Breaking through the United Methodist Church’s history of discriminating against LGBTQ persons and denying their call into Christian ministry, Bishop Karen P. Oliveto, of the Mountain Sky Episcopal Area, Denver, has published a new book based on the teachings of John Wesley entitled Our Strangely Warmed Hearts: Coming Out Into God’s Call (Abingdon, 2018). A panel of laity and clergy from the Rocky Mountain Conference will analyze the volume at a book launch on Saturday morning, April 14, at Iliff School of Theology, 2323 E. Iliff Ave., Denver. Bishop Oliveto will respond to the panel and autograph books. Video streaming will be available.
Free to laity and clergy, the event is sponsored by the United Methodist Association of Retired Clergy (UMARC). The event will also feature worship led by Maggie and Ben Roe, Denver, plus an update from veteran General Conference delegate, Rev. Brad Laurvick, pastor of Highlands Ranch UMC, about developments in the denomination that may lead to a schism or a way forward into inclusiveness.
Panel members will include the minority leader of the Colorado State Senate, Rev. Lucia Guzman of Denver, Dr. Andriette Jordan-Fields of Iliff School of Theology, Rev. Bill Selby of the Center for Pastoral Effectiveness of the Rockies, Rev. Angie Kotzmoyer of Park Hill UMC, and Rev. Dr. Charles Schuster, previous leader of General Conference delegations.
Wisconsin Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has called the book a “breath of fresh air” in the United Methodist struggle and debate over human sexuality. Former Asbury Seminary professor and vice president, Steve Harper describes the book as a “precious gift” and declares that if the church will “accept her witness and follow her lead...we will find ourselves in a new day in which light, life and love can more fully character the Bridge of Christ.”
Rev. Dr. Donald E. Messer, chair of UMARC, noted this book launch is “yet another way retired clergy are providing unwavering support of Bishop Oliveto and calling for the church to stop its harassment of her and all LGBTQ laity, clergy and seminarians.”
Registration starts at 8:15 a.m., with the program from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. No food will be served. Books will be available for sale. President Thomas Wolfe invited UMARC to hold the event at Iliff School of Theology, where Bishop Oliveto serves as a trustee.