Among us you are all equal


“In Christ’s family, there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave
and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a
common relationship with Jesus Christ.” Galatians 3:28 (MSG)

Dear Kindred in Christ:
Until this year, I never thought that gender equality was doctrinally in question within the United Methodist Church, and yet, in May, we learned across the connection that Annual Conferences failed to ratify Amendment 1 to the UM Constitution clearly stating that men and women are equal in the eyes of God. What in the world happened?

The text of the amendment reads:
“As the Holy Scripture reveals, both men and women are made in the image of God and, therefore, men and women are of equal value in the eyes of God. The United Methodist Church acknowledges the long history of discrimination against women and girls. The United Methodist Church shall confront and seek to eliminate discrimination against women and girls, whether in organizations or in individuals, in every facet of its life and in society at large. The United Methodist Church shall work collaboratively with others to address concerns that threaten women’s and girl's equality and well-being.”

Or will we?

This statement is right and true in every way, but somehow our global church fell short in endorsing this statement.

I remember distinctly that it was the strong presence of women in leadership that was a key reason that I became United Methodist in the first place. It was nearly 25 years ago when I first attended a UM church in Columbia, SC with my college roommate and a woman was leading worship at the time. Something stirred in my heart that day, and within 5 years, I was seeking ordination within the United Methodist Church for myself. Now, as a District Superintendent, my heart breaks to think of the women and girls who might question their value because we failed to speak clearly on their behalf.

This year, at Annual Conference in Boise, a group of Columbia District clergywomen are raising awareness about the #MeToo movement. We are inviting women and survivors of sexual harassment and abuse to wear black on Friday, June 15. We will break the silence of sexual harassment and abuse against women and other vulnerable people by sharing stories on a “wailing wall,” participating in a public liturgy on the floor of Annual Conference and calling upon God’s Spirit to lead us all toward full healing and shalom. For women, the power of the #MeToo movement is the ability for us to speak our truth, to say what we have always known, that for as long as we can remember, our dignity, safety and our equality have been in question, and yet, in Jesus Christ we find our full humanity and take our rightful place in the Kin-dom of God.

Will you join me in this important act of justice and peace?

See you at Annual Conference!

Grace and peace,

Rev. Erin Martin

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Erin Martin
Rev. Erin Martin is the Columbia District Superintendent of the Oregon-Idaho Conference.