Reconciling Ministries Network

6/30/2010

News From the Movement

New Reconciling Communities:

By Audrey Krumbach, RMN National Organizer

The United Church + Die Viereingte Kirche in Washington, DC

In some United Methodist Churches words are not merely symbols of inclusion, but are the actual act of ensuring that all members of the community can participate in worship. The United Church + Die Viereingte Kirche congregation understands that words of inclusion can be true acts of hospitality. This United Methodist and United Church of Christ combined congregation offers German language worship twice a month to members of the Foggy Bottom and metro DC area. In addition to this intentional welcome in a very international city, the United Church now offers a public welcome to all persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

After a year of study, discernment and prayer, the congregation voted on June 6, 2010 to adopt a welcoming statement which includes these words:

We, the members of The United Church, a union congregation of the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church, declare our church to be reconciling, open and affirming of all persons.

We believe that each person is called to be an unexpendable part of the Body of Christ. We believe that God is still speaking and calls the Church to open hearts, open minds, and open doors. We believe that God loves all God’s children, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons and we seek to embody that same love and acceptance. We commit ourselves to their inclusion in church and society.

To learn more about The United Church + Die Viereingte Kirche, or read their complete Reconciling Statement, visit http://www.theunitedchurch.org/

Translation from above image: “Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Thank God It’s Sunday!, Monday”

East Longmeadow United Methodist Church, MA

After six months of exploration, films, discussions, and open forums, the congregation of East Longmeadow UMC gathered for their Annual Charge Conference. At the largest charge conference in recent memory, the congregation gathered for both standard business and one exceptional report. Reconciling Coordinator John Dunlop shares, “It was the summer solstice, a day with more light than any other, and the stories shared of pain and exclusion certainly shed more light on the ways faithful people and the current UM policies have hurt gays and lesbians and their loved ones. The stories of how meaningful this stand is for our youth and young people certainly shed light on how younger generations perceive the church to be a place of hate rather than love. They desire to be a part of a denomination working to draw the circle wider rather than push people out.”

To draw the circle wider, East Longmeadow unanimously adopted this Reconciling statement:

As we recognize the value in each other, we recognize God. We embrace God’s good gift of diversity and believe all persons are of sacred worth. Therefore, we welcome people of every age, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic condition, family structure, and physical or mental ability into the full participation of this congregation. We are called by God to raise the level of hope for those who have been marginalized and singled out for exclusion, including our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender sisters and brothers. Our passion for a wide welcome of all God’s children moves us to participate in reconciling and justice ministries so that we might truly open minds, open hearts, and open doors.

Learn more about East Longmeadow UMC at www.elumc.org.

The Seekers Sunday School Class of Union Avenue United Methodist Church in Alliance, Ohio

Union Avenue UMC is active in local food pantry support; fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate sales; covenant relationships with missionaries and mission projects; and countless other evangelical efforts to share God’s love in tangible ways. Now, a group within Union Avenue has extended that care and welcome to all persons becoming a Reconciling community. The long standing Seekers class voted in June to adopt the following statement and witness to their congregation and community the power of God’s all inclusive welcome.
The Seekers class has a vision of a fully inclusive United Methodist Church, one which shares God’s limitless welcome to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Come Study, Learn and Grow with us!

Learn more about Union Avenue United Methodist church at www.unionavenueumc.org.

Dorsey Emmanuel United Methodist Church of Elkridge, Maryland

In every community, the process towards becoming a reconciling congregation, class or campus ministry is unique. Some study for years, discussing and overcoming barriers by building long term relationships of deep trust before writing or adopting a welcoming statement. Others engage in a season of intense study with films and bible studies, speakers and forums. But some congregations already perceive themselves as welcoming and simply move to adopt a reconciling statement as a logical conclusion of the church’s identity as it stands.

RMN congratulates Dorsey Emmanuel UMC for codifying their anti-discrimination and inclusive welcome by adopting the following welcoming statement. The People of Dorsey Emmanuel are called to share God’s love as we minister with and to all persons in our community and beyond, providing worship, nurture, fellowship and service. Our welcome knows no boundaries. We invite and welcome all persons of every age, gender identity, racial or ethnic background, sexual orientation, marital or socioeconomic status, nationality, and physical or mental ability into full participation in the life of this faith community.

… As we journey toward reconciliation, we proclaim this statement of welcome to all who have known the pain of exclusion and discrimination within the church. …In celebration of our diversity, we recognize that there may be differences of opinion among us. We do not seek to erase our differences. We welcome all in our journey together in faith toward greater understanding and mutual respect.

Learn more about Dorsey Emmanuel at http://users.erols.com/deumc/