(Source: Albany Times Union)

Rev. Nina Nichols, pastor of Christ Church United Methodist, in front of her church in Troy, N.Y., June 15, 2010. (Skip Dickstein/Times Union archive) Photo: Skip Dickstein / 2008

The Rev. Nina Nichols, pastor of Christ Church United Methodist, will be involved in the latest push to have United Methodists fully recognize lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.Love Your Neighbor Common Witness Coalition is supporting several changes to the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline to permit LGBT people to participate in the church.The United Methodist Church is holding its General Conference 2012 from Tuesday through May 4 in Tampa, Fla. The conference is the legislative governing meeting of the denomination, which has about 12.1 million members worldwide.”Eventually this is going to happen. It deals with human rights,” said Nichols, legislative coordinator for the Methodist Federation for Social Action, a coalition of progressive United Methodists focused on social action.

“There’s a feeling of this isn’t just a piece of legislation. This is people’s lives. LGBT folk who are family and friends who live and worship with us,” said Nichols, who also is a Democratic at-large councilwoman on the Troy City Council.

The issue of the treatment of LGBT people has been ongoing in the church since 1972. Nichols said at that year’s general conference language banning homosexual participation was adopted.

“It’s the 40th-year anniversary, which makes it a great time to remove it,” Nichols said.

The United Methodist Church General Conference 2012 notes on its website at http://www.umc.org that sexuality is one of the major issues the 988 delegates will consider — and that the subject of homosexuality has been debated and discussed at every general conference since 1972.

“While delegates have consistently voted to keep the discipline’s stance against the practice of homosexuality and the candidacy, ordination and appointment of self-avowed practicing homosexuals, disagreement about the issue continues,” this year’s conference states.

The issue of human sexuality also is the subject of debate by other Protestant denominations both nationally and locally. In the Capital Region this year, some local Episcopal parishes recently opted to have pastoral certain matters overseen by the Central New York Diocese while remaining part of the Albany Episcopal Diocese.

(Source: Albany Times Union)


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