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Live Wire caller misunderstood purpose, scope of pending vote

As a member of Old Capitol United Methodist Church, I was shocked by the comment in last week’s Live Wire that this coming Sunday we will be holding a vote on whether to allow gay marriage in our church.

The person reporting this event has misunderstood both the purpose and scope of our upcoming vote. I would appreciate the opportunity to clarify the matter.

Like all denominations, the United Methodist church has been struggling with the issue of creeping secularism for over half a century. As traditionalists would put it, the modern world has been exerting increasing pressure to replace the Word of God with the word of man and, as the daily news reminds us, man appears to be winning that battle.

The United Methodist church is ordered by our book of discipline, which outlines the official authority and duties of the church, its members and clergy. For more than four decades, it has become increasingly popular for certain clergy, bishops and other leaders in our denomination to proclaim they’ve turned their backs on God and broken their sacred vows by openly disregarding the book of discipline, often in the most provocative ways imaginable and across a spectrum of social and moral issues.

Over the past 40 years, our denomination held conference after conference, attended by representatives of our churches from around the globe, addressing one attempt after another by the more “worldly” faction of our denomination to formally change our book of discipline and legitimize their lawlessness. And every time, our individual churches have voted on the side of God and defeated these changes.

It became clear some years ago that a divide would be the inevitable outcome of this situation, and an agreement was worked out that would allow the members of each individual church to vote on whether they wished to remain affiliated with the United Methodist church.

It is this decision on continued affiliation that Old Capitol will be voting on Sunday and what every United Methodist church has already voted on or soon will. I know of at least six Methodist churches within Harrison County and over 50 in Indiana which have already voted to leave by an overwhelming (sometimes unanimous) margin. Although leaving appears to be the prevalent outcome, certainly not all churches will choose to do so.

The congregation of Old Capitol has been praying and fasting over our upcoming decision for over a month. None of us are approaching this lightly. Anyone who is a current member — active or not — is entitled to cast their vote Sunday at 2 p.m. However, we have been told that membership will be audited prior to the vote by representatives of the Charge Conference who are coming from Indianapolis. So, if you haven’t attended in some time, you should first call our office at 812-738-4736 to make certain you are still on our membership roll.

While this vote isn’t about a single social issue, as our beloved pastor often reminds us, every decision we make in life always comes down to a single choice: God or not God.

Barbara Haines, Corydon, Ind.

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