January 8, 2021
We the pastors and Church Council of Duke Memorial United Methodist Church in Durham, NC, appreciate the commitment to duty and courage of the legislators who, on Wednesday evening, conducted the business of the nation in the face of violence and endorsed the votes of all Americans in the election of our next president. We thank the law enforcement, Secret Service, and military personnel who placed themselves in danger to protect others. We pray for those killed, injured, or terrorized by the violence, and for those who feel unheard and unsupported.
At the same time, we denounce those who invoked the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus, during their violent assault on the United States Congress. Jesus calls us to reconciliation with God and with each other. When Jesus’ own disciples took up arms against Roman oppressors seeking to remove him and kill him, Jesus stopped the violence and healed the injured Roman. Jesus embodied self-sacrificing service for the sake of others, a willingness to die rather than violently insist on his own agenda. We are saved by Jesus, not by our violence.
As a church, we again commit to stand up and speak out against evil, oppression and injustice in whatever forms they present themselves as we seek to love as Jesus loved: not in ways sentimental but in ways that lead to justice, mercy, forgiveness and grace for all.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Hebrews 12:14-15)
2021 Church Council, Duke Memorial UMC
Rev. Heather Rodrigues, Lead Pastor
Rev. Jennifer Ingold Asbill, Minister of Children and Pastoral Care
Statement crafted by
Rev. Heather Rodrigues, Rev. Jennifer Ingold Asbill,
Rev. Renee Burnette, Jim Coble, and Gair McCullough
As United Methodists we are clear in our convictions. Since the early 1900s our denomination has advocated for the rights of marginalized communities (learn more). Those early calls for justice became what we now call the United Methodist Social Principles, a collection of values for Methodists around the world.
Duke Memorial, voting is an essential action in our advocacy for the basic rights of our community, and we call upon you to vote this election.
Is there a principle that matches your current passion? Take it home and tell your neighbors #Ivotetheprinciples
Want to know more about the principles? catch up with the General Board of Church and Society.
Want to know more about voting? check out dcovotes.com
Use the Social Principles Voter Guide from the NC Conference Board of Church & Society
The strength of a political system depends upon the full and willing participation of its citizens. The church should continually exert a strong ethical influence upon the state, supporting policies and programs deemed to be just and opposing policies and programs that are unjust. - UMC Social Principles 164.5.b
Churches! Where are you?
A message from Pastor Heather
"We recognize that this work is a journey.
It's long, it's personal, it's emotional, it's messy, and it's tough.
Still, we say yes.
In the name of a God who allows us to begin again and again.
In the name of God with brown skin, Jesus, who marched against discrimination all the way to the cross and whose redeeming love empowers us to do the same."
A Summons to Witness, Protest, and Promise
We United Methodists in The North Carolina Conference join our voices in witness, protest and promise in these times of violence against our Black brothers and sisters.
We believe that the Holy Spirit is indeed poured out upon all people.
We believe that in baptism, we are incorporated into God's mighty acts of salvation, and commissioned to resist evil, injustice and oppression, in whatever forms they present themselves.
We believe that God's intent for humanity is community, compassion, and holiness, and that justice has been marred by the history of enslavement and racism.
We believe that repentance is urgent for the historic and ongoing violence against Black girls and boys, men and women.
We believe that in the wounding of Black bodies we see Christ crucified.
We believe that those who have been steeped in white privilege, through repentance, can be transformed into humble servants of the living God.
We believe we are called to work for the day when God's will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
Pastor Heather shares how new light is beginning to break through the chaos of pandemic shutdowns and restrictions.
What is essential? Explore how our call as Christians leads us to respond during COVID-19.
A message for the wilderness.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
United Methodist clergy officiate same-gender marriage in holy disobedience to denominational policy.
March 3, 2020
Contact: Rev. Heather Rodrigues, Pastor (919) 683-3467
DURHAM, NC - Duke Memorial United Methodist Church joyfully celebrates the covenant marriage of Caleb Parker and Thomas Phillips, which took place in our sanctuary on February 29, 2020. Twelve clergy from Duke Memorial United Methodist Church and our United Methodist and ecumenical connection jointly officiated this wedding in holy disobedience to the prohibitions against same-gender marriage laid forth by denominational policy in the United Methodist Book of Discipline (¶ 341.6). We bless Thomas’s and Caleb’s covenant promises in Christian marriage and are grateful to be given the honor of celebrating their love through the wedding worship service.
Love is at the center of our faith tradition and is a lens through which we interpret the Scriptures. We at Duke Memorial will continue to celebrate the reconciliation of all persons as beloved children of God, equal before the throne of love and grace. We will continue to welcome and affirm ALL of God’s children, as we live into our baptismal vows to “accept the freedom and power God gives us to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves” (United Methodist Hymnal, 34).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Duke Memorial United Methodist Church stands on the side of love and reconciliation, not judgment and exclusion.
February 28, 2019
Rev. Heather Rodrigues, Lead Pastor
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18
We regret and are saddened by the recent decision of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church to bar, on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, those whom God has called to the ministry; to deny marriage to certain members of the faith on the basis of their respective genders; and to push from our pulpits those clergy whose consciences will not permit them to comply with these hurtful policies. We do not see the love of Jesus reflected in this decision. We believe that it inflicts needless and unjust pain upon persons for whom Jesus died and leaves an enduring scar on the Body of Christ. Love is at the center of our faith tradition and is the lens through which we interpret the Scriptures. We will continue to celebrate the reconciliation of all persons as beloved children of God, equal before the throne of love and grace.