A Statement from the Bishop and the Cabinet of the Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church in Response to the June 12, 2016, Violent Crime of Hate against the LGBTQ Community in Orlando, Florida
II Corinthians 5:19
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.
We as the Cabinet of the Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church recognize with deep sadness the blatant act of mass murder that happened literally in our neighborhood. This was a hateful act of violent slaughter of 49 and the serious injury of 53 persons, most of whom were LGBTQ and Latino, at the Pulse Nightclub in downtown Orlando. We have been witness to the effects of this crime of hate on the lives of those who have lost loved ones, and we grieve deeply with them.
On behalf of the Florida Annual Conference we publicly denounce this act of violence against our LGBTQ brothers and sisters and acknowledge how this act deeply affects and diminishes each of us as individuals and the entire human family.
We are grateful for our connection and the witness of our churches in the greater Orlando area, around the Conference, and in the larger Connection, in providing a loving response through prayer, counseling, and a variety of practical means. We also affirm that the need for those responses will be ongoing.
In addition, we call upon all United Methodists to claim our witness as Wesleyan Christians to stand against such hateful violence. Toward that end we affirm these words found in the Preamble to our Social Principles:
Grateful for God’s forgiving love, in which we live and by which we are judged, and affirming our belief in the inestimable worth of each individual, we renew our commitment to become faithful witnesses to the Gospel, not alone to the ends of the earth, but also to the depth of our common life and work.
(Book of Discipline p. 104)
It is our deep hope that our response to this act of violence and evil will be lived out in our common life and work in our churches and in the larger community in ways that reflect the reconciling love of Christ. We unequivocally stand against words and deeds, and our complicit silence that do harm to anyone anywhere, and particularly to those in the LGBTQ community.
We pledge ourselves to the demonstration of love to all of God's children, and invite all clergy and laity in the Florida Conference into that same pledge.
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
450 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33815
(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011