Matike is a magazine for gay and lesbian Christians, and those who journey with them. It is edited from within this parish.
Our name Matike is a Maori word, earthing us in this land, Aotearoa New Zealand. It means "Stand up!" or "Get up, be confident!" It also incorporates the biblical imagery of Jesus inviting the oppressed and forgotten to stand and be healed - to be strong and proud in who they were.
Because we are aware that in many congregations homosexuality is seen as being incompatible with a truly Christian life, Matike is designed to tell those who are lesbian, gay, or who have lesbian or gay family members that they are not alone, that there are others within the Church who will affirm, support, and reassure them of God's love and acceptance.
The Human Rights Amendment Bill was passed in Parliament in 1992, outlawing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. The Methodist Church of New Zealand made the decision at its 1993 Conference to order its life within the intention of this law, rejecting attempts to prevent gay men and lesbians from exercising their gifts of ministry and leadership in the Church. By contrast, the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand at its 1996 General Assembly ruled "that its courts shall not license, ordain or induct practising homosexuals".
For information or subscriptions ($10 per year) write to P.O. Box 2-188, South Dunedin.
The decision to affirm the appointment of Dr Bromell to the position of Superintendent of the Christchurch Methodist Mission, and to receive him into Full Connexion, followed a 1993 determination of the Church to order its life within the intention of the New Zealand government's Human Rights Amendment Bill. This outlawed discrimination on a number of grounds, including sexual orientation.
The latest decision places the New Zealand Methodist Church amongst the few Christian churches world-wide which accept gay men and lesbians in leadership roles. It marks the end of a quest for David Bromell's acceptance as a Methodist minister which has continued for more than eight years.
David began his ministry in the Baptist Church, but when he acknowledged his homosexuality and his marriage ended he was asked to resign. In 1986, while studying for his doctorate, he began his ministry at Glenaven church, at first on a voluntary basis. With parish support he applied to be received into Full Connexion in 1989. However this was challenged by a group within the parish, and later at the 1990 Methodist Conference. He continued as a "supply" minister for the congregations at Glenaven and Broad Bay until his resignation in 1993. Both Broad Bay and Glenaven, and also the Mornington congregation, declared themselves "reconciling", actively affirming gay men and lesbians in every aspect of church life. David returned to Methodist ministry a year ago when he was appointed supply minister at Durham St Church in Christchurch.
When the Glenaven congregation gathered on the Sunday following Conference the champagne flowed and the rainbow flags were unfurled. We danced and sang in celebration of the historic decision that established a precedent affirming the place of gay men and lesbians in the ministry and leadership of the Methodist Church.
Euan Thomson, November 1997