RMN Blog

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A wall of love

By Colleen McClain, Originally posted by First UMC of Portland Friday the email arrived: the Westboro Baptists from Topeka, Kansas, would be in Portland ready to target the Gay Christian Network Conference Saturday morning. I shuddered. Our new friend, Helen, would be... read more

A reflection on the Just Resolution of the complaint against Bishop Melvin Talbert

By Rev. Gil Caldwell Bishop Talbert is quoted as saying following the resolution of the complaint against him, “I believe embracing Biblical Obedience offers the best way…” The resolution that involved other Bishops including the one who brought... read more

Baby Theodore

Painting by He Qi “My uncle, Alex Vonnegut, taught me something very important. He said that when things were going really well we should be sure to notice it. He was talking about simple occasions, not great victories: maybe drinking lemonade on a hot afternoon... read more

World AIDS Day: Why It Matters

by Angie Cox December 1st. You know, it’s not only unfortunate that we set aside this day every year—it’s actually tragic. It’s unfortunate that there’s just one day set aside to call out as a reminder to such a devastating global disease; it’s tragic that lives... read more

I will call you by your name

Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day to memorialize trans* people who have died by anti-transgender violence, particularly in the last year. This year, so far, there are 226 people listed on the trans respect (and this list is likely incomplete). They range in age... read more

I’m out: Following my call with integrity

By Shannon Trenton "God looks for men and women of integrity who live holy lives that are accountable to God and to the Body of Christ. Integrity glorifies God, protects us from stumbling, and encourages growth." -“Integrity,” Christian to the Core... read more

Why I can’t leave…At least not yet

By Mike House Some time back I wrote a blog titled “Why I May Not be Able to Stay,” discussing my experiences as a closeted gay pastor with almost 40 years of experience, and reflections on retiring early and leaving the ecclesiastical closet behind prior to the 2012... read more

Legalism vs. Love, Round 3

by Dr. Dorothee Benz Next week, in a makeshift courtroom at a hotel in Memphis, The United Methodist Church’s highest judicial body will decide Rev. Frank Schaefer’s fate. Schaefer was defrocked in December 2013 after a church trial in which the prosecutor threatened... read more

Watch: God is *THIS* big!

By Nicole King, Matthew Depew, and Sarah Depew As an advocate for the LGBTQ community and countless other marginalized groups, Desmond Tutu is one of the world’s most influential human rights advocates…and today is his birthday! As the Anglican Archbishop of Cape... read more

Erasing the hate: My change of heart story

by Jeremy Cole I grew up in the most southeastern part of southeast Georgia that you can be in, St. Marys.  I’m the son of a career Navy submariner who served during the years when “don’t ask don’t tell” was at its peak.  I didn’t fully give my life to... read more

Be a Rainbow in Somebody’s Cloud

by Ashley Boyd As Maya Angelou passed this May, many of my friends and family took to social media to honor her life. One my favorite quotes by Dr. Angelou seemed to be a favorite amongst others: Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud. She stated once in an... read more

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?

Tomorrow, at the invitation of the Connectional Table and the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, RMN will join representatives from the Methodist Federation for Social Action, Love Prevails, Good News, Confessing Movement,... read more

#WeDid!: Reflections from the editors

We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality By Dr. Dorothee Benz, Rev. Doug Cunningham, Rev. Vicki Flippin and Rev. Scott Summerville   Over the last eight months, week in and week out, We Did authors have told stories of... read more

Talking Past Each Other

by Greg Gray As I have made my way through seminary I have found that there are many topics in the church which we discuss believing that we all share a common definition, but this could not be further from the truth.  When I hear someone speaking of sin,... read more

When Will We Learn?

by Rev. Monte Marshall With the recent action by the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Southwest Texas Annual Conference to hinder Mary Ann Barclay’s pursuit of ordination as a deacon in The United Methodist Church, I’m not only grieving for Mary Ann and all... read more

