Coming out and Signs of Hope in Our Lives

My story of Sacred Worth is about my JOURNEY of COMING OUT by becoming a Reconciling United Methodist in 1996. It was just before General Conference in 1996. Nancy McMurtry, a good friend, asked me to sign a card saying I would be a “Reconciling United Methodist” and I decided to sign it realizing it was time for me to “come out” as an ally. I had no idea where this JOURNEY would take me at that time but I knew it was a commitment to COME OUT as an ally and to COME OUT personally to be more visible as a person supporting persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities. I also knew I would have a lot to learn along the way with many challenges and struggles as most journeys are!

I knew what “coming out” meant as I had come out to myself about being sexually abused as a child in the years just ahead of this. I have come to realize that this very simple task of signing this card, (or signing on at the new website became the starting point for me to mentally & spiritually take the risk to start this journey of listening to other stories and being more aware of those around me who were searching for any SIGN OF HOPE in our churches and

communities to be SAFE.

Through the past eleven years I have become more aware of how important small SIGNS OF HOPE are to all of us and especially to folks who are looking for any shred of HOPE in our churches.  Once when my husband was called to a home to meet with an older couple in the church he had no idea what they were wanting to share. He arrived to find them wanting to share about the HOPE they had found in a simple church newsletter article about an upcoming Telling Our Stories” program planned by RUMOLA at Cornerstone in Lincoln. They had used a yellow marker to HIGHLIGHT it in the church newsletter. Then they told him about their daughter and her partner and how they wanted to come to this gathering. This simple newsletter article became a way of sharing a SIGN OF HOPE for them and in return they gave all of us a SIGN OF HOPE back when they came to this gathering!

Another time recently a mother emailed us to tell us how glad she was we had a Reconciling Community in our church as one of her children had just come out to them over the holidays. She was so relieved to know there was an OPEN HEARTS group in the church so she could come and find strength for this new journey. She had read about it in our church newsletter as her SIGN OF HOPE!

Newsletter articles don’t seem very important but another person came to our last meeting from another town because of seeing an article about our meeting in a local church newsletter. So these simple SIGNS OF HOPE are so important as we have many people looking for anyway to feel accepted and affirmed by the church. Parents, families and friends in our local churches are looking for people they can trust and safely talk to about having children who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.

When I think of all the SIGNS OF HOPE in my life through new experiences, new friends, & new faith understandings about sexuality that have GRACED my life through signing this card eleven years ago, I rejoice in all the ways spring is COMING OUT now in our lives; and I think of all the ways we need to show SIGNS OF HOPE to each other through our church newsletters, our conversations, our rainbows, our groups, our emails, and our new ways of making our churches SAFE to ALL persons!

We can keep COMING OUT like spring, like newsletter articles, like sharing our STORIES OF SACRED WORTh, like the rainbow, like Jesus CAME OUT with his message of LOVE to those around him who were marginalized and shared his compassion with all persons! Signs of HOPE!

Maureen Vetter, Grand Island, NE

PS:- I rejoice every time I come out to myself or someone else comes out to me-


Next blog post: Anonymous 1’s Story     

Coming out and Signs of Hope in Our Lives

Foreword to Stories of Sacred Worth

Stories of Sacred Worth


By Phyllis Burrows

I am very proud to have been chosen to put this book together.  I am straight but I do have a story that explains why I care so much for all diverse people, especially the gays and lesbians that we lovingly accept in our church family.

When I was about eight years old, we had a neighbor who was a woman, but she always had her hair cut like a man’s and wore men’s suits and ties, etc.  She was a really nice person, but I couldn’t understand why she dressed as she did.  One day I asked my mother if she knew the answer.

Mama took me into the living room and had me sit down on the sofa.  She told me she wanted me to listen carefully to what she said, and to remember it all my life.

She told me that Jeanette was a very nice woman, but she was different in some ways.  She explained that she was attracted to women just as Mama was attracted to my father who was a man.  She said that was a God Given attraction, and that there were also men who were attracted to men, and that they were living as they were supposed to live.  She told me to continue to like Jeanette, and to respect her and anyone else I would meet whose life was the same.

That was a very long time ago, but I have remembered my mother’s kind words regarding our neighbor, and have always respected any GLBTs I have met.  FUMC is a truly outstanding church family, and I am proud to be a member.  This booklet is a tribute to everyone who has the courage to live their God-Given Attraction.


Next blog post: Coming out and Signs of Hope in Our Lives     

Foreword to Stories of Sacred Worth

Love and do not Judge

This is a companion blog to Heal Our Church and The Bible Through Artists’ Eyes.  Each of these blogs seeks to heal the divisions at various levels of the organized church, specifically, and divisions among people of different religions or of no profession of religious belief, generally.

This blog is based upon a Sunday School study I had prepared for our local church but was not presented.  In the study, I do not justify or condemn any of the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, and Transexual) community.  Instead, I address positions that various “Christian” groups have taken on the subject and their claims of scriptural support.  We will also examine what it means to “love and do not judge.”  I am a United Methodist and even Methodism is conflicted about how to treat the GLBT community. I may ask questions concerning any position, but I will seek to fairly represent each.

As to judgment of the issues, I ask several questions: How much are we in a position to judge another’s actions? another’s claimed sexual orientation?  As to those who say “love the person, hate the sin,” I ask, “Can you do both well at the same time?”  How can we know what is good and right from what is bad and wrong?  Is it my job to judge what is right or wrong for another person if what that person is doing has no impact upon me?

