United Methodist Clergy who support Rev. David Meredith and protest hate acts against him

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            In late April, a thief – or thieves – broke into the office of Rev. David Meredith, Pastor of Clifton United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. The perpetrator(s) of this act of hate knowingly bypassed computer equipment and valuable antique silver belonging to the church. In fact, he, she, or they stole two pieces of paper: David’s graduation diploma from St. Paul School of Theology and his Certificate of Ordination from the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church.
            Given that David is currently facing misconduct charges for being an out, gay pastor – charges that arose from complaints against him from his fellow clergy members in the West Ohio Conference, it is clear that this was no random break in. This was a targeted, surgical strike aimed at dehumanizing  David’s personhood and delegitimizing his call to ordained ministry.
This act joins with the unjust ruling of the North Central Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals not to grant David and his team standing or voice in the appeal hearing in Indianapolis in March, 2018 to send a message to him and to every LGBTQ person or ally in the UMC: You are not welcome here. Shut up. Please disappear.
            If we say nothing or do nothing, we are complicit in the pain of the vulnerable and despised among us. We choose to speak out, no matter the price, to call out hate and lift up love:
·     We emphatically decry this targeted hate act against Rev. David Meredith and the Clifton UMC community as well as his silencing in church judicial proceedings involving him.
·     We cry out for justice, praying that the thief or thieves and those who have publicly denounced Rev. Meredith will repent and come forward in love.
·     We applaud and are inspired by the righteous strength of Rev. Meredith as he lays down his life for the sake of the gospel and the transformation of grace that our United Methodist Church and our world so desperately need.
·     We state once again what should be obvious: that all humans are created equal.
·     We rejoice in the loving marriage of David Meredith and Jim Schlachter.
            As sisters and brothers of Rev. David Meredith in clergy covenant with him in the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church, we sign below in testimony that love is always stronger than hate and that a truly inclusive UMC is aspirational and achievable.