I am one of the 99%. Along with thousands of other supporters, Grail women among them, I celebrate the spirit that is moving in the protests asking the powerful 1% to be accountable to the 99% of the masses. On October 23, I joined other United Methodists to join our voices with the Occupy Wall Street folks at Zuccotti Park, to remind us all that Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple and said the last shall be first and the first shall be last. I’m glad our gathering and an interfaith gathering afterward could remind all that have ears to hear that God is in the midst of this world—to scatter the proud and bring down the mighty, to fill the hungry with good things and to send the rich away empty.
I am also one of the 900. One of the 900 United Methodists, that is, in New York and Connecticut that signed a Covenant of Conscience and celebrated that commitment in a recent worship service at Asbury Crestwood UMC in Yonkers, New York. One of my social justice works in recent years has been to try to change United Methodist church policies that exclude gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons from the full life and ministry of the church. As part of the steering committee of the Methodist in New Directions (MIND), I have encouraged my clergy sisters and brothers to join me and others in promising to fulfill all of our pastoral ordination vows by performing same-sex marriages, now legal in both states where the New York Annual Conference functions, my regional body of the UMC. Our covenant is to support each other (clergy, laity and congregations) as we challenge the church in this action that can be called “ecclesial disobedience.” I believe this is the civil rights issue of our time and the church should be leading the way toward more inclusivity, opening the circle wide for all of God’s people. The Grail Center at Cornwall has been the site of the annual retreat for the steering committee of MIND and the planning of our covenant began in a meeting at the center in 2010. (You can read the covenant of conscience at the MIND website: (www.mind-ny.org)
At both of these events, it was clear to me that we live and move and have our being through the Spirit of Love and Justice.