Most of all, I want to emphasize that we all have sacred worth.  I want to celebrate that.  If you have personal stories relating to the subjects raised, would you kindly share them?  I want to avoid “alienating objectification,” platitudes and superficial judgment of these issues that affect real people.

The overarching theme of this blog will be, like its related blogs, the principle Jesus taught: “By their fruits you will know them.”  What better expression of such good fruits than through the eyes of Vincent Van Gogh?”

The Good Samaritan VINCENT VAN GOGH

Source:  What interests me most about this painting is that the outcast, the Samaritan, is aiding the man, the Jew, who was badly beaten and left at the side of the road, whereas the religious leaders are retreating into the background.  It demonstrates in the concrete what it means to be a good neighbor.

As a United Methodist I note that a large number of retired bishops have signed a statement seeking to strike anti-GLBT language from the Book of Discipline, which is much like a constitution in other organizations.   whereas there support for inclusion of all people is welcoming, yet nonetheless disturbs me that more active bishops aren’t also advocating change.  You may see their recent statement at

In Matthew 25, Jesus teaches that “when the Son of Man comes in his glory,” those who loved their neighbor in tangible ways, fed the hungry, comforted those who were hurting or visited those in prison are invited “into the Kingdom to receive your just reward”.  In that passage, the reward of the Kingdom was available to everyone who bore good fruits, regardless of religion, orientation, nation or clan. Non-Christians, whether self-proclaimed agnostics, atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, or “whatever,” you are also welcome to visit and share your own experiences of the divine, of the ineffable and of accountability, forgiveness and reconciliation.

I highly recommend Religious Tolerance, at, as a phenomenal resource of a wide range of religious topics ranging from theistic to atheistic, Western religions to the most remote. It is exceptionally well-organized and well-written. In the language of its own welcome:

We welcome evangelicals, secularists, religious conservatives, religious liberals, Deists, Wiccans, other Pagans, progressives, animists, theists, fundamentalists, Atheists, polytheists, humanists, Agnostics, etc.

So, welcome to our fruits.  We hope you find them nourishing.  If you wish to bring your own fruit to share, we would be honored and blessed.

Wishing you the blessings of peace and love,

Robert Wheeler

To navigate the contents of this blog, click on the link of the Table of Contents, below.

A Study of GLBT Issues, Religious and Scientific, Religious Pro and Con


This Marvelous Creation                     

Catholic Judgment on Homosexuality     

A Fundamentalist Protestants Condemnation of Homosexual Christians     

Dr. Dobson’s Position on Homosexuality       

Hate the Sin, but Love the Sinner Position     

A Gay Man’s Scriptural Defense of Homosexuality     

The Wesleyan  Quadrilateral

Scripture Accounts of How God Has Been Heard to Speak     

Detestable or Abominable Things     

Thou Shalt Not Kill, but…     

Offenses Punishable by Death

Scriptures on GLBT Subjects

Love and Mercy                     

Spiritual Gifts and Love        

Gays – – – No Easy Answers; a Christian Response     

Publications concerning Hate Crimes Relating to Sexual Orientation     

Psychiatric Association: Homosexuality Is Not a Pathology     

Is There a Gay Gene? What If…?       

Two Evangelicals on Gay Marriage     

Beyond Homosexuality: What Is Transsexual     

United Methodist Groups and Positions on Homosexuality     

Cry, “Justice!”

“It’s a Matter of Choice”     

“Clergy Call for Justice and the Quality” by Bishop Minerva C, Carconia     

Rev. Amy Delong: God Bless You!     

“Spiritual Violence”

We Understand and Mean the Lyrics That We Sing?     

Fight for Justice      

“Fundamental” Problems    

Memorial to the Norwegian Victims of Judgment, Hate, and Fear     

Rev. Gilbert H Caldwell Speaks for Inclusiveness         

Bishop Hagya Courageously Speaks Out        

Love of God and Neighbor Letter     

What about Maladapted or Stressed Children of the GLBT Couple?     

Bob and Betty Dorrs Story   

12 Discussion Strings concerning the Bible and GLBT Issues     

2 New Year’s Greeting of 2009

3 Stuart’s Reply       

4 Georges Reply

5 My Response to Georges Reply     

6 Joanne’s Reply     

7 My Response to Joanne’s Reply     

8 Joanne’s Reply     

9 My Friend’s Reply to Me

10 a My Scriptural Response to My Friend        

10 b My Second Response to My Friend: the Impact of “the Fall” on Our Different Views     

11 My Friend’s Scriptural Reply to Me      

12 My Response to My Friend     

13 My Friend’s Response to Me     

14 My Response to My Friend     

15 Brief, Punctuated Exchange between Rob and My Friend    

16 My Response to My Friend     

17 My Friend’s Reply to Me     

18 My Response to My Friend     

19 Concluding Response to Georgia     

Discussion of GLBT Issues

1 On Gay Marriage: Love and Do Not Judge     

2 On Compassion and Forgiveness     

3 Compassion, Accountability, and Forgiveness     

4 On Adam Hamilton: Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White        

5 On Frank Turk       

6 On Implications of a Dualistic World           

7 The Gospel Message That I Hear     

His Spirit Is Crying out and Yearning     

Niebuhrs’ Moral Man and Immoral Society     

Foreword to Stories of Sacred Worth     

Coming out and Signs of Hope in Our Lives     

Anonymous 1’s Story

Abby’s Story

Allen’s Story

Liz Bady:: Advocate for Reconciliation     

Rev. Don Marsh: Haven’t We Come a Long Way?!     

Kathy England: A Mother’s Story

Nan and Peggy’s Story



Love and do not Judge