A Letter to the Bishop


At the start of July, Gordon College’s President D. Michael Lindsay, joined a group of 14 religious leaders in asked President Obama for an exemption from a planned executive order banning discrimination in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation.   In light of Gordon College serving as the host of our annual conference gathering of well over 1,000 United Methodists,  I have added my voice to those who are deeply discouraged and disappointed by this act.    It is my prayer that United Methodists join together, and face Gordon’s call to discriminate quickly, publically, and with great condemnation.  A Link to additional coverage and information follows the letter.

The Reverend Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar
New England Conference Center
276 Essex Street – PO Box 249
Lawrence, MA 01842-0449
Phone: 978-682-7676 – Fax: 978-682-8227
Contact: communicate@neumc.org


Dear  Rev. Bishop Devadhar:

In the light of the public statements issued by Gordon College regarding their hope of continuing their practice of discriminatory hiring, I would like to add my voice to the growing number of New England clergy and laity, who are urging your office to issue an immediate statement condemning this position. At the same time, it is my hope that the New England Annual Conference would undertake a full review of our contract with the institution, inquiring as to whether it meets the vision of our witness.

As a United Methodist, I am proud of our denomination’s witness on issues of Social Justice. Although not perfect and sometimes appearing much delayed, I believe that the New England Conference, especially under your leadership, is working towards and striving to live out this witness to its fullest. It is in the spirit of this holy task, along with the love that scripture calls us to embrace, that I feel compelled to write this letter. I implore our Conference to hold up the call from within our Book of Resolutions to “affirm all persons as equally valuable in the sight of God.” We must publically and quickly condemn the actions of Gordon College as incompatible with United Methodist teaching, beliefs, and practice.

In the light of the continued desire by Gordon College to embrace discrimination in her hiring practices, I cannot help but believe that our silence, will do anything but painfully express our endorsement of their choice to those larger communities in which we serve. It is often with immeasurable hurt and heartache that many of neighbors hear news like this, and we simply can no longer be agents of that pain. When we fail to stand up for those that need our voice, our strength or our support, our full witness is tarnished. It is the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, who has reminded us “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Being a voice of opposition to discrimination in all its forms is an issue that matters.

In the end, I trust my church and my brothers and sisters in faith. I believe we will find the strength and conviction to stand firmly convicted against these types of actions and desires. It is my prayer that we find the courage and the strength of character to do so under your leadership, and before we inflict an even greater hurt on others. Ultimately, if we speak of our call to justice in hushed whispers, we will never be loud enough for the world to hear the Good News that follows.

In shared service and hope,

Pastor Scott Masters

Asbury United Methodist Church

Chesterfield, New Hampshire.



Please see the Boston Globe’s coverage of this issue by clicking here.

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