ohio continues to allow discrimination in employment and housing practices. Therefore we must address these issues if we seek to end hunger in our community and live into the beloved community that God has called us into.
We offer our prayers as the United Methodist Church, the congregations, the LGBTQ clergy, families, individuals, and allies who are struggling with the question of 'what next'.