º¬Ðß²Ý´«Ã½ University has changed significantly in size and appearance since its founding in 1887, but it has remained steadfast to the principles of a liberal arts education in an environment of Christian concern. º¬Ðß²Ý´«Ã½ is proud of its heritage and affiliation to the Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church. The University embraces students, faculty and staff of all denominations and beliefs.
The University Minister serves as the campus pastor and is available for personal counseling, religious and vocational counseling and spiritual guidance. Chapel services are held on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in Miller Chapel, located on the first floor of Old Main.
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Following recent discussions in the United Methodist Church about human sexuality, University Minister Eduardo BoussÃ³n and I offer to the º¬Ðß²Ý´«Ã½ University community and friends our communications of February 28, 2019, on the matter. I also share with you the following:
Standing with our LGBTQ Community
Frederik Ohles, President
Dear º¬Ðß²Ý´«Ã½ University Students, Faculty, and Staff,
On Tuesday evening, February 26, 2019, an extraordinary General Conference (world-wide meeting) of the United Methodist Church concluded in St. Louis, Missouri. Our own University Minister Eduardo BoussÃ³n was there.
As President of º¬Ðß²Ý´«Ã½, I am extremely disappointed that by a modest majority the delegates to this global United Methodist Church meeting chose to make no better and potentially make worse the existing marginalization of LGBTQ people among United Methodists. The decision in St. Louis preserved a statement that homosexuality is incompatible with Christianity, kept a ban on LGBTQ persons serving in United Methodist ministry, kept a ban on United Methodist clergy performing same sex unions, and for the first time instituted penalties for varying from these exclusionary positions.
To our treasured students, faculty, and staff who are LGBTQ people, I want you to know that this sad choice will have no effect on our firm commitment and our active practice at º¬Ðß²Ý´«Ã½ University of including all people equally in our community, without regard to sexual or gender identity and expression.
Let me repeat, just so that there is no doubt, that today just as much as yesterday º¬Ðß²Ý´«Ã½ University has an unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion. That unwavering commitment encompasses the whole rainbow of how people live and identify themselves as sexual beings.
We stand firmly by our Core Values of Community and Diversity. Those values commit us to love and embrace all of humankind. As a Christian myself, I believe deeply that our Lord, Jesus Christ, has called me always to love and serve all people and never to hold myself above anyone else. Just as º¬Ðß²Ý´«Ã½ is standing firmly in this regard, so are other universities and colleges that are in relationship with the United Methodist Church standing firmly.
If you have any questions or concerns on the matter, I urge you to bring them to Eduardo or me. We are available at any time to be in conversation with you on any aspect of such an important matter.
Yours truly, Fred Ohles
Response to the United Methodist General Conference
Eduardo Bousson, University Minister
Many of you have seen the news about events within United Methodism. (If not, you can find a summary here, and an aftermath article here, ).
To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. I was part of our judicatoryâ€™s (Great Plains Conference) delegation. I can tell you we fought as hard as we could for a different outcome. Whether this decision has any effect on United Methodist-related institutions of higher education is yet to be seen.
What I can say is that my approach to ministry and life in the º¬Ðß²Ý´«Ã½ community will remain the same. I will still advocate for LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty. My office will still be a safe place for all who are in need of joy, encouragement and hope. After all, no legislation will take away the fact that all of us are of sacred worth. The better we live together, the better our glance at the face of God.
I know this decision by the United Methodist Church is very hurtful. As a cisgender, heterosexual man who is an advocate, it hurts me. I cannot begin to understand the hurt that members of the LGBTQ+ community must feel in a moment like this. I do know that Iâ€™m not done working with you in our struggle for equal rights everywhere, including the Church.
The doors of my office are always open for prayer and conversation. May the love of God, which surpasses all understanding, be perfected in us as we seek a better world for all.