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April 03, 2008

Testimony of a Young United Methodist

A Testimony of a Young United Methodist is the personal testimony of Joey Heath, a United Methodist who was denied membership because of his sexuality. This is the third section of the DVD Reconciling Ministries Network mailed to all General Conference 2008 delegates in the first week of March, 2008. All Bishops in the United Methodist Church also received the DVD.

For additional information about the issue of membership that will face the 2008 General Conference and for the written testimony of Joey Heath, please visit the .

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Don't ever forget - God loves you! WE love you! One day no person - for whatever reason - will ever be forbidden membership in our church. I love our United Methodist Church, but do not feel very united at this time. Two members of my own family would not be welcome as members in this "United" church. My congregation will never turn anyone away, however - and neither will our Lord. Don't give up - you are loved!

Joey, please continue to be strong and lean hard on your faith. God loves you just the way you are! Please remember that Jesus died for everyone and you are loved. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Please know that you are not alone. I am a 57 yr old lesbian grandmother. Several years ago I moved from Dallas, TX to NY. I have just joined the most wonderful church. I went there four times and I joined on Easter Sunday. I am now going to Memorial Methodist in White Plains, NY. They love me unconditionally regardless of my sexual orientation. It is such a wonderful feeling to attend church knowing this. I was very moved by your story. God loves you and Jesus hung on that cross for you and me as well as everyone else.

May the peace of Christ be with you always,

Darien

Joey,

Your story breaks my heart because I want you to know that you are welcome in our church--whether its a small church in rural Georgia or a bustling urban congregation. YOU ARE WELCOME. I'm so sorry for the terrible experiences you have had. Please know that not all UMCs are so small-minded and unchristian. So many of us are working to change this--I know you know this because of your participation in RCP. But, please know you have supporters and brothers and sisters all over the county who are trying to make sure that pastors like your home pastor, the woman who told you to stop fighting who you are, who offered you grace, peace, and love, are the kind of Christian models who will lead our church forward. Thank you for helping to show them the way. I am amazed by your courage & your leadership. I am sure that sharing your story was painful, but please know that your testimony is important to help others understand what is at stake for the future of our church and for the future of a society that truly honors all of God's children.

In grace and peace,
J. Elizabeth Clark

Be encouraged Joey. For you are not alone there are a marginalized group of us in your corner. I pray daily for the oppressors for they are the one's that need liberation, "to be set free" by Jesus the Christ just as we are set free. Jesus came into the world, so that we all may recieve the gift of life, eternal life. And because you believe you do possess eternal life. So, be you and love all inspite of the hatred. Pray for all to recieve the love and affirming spirit of Jesus the Christ. I love you my brother in Christ!

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