Why I #StandWithMaryAnn

By Amy Pazan @AmyUMC Today in the Southwest Texas Annual Conference, Mary Ann Barclay will be going before the Board of Ordained Ministry for an interview for the process of ordination as a Deacon in The United Methodist Church. Mary Ann was first denied an interview... read more

Hello, my name is Alex

by Alex Shanks reprinted with permission This post has been a long time in the making. For over a year I have wondered how and when I would share with all of you my journey until now. Why am I sharing?No more secrets. Secrets bring shame and I have nothing to be... read more

Racism doesn’t end with Donald Sterling

by Rev. Laura Rossbert  This week Donald Sterling received a fine of $2.5 million, alongside a lifetime ban from the NBA. While this is an important punishment for someone with a history of making overtly racist remarks, let us remember that racism is much more... read more

On God and Caesar

A church that exists among the comfortable cannot be prophetic. We must put Jesus first. by Rev. Dr. Bishop Peter StoreyAbridged; originally preached at FL Annual Conference MFSA gathering 2013; full text here   Storey presenting President Nelson Mandela... read more

Praying for Silence

The group (160+) of clergy and laity in the Oklahoma Conference known as Mainstream United Methodists (MUM) has been working and serving together since 2007.  Their stated purpose is:  to be a source of healing, hope and change in the midst of divisions in... read more

Why it Matters

- by S. David White -  Written for First United Methodist Church, Oneonta, NY as they approach their 25th anniversary of their decision to become a Reconciling congregation. It was a spectacularly broken time in my life. I had just stopped drinking. I had... read more

#WeDid!: Accountable to God first

We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equalityBy Rev. Andie Raynor As I drove to the home where the wedding was to take place, I was a little nervous—not because I was officiating a marriage ceremony between two women, but rather... read more

Gay scoutmaster speaks out

- by Geoffrey McGarth, originally published in the Seattle Times - The Boy Scouts of America are behind the times by barring someone from serving as scoutmaster for his sexual orientation, writes guest columnist Geoffrey McGrath. Two weeks ago, Boy Scout Troop 98 and... read more

#WeDid!: A gay Disney wedding

 We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality By Rev. Ted Gault  I was a local preacher in a big church in Rochester, Minnesota.  Late one afternoon a couple came into the church office asking to be married... read more

#WeDid!: The eyes of God

We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equalityBy Rev. Dr. Julie Faith Parker  “Okay, I’ll officiate at your wedding again,” I told my lifelong friend Josephine—then added with mock seriousness, “But two’s my limit!” ... read more

#WeDid!: Ethics demanded that risk

We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equalityBy Rev. Toby Gould  The two honorary uncles of our teenage children were Dewey and Larry. The remarkable couple, known internationally in their respective fields, became part of... read more

It is my pastoral duties…

- by Rev. Taka Ishii - It was my pastoral duty then and it is my pastoral duty today….. I have only officiated at a dozen Holy Unions over the years between the late 80’s and early 2000’s.  (I am so glad that we now call these services WEDDINGS.)  Many of... read more

What is your story?

- by Julie Wood - This is a follow-up to her first post about her gay son Ben who committed suicide. I have a lot of questions and many of them do have an “edge” to them.  How could anyone that identifies themself as a follower of the example of Jesus, feel he... read more

Is it time for schism in The UMC?

- by Rev. Gil Caldwell, Co-Partner in Truth in Progress - The reaction to Bishop Martin McLee's words, "Church trials result in harmful polarization and continues the harm brought upon our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters," has surfaced,... read more

#WeDid!: We all have a horse in this race

We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equalityBy Rev. Phyllis J. Leopold The year was 1987.  “A holy union, what is that?” I asked as the outgoing pastor handed me the church keys to my then new appointment at Washington... read more

Why marriage matters

- by Rev. Laura Rossbert, spoken at Why Marriage Matters Colorado - It is a joy and a privilege to stand before you as a United Methodist clergywoman and as a staff person at Reconciling Ministries Network. At Reconciling Ministries, we seek to ensure that all people... read more

Wesleyan Obedience

- by Mark Brooks - Recently I attended a Lay Speaker class at my church on UMC heritage. We learned the inspiring story of the Wesley brothers. But, we went on to learn about the spread of the Methodist movement in America and beyond.  I admit I stand in awe of... read more

Seminarians: The Untapped Allies

- by Kelly Rhyne -  From a young age, I have always had the understanding that everyone is accepted and loved by God no matter their race, nationality, wealth, or sexuality.  The God I knew was one that loved with no bounds. The God that sent a... read more

I did…. We do…. Re do!

