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I love the Church. It is such a vital part of my life since I was brought into the world. I can even say I was born into the United Methodist Church. Many of my happy and meaningful memories and milestones happened there. Central Church has been my home church since I was ten years old, I think. It has, through its pastors, leaders and community, helped raise me to become the person I am today. It’s message has not always been clear. At different moments I encountered conservatism, traditionalism and elitism, but there too, I came upon prophetic voices who preach about taking the side of hose who need God the most, human rights, and radical hospitality. Sometimes I worry that the Church will lose its relevance being so engrossed in its precepts, appearances and rituals. But sometimes it surprises me in its readiness to respond to a world in need. Early this year, my church was the venue of a forum on LGBT especially to prepare the General Conference delegates. Bishop Rudy Juan and many allies were there. It was a start but we must do more. After the killings in Orlando, the murder of transgenders Jennifer Laude and Asheley Ann (Rober William dell Rosario) and other hate crimes, we can no longer deny our complicity in the violence experienced by the LGBT in our societies. We have used God to justify our hate. For some it is self-hate because they deny their own homosexuality. For some it is really the conditioning of the church to hate sexuality in general. But God is love and so any discourse that speaks of God hating a person for being their innate and natural self is evil. What God hates is violence, apathy and oppression. And this is what so many LGBT persons and communities have experienced at different moments in history. And these must stop. I believe in my heart that #UMCitstime.

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