Text of Letter to the Bishop

January 1, 2018

Bishop LaTrelle Easterling

BWC Mission Center

11711 East Market Place

Fulton, MD 20759

Dear Bishop Easterling,

    We wish you a Blessed New Year and give thanks for your episcopal leadership in the Baltimore Washington Conference.


    At the beginning of this new year, we reach out to you with this open letter, offering prayers for your vital ministry, and sharing our deep concerns for our beloved United Methodist Church as we draw closer to the report from the Commission on the Way Forward and to the specially called General Conference in February 2019.

    For more than 30 years, we, the members of Dumbarton United Methodist Church, have been committed to the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) people in the life and ministries of our congregation, conference, denomination, and wider society. We are a Reconciling Ministries Network congregation. We have sponsored legislation at General Conferences calling for full inclusion of LGBTQIA United Methodists. We have had nearly two dozen Dumbartonians at recent General Conferences serving as delegates, agency staff, and volunteers. We have worked tirelessly and patiently toward the day when the United Methodist Church no longer officially sanctions the abuse, oppression, and discrimination of LGBTQIA people.


    Our congregation has been enriched by the ministries of LGBTQIA people who have served in all areas of church life. We have been in community for decades with many gay and lesbian couples with whom we joyfully celebrated and toasted weddings when they finally were allowed to be married.  We also have wept as more and more called, gifted, and qualified candidates for ministry (LGBTQIA and straight) have left Dumbarton and United Methodism for other denominations that not only welcome, but also fully include, LGBTQIA people.


The specially called General Conference 2019 has the feel of being a watershed event in the life of United Methodism. We recognize that removing discriminatory language from the Book of Discipline will not end our work for acceptance and welcome. We are painfully aware that racism and sexism are not resolved issues simply because we no longer officially discriminate on the basis of race or sex; however, removal of all discriminatory language against LGBTQIA people is a crucial next step to full inclusion. We believe any language codified in the Book of Discipline that explicitly or implicitly grants permission for some United Methodists to oppress and discriminate against LGBTQIA people is unacceptable and against the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    We respectfully urge you to use all your power, influence, and leadership to ensure that the Book of Discipline from General Conference 2019 forward does not include any statements that codify permission to discriminate against LGBTQIA people. Incompatibility language is unacceptable, as is language along the lines of “people of good faith are of differing minds about the full inclusion of LGBTQIA people.” We must state clearly and unequivocally that it is wrong to discriminate against LGBTQIA people.

    We, the members of Dumbarton United Methodist Church, would welcome the opportunity to engage further with you on next steps toward full inclusion of LGBTQIA people within the United Methodist Church.  Likewise, we will gladly host events to discuss this crucial matter of justice.

Grace and Peace,  

Members of Dumbarton United Methodist Church


Enclosure: Member signatures  

Cc: NEJ College of Bishops

      Baltimore-Washington Conference (BWC) General & Jurisdictional Conference Delegates


To Sign the Letter, Click Here.