- by Rev. Dr. Bonnie Beckonchrist, RMN Board Chairperson - Each year in mid February, soon after Valentine's Day, church phones ring and e-mail boxes fill with excited requests to schedule the pastor and sanctuary for weddings in the coming year or two. The same... read more

Musing at 39,000 feet

- by Rev. William R. "Bill" Taylor, UMC North District Superintendent of the Texas Conference - It was a busy week of travel, phone calls with pastors, churches and staff parish chairpersons in crisis. And it was... read more

Dear Rev. Gil

When I wrote the story of the same sex marriage that I performed, I looked forward to the responses. Among the responses that I received, I have chosen this one as being representative of the many, many parents who have looked to the Church for... read more

My Feet Hurt!

- by Gayle Woods, UMC member and Add the Words activist - I would have to attribute my earliest concerns for “social justice” to the many protest songs we sang around campfires in Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF) and church camp in the 60's, but I would... read more

Walking in other people’s shoes

- by Joe Openshaw - I attend a small United Methodist Church on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama. We have a Reconciling Group at the church, with a mission to expand the acceptance of LGBTQ persons throughout the congregation.  On Sunday one of our staff... read more

#WeDid: I was sure that God rejoiced in this union

We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality By Rev. Thea Crites Our connection was through email and then phone. Two women from a state in the South where there was no possibility for a legal same-sex marriage, wanted to come... read more

The Year of Weddings

-by Rev. Mary Kay Totty - 2013 was a year of great weddings! I love these joyous occasions when friends and family gather from far and wide to celebrate the love and loyalty of two people. I have officiated or attended at least eight of these wonderful events this... read more

Preaching to a Different Choir

- by Rolly Loomis, RMN Central Conferences Coordinator - God has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does God require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?  - Micah 6:8   I have been a pastor at St.... read more

#UMC Bishop Willing to Spend Millions on Bigotry

- by Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey -  Last week I received news of a presentation given by episcopal leadership within the United Methodist Church. Bishop Scott J. Jones at a meeting among clergy in the Great Plains Conference gave a speech entitled, “Unity of the... read more

A letter to Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball

Rev. Jack Lipphardt is the Senior Pastor at Johnson Memorial UMC, Huntington, WV. He wrote and sent this letter on December 19, 2013 to the current Bishop of West Virginia Conference, Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball, and also to Bishops Bickerton, Grove, Ives, and Lyght.... read more

Why I may not be able to stay

- by Rev. Michael House - I attended a United Methodist Church service last week for the first time since before the Frank Shaefer trial. It left me with mixed feelings. The congregation is a Reconciling congregation, and the service included the "Reaffirmation... read more

Bishop Tuell: How I changed my mind

- by Bishop Jack M. Tuell (1923-2014) - This sermon was preached at Claremont United Methodist Church in Claremont, California, celebrating the 10th anniversary of becoming a Reconciling congregation - May 18, 2003.   If I were to give a one... read more

#WeDid!: The world needs such love as this

We Did: Stories of United Methodists living BIblical Obedience and marriage equality- by Rev. Lucy Jones - Photo credit: De Nueva Photography I was showing Amy and Jenn around the Grail at Cornwall, the spiritual retreat center where I work and where they were... read more

Do I act as I believe, or chicken out?

