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Love and hate under the hot Florida sun

June, 2017

United Methodist activists form a human shield to block a demonstrator from the Westboro Baptist Church on May 4 outside the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Florida. The United Methodists belong to a group that supports the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life of the church, while the Westboro demonstrators travel widely with their anti-homosexual agenda. A UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey.

A UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey.

United Methodist activists form a human shield to block a demonstrator from the Westboro Baptist Church on May 4 outside the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Florida. The United Methodists belong to a group that supports the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life of the church, while the Westboro demonstrators travel widely with their anti-homosexual agenda.

 

by Kathy Gilbert
May 4, 2012

Westboro Baptist Church came to The United Methodist Church’s worldwide assembly on the last day of their two-week meeting with a message: God Hates the Methodist Church.

The Rev. Troy Plummer, director of Reconciling Ministries Network, and other pastors and lay members of The United Methodist Church formed a shield in front of the Westboro demonstrators. Westboro positioned themselves outside a white tent where the Love Your Neighbor Common Witness Coalition has been holding daily lunches in support of full inclusion of all races, genders and sexual orientation in the church.

Inside the tent they were signing “Draw the Circle Wide,” while outside the demonstrators sang their own words to “God is Going to Stand There and Watch You Burn” to Rhiana’s song “Love the Way You Love.”

Standing in the line was the Rev. Troy Plummer, director of Reconciling Ministries, was constantly being taunting by one man hurling hateful words like “You are lying to these people. Methodists are fag enablers.” In the hot Florida sun, Plummer keep his cool and grace.

Audrey Krumbach, a member of MOSAIC Methodist Students (Young People) for an All Inclusive Church, was holding rainbow-decorated stoles which are a symbol of solidarity with lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.

“This is the first time I feel like I am protecting The United Methodist Church with these stoles instead of standing outside looking in.”