Together at the Table is the personal story and public message of Bishop Karen Oliveto, the first openly LGBTQ person to be elected a bishop in The United Methodist Church. Her election was and is controversial, with opponents seeking to have her removed and some even threatening violence against her. The denomination has been debating the inclusion of LGBTQ people for decades and will be gathering in February 2019 to determine whether it can agree to let conferences within the church ordain as they see fit and let congregations decide what weddings to hold or whether conservative and liberal factions will break off from the denominational body.
Bishop Oliveto believes that the church can stay together—that people of different convictions can remain in communion with one another. Woven together with her own story of coming out and following God’s call to ordained ministry is her guidance for how to live together despite differences—by practicing empathy, living with ambiguity, appreciating the diversity of creation, and embracing unity without uniformity.
"This memoir tells [Oliveto's] story of faith and courage as she continues to bear witness to the love of God for all people. The Table of the Lord is both metaphor and concrete reality of where she discovers the grace of God in Jesus Christ." —Presbyterian Outlook
“Bishop Oliveto’s story touches on one of today’s deepest fault lines in church and society. Hers is a deeply personal, revealing memoir about love and unity in a denomination wrestling with division. In an engaging, even gripping, style, she brings the reader to the table where issues are no longer abstract but fully human. This book has the power to change hearts and minds.”
—Jim Winkler, President and General Secretary, National Council of Churches
“Bishop Oliveto reveals a pastor’s passion, theologian’s rigor, servant’s heart, pioneer’s courage, and disciple’s extraordinary capacity to articulate hard truths with clarity and love. This book is a blessing in multiple ways. It speaks to pastors, laity, leaders, and pilgrims on a faith journey with deeply moving stories and respect for persons of all persuasions.”
—Jane Allen Middleton, retired Bishop, Northeastern Jurisdiction, The United Methodist Church
“If you are concerned with healing the many wounds of our spiritual and secular communities today, you will want to read this book. In writing that is at once authentic and powerful, Bishop Oliveto challenges every one of us to do the hard—and yet deeply rewarding—work of building community, especially with those whom we see as ‘the other.’”
—Bernard Schlager, Executive Director, Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion, Pacific School of Religion
“I encourage people who are unable to accept LGBTQ persons in the leadership of the church, such as my colleague Bishop Karen Oliveto, to read her story. As she says, all of us—including her—need to scale an empathy wall because there is always someone we are ‘othering.’ Her story and reflections help us put on our climbing gear!”
—Sally Dyck, Bishop, Northern Illinois Conference, The United Methodist Church
“In disarming personal stories and profound biblical reflections, Bishop Oliveto invites us to encounter one another at the table across a divide th