We Did: Stories of United Methodists living Biblical Obedience and marriage equality- by Rev. Yuri Ando - It was sometime in late July  2011 when Marge Kirchner, a friend of mine for years, called and asked if we could get together for breakfast.  She is a... read more

A letter to Bishop Peggy Johnson

Anne Kybert is a member at St Luke UMC in Bryn Mawr, PA. Anne felt compelled to write to Bishop Peggy Johnson over the trial of Rev. Frank Schaefer… Dear Bishop Johnson, Most of the time the issue of what religion/denomination I am doesn’t concern me too... read more

Dancing down the aisle

We Did: Stories of United Methodists Living Biblical Obedience and Marriage Equality- by Rev. Vicki Flippin - Now that I live in Harlem, I rarely get to eat real Chinese food. Knowing that they share my love for all foods Asian, I have complained about my current... read more


- by Laura Young, RMN South Central Regional Organizer - So, I’m a bit of a mess this morning. Typical for me. This happens soon after every “event” such as the church trial we’ve all endured the past few days. There are always moments in the thick of things when I... read more

Modeling inclusion

- by Jane Brazell - This week has been exhausting and draining. We’ve seen the worst that our denomination can do. Rev. Schaefer is facing trial because he believes his son worthy of the full blessing of being a member of the United Methodist Church. It’s not marriage... read more

Can anything good come from Lebanon?

- by Rachel Harvey, Deaconess - “Aren’t you coming home for the trial?” I’ve fielded this question a lot in the past couple days. Today, a member of my home community is on trial by the church we both love.  I am from Lebanon, PA (pronounced Leb-nin). ... read more

The Bishop’s Wedding Band

- by David Miller, orginally published on his blog -   "Do you know the General Rules of our Church?" the bishop asked us as we stood before the Clergy Session.  "Will you keep them?" These General Rules originated in John... read more

Stand with Talbert

Dear Reconciling United Methodists, Thank you. Thank you for your show of support of our marriage. We have been overwhelmed with the people near and far who have reached out to us. When we began planning for our wedding, we expected some people to make statements... read more


- by Robyn Henderson-Espinoza - It was a nice morning.  The sun was shining and the sky was blue with few clouds.  I walked to the nearest bus stop and was eager to get to campus to teach my class.  When I arrived at the bus stop, I sat down on the... read more

Against such things there is no law

We Did: Stories of United Methodists Living Biblical Obedience and Marriage Equality- by Rev. Dr. Stephen P. Bauman - It may have been the day after New York State recognized the validity of same-sex marriage that I received a phone call from Lea and Rachel with a... read more

Austin, Texas Pride Parade, part II

Read part one here. The Austin Pride Parade was held on Saturday, September 7, 2013 and 406 Reconciling Methodists participated from 9 churches in the Central Texas and Southwest Texas conferences. Here are some pictures and a story. Learn more about the... read more

Odd Sheep In

- by Amelia Markham - I am convinced that Jesus is actually the Son of God and that he came and died so that who ever would believe would not parish but get to know and experience everlasting love and life with God. This being my conviction, I also happen to... read more

There comes a time: Calling for an open Church

- by Bishop Peter Storey, originally preached at the Service of Solidarity to mark the trial of Rev. Ecclesia de Lange, February 8, 2010 in South Africa -   There comes a time. It’s as simple as that. There comes a time when a new mind settles... read more

A homily for David and Andy

A homily offered at the wedding of David Shumate and Andy Ragland. - by Rev. Bruce Robbins - Andy and David,  I thank you for the honor of being present with you at this wonderful and important moment.  You shared  some of your journey with me... read more

Attached to Africa at the hip

- by Brittany Burrows - It’s time for me to come out of the closet. Mom and Dad, it’s time to tell you the truth, and here it is. I have a tattoo. Now before you freak out, know that it is located on my left hip, where it is easily covered. In fact, I’m the only one... read more

Biblical Obedience on trial

- by Reconciling Ministries Network - A United Methodist pastor in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference will face a church trial in November, accused of officiating a same-sex wedding and violating the order of The Book of Discipline.  Rev. Frank Schaefer, elder... read more

A Eulogy for Edee

- by Chett Pritchett, Intermin Executive Director of Methodist Federation for Social Action - This week I learned of the passing of my high school English teacher. Edee had started teaching English in the 1960s. By the time I reached her classroom in 1993 she was a... read more

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