Of the handful of recurring questions heard around the halls of the 2012 TN Annual Conference, one of them certainly involves the subject of the “rainbow stoles.” On the floor of Annual Conference yesterday Rev. Andrew Fiser, Co-Pastor Edgehill UMC in Nashville answered those questions with the following statement:
Notes from Annual Conference secretary: 5:15 pm, Andrew Fiser, co-pastor of Edgehill UMC read a statement entitled “The Rainbow Stole” with permission from Bishop Chamness. It read:
“The stoles you see draped around the necks of many Annual Conference attendees are signs of God’s covenantal love. They are reminders of the bow that God set in the clouds as ‘a sign of the covenant between [God] and every living creature…’ (Genesis 9:14). They are reminders of the ‘yoke’ of Christ, of our calling to obedience and service in the name of the one who is Love. And these stoles a way of reminding us that we as the church sometimes mistake diversity for divisiveness, and unity with uniformity.
These stoles are a witness like that of Paul after the Holy Spirit converted the Gentiles. We bear witness to you our Sisters and Brothers that we have seen God at work in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons. We stand in solidarity with them and in opposition to our official church position that homosexuality is ‘incompatible with Christian teaching.’ (2008 Book of Discipline, ¶161 G).
With these stoles we would like to keep before the conference the question of Paul to the church in Jerusalem, ‘If then God gave them the same gift that God gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who (are we) that (we) could hinder God?’ It is an important question to ask in a room full of Gentile Christians.
If you would like more information about the stoles, please ask someone wearing one. If you would like more information about working for full inclusion of all of God’s children please check out our website narmministries.org.”
Disclaimer: The TN UMC Conference Council on Connectional Ministries does not necessarily endorse, support, sanction, encourage, verify, or agree with the comments, or opinions in this statement and/or that of the Nashville Reconciling Ministries. The blog format offered here allows for anyone reading to add to or join in the discussion on this or any post added to this site.