A Letter from the Extended Cabinet of the Indiana Conference
Subject: Speaking Out Against Hate
Members and friends of our United Methodist churches throughout Indiana:
The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Reflecting upon recent actions and unrest across our nation, we the Extended Cabinet of the Indiana Conference, collectively, speak out against the Ku Klux Klan, all white supremacist groups, and all others that have adopted their philosophies.
Groups such as these, as well as those persons who refuse to speak out against their racist ideologies, are in fact, enemies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and their inflammatory rhetoric is inconsistent with the witness of Holy Scripture found in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” -St. Paul to the Galatians (Galatians 3:28 NRSV)
As Christians in the United Methodist faith tradition, we believe that all persons regardless of their race or ethnicity, are created in the image of God; they are all of sacred worth and therefore are to be affirmed, appreciated, and received as our sisters and brothers of the human race.
As our Social Principles state: “Primary for us is the gospel understanding that all persons are important— because they are human beings created by God and loved through and by Jesus Christ and not because they have merited significance. We also encourage all individuals to be sensitive to others by using appropriate language when referring to all persons. Language of a derogatory nature (with regard to race, nationality, ethnic background, gender, sexuality, and physical differences) does not reflect value for one another and contradicts the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Further, “We affirm that no identity or culture has more legitimacy than any other. We call the Church to challenge any hierarchy of cultures or identities. Through relationships within and among cultures we are called to and have the responsibility for learning from each other, showing mutual respect for our differences and similarities as we experience the diversity of perspectives and viewpoints.” (Paragraph 161, The Book of Discipline)
Therefore we call upon all United Methodists of the Indiana Conference to join us in living according to this Gospel and to behave according to these Social Principles, so that our witness will have integrity, and bring healing and hope to our broken world.
As members of the Extended Cabinet, we are committed to praying for a world where all are valued and viewed as equal, and living out our learning of becoming more culturally competent leaders, and advancing our missional focus throughout the Indiana Annual Conference. We invite each of you to join us in prayer, learning, and building relationships that help us to know all of our neighbors as people of worth.
In Service Together,
Julius C. Trimble, resident bishop, and the members of the 2017-2018 Extended Cabinet:
Rev. Jim Bushfield, Superintendent, Central District
Rev. David Byrum, Superintendent, East District
Rev. Steve Clouse, Director of Church Development
Rev. Michelle Cobb, Superintendent, North Central District
Dr. Aleze Fulbright, Director of Leadership Development
Rev. Mitch Gieselman, Superintendent, Southwest District
Rev. John Groves, Superintendent, West District
Mr. Ian Hall, Director of Administration and Financial Services
Rev. Dave Neckers, Superintendent, Northeast District
Rev. Christine Newman-Jacobs, Superintendent, Northwest District
Mr. Skyler Nimmons, Communications Director
Rev. Beverly Perry, Superintendent, Southeast District
Dr. Cindy Reynolds, Executive Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries
Rev. Gary Schaar, Superintendent, South District
Rev. Larry Whitehead, Superintendent, North District