Bruce Robbins’ presentation to Do No Harm Iowa gathering

Rev. Bruce Robbins spoke to some 100 people at Walnut Hills United Methodist Church on Tuesday evening, November 13.  He spoke about the 2012 General Conference of The United Methodist Church and the impact on local churches, annual conferences and the denominations.  He also chronicled his experiences at the Hennepin Avenue UMC.

Click here to see a video of Bruce’s remarks

Do No Harm Iowa – Moving Forward

Rev. Bruce Robbins, Senior Minister of the Hennepin Avenue UMC in Minneapolis, will be in Iowa November 13-14 to lead a worship service and workshop. Both events will be held at Walnut Hills UMC in Urbandale.

The Tuesday, November 13 worship service is set for 7:00-8:30 pm, and is open to all. A workshop will be held on Wednesday, November 14 for all Covenant of Conscience signers, beginning at 10:00 am.

In May of 2011, Bruce brought a statement to his Annual Conference Clergy Session inviting others to join him in signing that they would offer the blessing of marriage to all prepared couples. He went to his congregation asking them to create an Altar for All by blessing him to conduct these ceremonies. Bruce’s work with the Board of Trustees at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church has led him to the conclusion that the call to create an Altar for ALL is not only based on a foundation of Biblical obedience but Ecclesial obedience as well.

During his ministry, Robbins has advocated and been involved in the Reconciling Movement calling for the full inclusion of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community in the life of the United Methodist Church. He served on the Board of the Reconciling Congregations Ministry, attended numerous convocations for the movement (including the first in 1987), and has been in leadership of the Marriage Equality movement including an affirmation that he will conduct Christian marriages for all prepared couples that come to him.

Click here for the event flyer

Nearly 600 sign on to the Do No Harm Covenant

Nearly 600 clergy and laypersons have publicly endorsed the Do No Harm Covenant.

See the supporters of the Covenant.

Western Jurisdiction: Gay issue stand wrong

The Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church has issued a “Statement of Gospel Obedience” that emphasizes Christ’s grace and love is available to all and that The United Methodist Church is in error on the subject of “homosexuality’s incompatibility with Christian teaching.”

Delegates to the jurisdictional meeting July 18-21 voted to extend “extravagant hospitality” to all people including gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex or persons whose gender expression is ambiguous.

Retired Bishop Melvin Talbert was asked to oversee a Western Jurisdiction grassroots movement that challenges bishops, clergy, laity and local churches and ministry settings to operate as if the statement printed in the denomination’s law book—Paragraph 161F—“does not exist.”

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Northeastern Jurisdiction approves resolution committing to rights of all, including LGBT

The Northeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church approved a resolution July 19 affirming its commitment to the rights of all persons including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.

The five jurisdictions of the church are meeting to elect bishops and conduct other business. The areas meet every four years after the denomination’s worldwide gathering. The Northeastern Jurisdiction includes the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

“We offer it acknowledging the deep pain that exists in our church,” said the Rev. Scott Campbell, a clergy delegate from the New England Conference, who submitted the resolution. “It also recognizes the conflicting covenants that many of our pastors and church leaders experience in seeking to be faithful to their calling”…

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Episcopal Church becomes biggest US church to bless gay unions

The U.S. Episcopal Church became the biggest church in the United States to approve a provisional rite for blessing gay unions after its House of Deputies gave its final approval Tuesday.

The resolution passed with 78 percent approval in the lay order and 76 percent in the clergy order. The House of Deputies is made up of both clergy and lay people.

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U.S. Episcopalians move closer to allowing transgender ministers

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – The U.S. Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops on Saturday approved a proposal that, if it survives a final vote, would give transgender men and women the right to become ministers in the church.

Read the complete news story

Iowa Conference Witness Included in United Methodist News Service coverage

The June 3 witness of conscience at the 2012 session of the Iowa Annual Conference was included in a story entitled, “Conferences voice support for gays” from the United Methodist News Service.  In her article staff writer Kathy Gilbert said, “Promises of support and prayers for healing for gays, lesbians, transgender and bisexual people are coming from bishops, pastors and laity as The United Methodist Church begins annual (regional) conferences around the globe.”  The lead coverage was about the two do no harm covenants read in Iowa.  Actions taken in the Minnesota, Baltimore-Washington and Greater New Jersey annual conferences were cited as well as the perspective of Bishop Robert Hoshibata of the Portland (Ore.) Area.   Click here to read the complete News Service article.

Sights and Sounds of the Annual Conference Witness

Images and sounds of the witness of conscience at the 2012 Iowa Annual Conference session are posted on the Conference’s website.


Do No Harm United Methodists Refuse to Discriminate Against LGBTQ persons

At their annual statewide meeting, a group of 500 United Methodists from Iowa announced their commitment to disobey church law when it requires them to discriminate against, diminish or demean LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer) sisters and brothers. This announcement came in response to the recent worldwide General Conference gathering of United Methodists in Tampa, Florida.  After after 40 years of heated debate church policy was left unchanged.  The issue of LGBTQ exclusion has caused deep spiritual harm to countless people, families, and congregations.

Hundreds of United Methodists stood in Des Moines today in a silent witness following the reading of a Do No Harm Covenant that put seeking justice and loving neighbor above the requirement to follow church law.  In addition to signing a Do No Harm Covenant and standing in prayerful silent witness approximately 70 Iowa United Methodist clergy committed to make marriage equality a lived reality within the Iowa Annual Conference. These clergy will officiate marriages for all couples who seek the blessing of the church without bias or discrimination.  These clergy are risking their jobs and their careers by taking this stand, but believe their integrity as pastors and people of faith leave them no choice but to refuse the church’s mandate to discriminate.

“Do No Harm” Gathering Held at Walnut Hills United Methodist Church

On Thursday, May 24, from 5-7pm at Walnut Hills UMC in Des Moines, 160+ United Methodist clergy and laity gathered to stand for justice, inclusion, and a United Methodist Church where LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer) folk are welcomed into all levels of ministry in the church. We shared in conversation and worship, explored processes other annual conferences have utilized, and looked toward what faith-filled action we would share at Annual Conference.
Click here to read the story

The United Methodist Church Needs a Wedding

Click here to read the text or hear the audio recording of Rev. Denny Coon’s sermon from the “Do No Harm” gathering on May 24.