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Pastors urge Methodists to embrace LGBT people

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Pastors urge Methodists to embrace LGBT people

As the United Methodist Church once again wrestled publicly with human sexuality, we want to say to the LGBTQIA+ people of the Mahoning Valley: Yes, God loves you. No, you are not going to hell for loving someone else.

No vote has made you any less beloved of God, or of us. We are sorry for the pain our church has caused you.

We personally, as individuals who are clergy but are speaking for ourselves, wish General Conference had taken the opportunity to witness to the world that people can disagree and still work together for transformation.

That is the only way we will find peace in this beautifully diverse world. We have always worked side-by-side with colleagues who disagree with us on different matters and served churches where people in the pews differed. That is where we learned that hearts and minds are not transformed through legislation, but through relationship.

We will continue to work together with those who want to feed kids in the Valley on weekends, work for racial reconciliation, and transform sub-Saharan Africa through Africa University (to name a few examples) – there is plenty of gospel work to agree on.

In doing so, we will seek to become friends with those who are different from us. In particular, we pledge to stand for full inclusion for those who are LGBTQIA+ and their families. Peace and justice can only come through valuing the dignity of all people. We commit to continue to welcome all people who want to love God, love each other, and strive to live in peace and justice according to the teachings and example of Jesus.

Revs. Abby & Seth Auman, Youngstown

This letter was also signed by seven other pastors in the Mahoning Valley: Rev. Ken Gifford of Poland; Revs. Vicky and Ken Kelley of McDonald; Rev. Beth McGuire of Sebring; Pastor Mark McTrustry of East Palestine; Pastor Shane Russo of Youngstown, and Rev. Joan Purnell of North Jackson.

Sink both gas-tax hike, ABC water proposals

First of all, the proposed increase in the state gasoline tax is not fair. It’s just like most taxes and life.

To send a dollar to the state, we will be lucky to get 40 cents back to everyone’s own locality. It will be closer to a nickel or dime. Some counties have more roads, more traffic, more industry, and other factors for the road demise. All roads are not equal.

Secondly, no on the ABC water district proposal. It, also, will do very little to address flooding concerns.

Simply put, Boardman has too much cement and asphalt. There’s nowhere for the water to go. Years ago, most parts of Boardman were wet without cement and asphalt. Also, they recently put bigger drainage pipes behind Market Street School to help flooding; it did little to nothing to help flooding problems.

Ken Seeds, Boardman

US isn’t a beacon of hope

In the past when chaos arose in other countries their citizens looked to the U.S. and its strong support of human rights as a beacon of hope. Our country’s willingness to help solve a world problem that might eventually negatively affect everyone is well established even though it might cost us considerable sacrifice.

World opinion of the U.S. has now changed dramatically and chaos is expanding quickly. We no longer are the light of the candle of hope or the shining city on the hill. Don’t just complain, register and vote to bring us back to being a nation of justice for all.

Peter Penn, Sheffield