Church sign gets scrutiny, explanation
(Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to the Rev. Dr. Kyung-Hee Sa, district superintendent of the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of the United Methodist Church, regarding Providence United Methodist Church in Georgetown, and was sent to the Coastal Point for publication.)
I am writing to you, as the district superintendent, about an inappropriate slogan on a portable advertisement that is located at Providence United Methodist Church on Shortly Road in Sussex County, where Walter Reeves is the pastor. Providence is part of the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of the United Methodist Church, where the slogan is “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors, The People of the United Methodist Church.”
The slogan that the Providence Church has selected to advertise, “It’s Adam and Eve, not Steve — God,” is more than just offensive. It is just downright mean-spirited to the GLBT community. I’d also like to know what scripture and verse did God ever say: “It’s Adam and Eve, not Steve”? Please quote the scripture and verse where this can be found, because I simply cannot find it in a number of the Biblical translations that I am familiar with. It is, rather, a “sound bite.”
This statement is in clear violation of the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline, where it states “the expressed commitment of the UMC not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends.” It also states, “All person shall be eligible to attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments, upon baptism be admitted as baptized members, and upon taking vows declaring the Christian faith, become professing members in any local church in the connection.
I have heard the story of my gay friend (who took the pictures) and what had happened to him through a “Christian Church” as a teenager that has haunted him decades later. It is no wonder that he has rejected the Christian faith.
I would hope that you know the same God that I do as one who is a loving God. Such statements that are being “advertised” does not invite a LGBT person to participate into the service, but rather “We don’t want those kind of people to come here.”
You will notice that I have sent this email to a number of news outlets, as I do hope that your religious organization is publicly shamed and admonished for this venomous dogma. Your organization does owe an apology to the GLBT community.
(Editor’s note: The following email was sent out in response to a reporter’s request for follow-up information about the above letter.)
The message in question was put up by an individual member of the church, without pastoral or church leadership knowledge or approval. We recognize that the message (which has been removed) was inappropriate, and we want to assure you that this is not the message that is preached at this church, nor does it reflect the respect for all persons that is the United Methodist way.
Internally, we have taken steps to ensure that all future messages must first be approved by the pastor/church leadership. Since we consider this unfortunate incident to be already handled, we respectfully hope that this is no longer newsworthy.
Walter Reeves, Former Pastor
Regina Reeves, Pastor
Providence United Methodist Church