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Homosexuality and the United Methodist Church Topic of Mendenhall Lecture by Rev. Peter John Gomes

October 15, 2001

October 15, 2001, Greencastle, Ind. - As different factions within the United Methodist Church continue to disagree about whether homosexuality is a sin, about the ordination of homosexuals and about same-sex unions, what is the denomination to do: seek theological consensus, let the majority rule, continue to disagree, or split? That question, and the issue of homosexuality, will be the focus of the Mendenhall Lecture by the Reverend Peter John Gomes (seen in photos) and a panel discussion November 13, 2001 at DePauw University.

At 3 p.m. in the ballroom of the Memorial Student Union Building, panelists representing a range of theological perspectives within Methodism will gather for what is certain to be a lively discussion on where the Church goes from here. Joining in the debate will be the Rev. Dr. Riley Case, representing the Confessing Movement; Marilyn Alexander, executive director of the Reconciling Ministries Network; Dr. James Wood, author of Where the Spirit Leads: The Evolving View of United Methodists on Homosexuality; the Rev. Phil Granger, representing Good News; and the Rev. Andrew Ulman, representing the organizing group for a Clergy Alliance for a Professing Church.

 At 7:30 p.m. in Meharry Hall of historic East College, the Fall 2001 Mendenhall Lecture, "No Longer from a Human Point of View: The Church Beyond the Sexual Wars", will be presented by the Reverend Professor Peter John Gomes, a nationally known American Baptist minister who is Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in The Memorial Church, Harvard University. In 1991, Rev. Gomes announced he is homosexual. "Perhaps the very best thing that it has done is to be a source of some encouragement," Rev. Gomes told C-SPANin 1997. "I have reason to believe, from correspondence and letters I've received over these years, too many other people who struggled with the question of their relationship of their faith to their sexuality and the degree to which they should or should not come out, as it were, and confront the forces that really thrive on silence and anonymity."

Professor Gomes holds degrees from Bates College (A.B.,1965), and from the Harvard Divinity School (S.T.B.,1968); and ten honorary degrees. His writings include the books, The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Heart and Mind and Sermons: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living. He is frequently interviewed by network television news programs and was featured in the premiere issue of Talkmagazine as one of "The Best Talkers in America: Fifty Big Mouths We Hope Will Never Shut Up".

"I am first and foremost -- above everything else, I am a Christian," Rev. Gomes told C-SPAN. "That is my identity. That is how I was formed. That is how I live. That is how I expect to conform to my eternal destiny as a Christian. All the others are adjectives to that noun, as far as I am concerned."

The Mendenhall Lecture and the afternoon panel discussion are both free and open to the public. Those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP to (765) 658-4615 or by sending an e-mail by clicking here .

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