Become a Reconciling Congregation or Community

Over 730 United Methodist communities have gone through the Reconciling process. These communities have approved a statement that specifically names a welcome of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Churches, Sunday School classes, campus ministries, and annual conference groups strengthen the Reconciling Ministries Network through their witness for a fully inclusive church.

This explicit welcome is necessary because our United Methodist Church holds official policies that exclude LGBTQ people from the full life of the Church.

The journey toward Reconciling affiliation has been undertaken by individuals,  United Methodist groups and committees, Annual Conferences, and ecumenical collaborations. The Reconciling process will take intentional planning, educating, and the organizing of small groups, congregations, and various levels of living into the vision of a fully inclusive church and world. This process will take time – how much time will depend on the starting point of the discussion and the diligence in pursuing the goal. If the topic of homosexuality has never been addressed in any way, it will probably take two or three years of planning and ministering. If your community already has some degree of welcome, then it can take less time. In either case, the community needs to become aware of the people, the issues, the language and the stories of LGBT people – then the open hand of welcome can be extended with hopefulness that it will be received.

If you would like to be a process coach or are already coaching a community through the Reconciling process please contact the Regional Organizer assigned to your jurisdiction:

·         Northeastern Jurisdiction
·         Southeastern Jurisdiction
·         North Central Jurisdiction
·         South Central Jurisdiction
·         Western Jurisdiction

Grow RMN’s list of prospective Reconciling communities!  Are there communities in your town, district, or annual conference who are interested in joining our network for a fully inclusive church? Help RMN grow its list by submitting names of communities with whom RMN outreach staff should connect.

Affiliating with RMN:

Congregations and Communities who affiliate with Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) embrace RMN’s goal of full inclusion of LGBT persons in the church, both in policy and in practice, and engage in the Ministry of Reconciliation in two ways:

1. Outreach, welcome, and ministry with and for LGBTQ persons in the local setting.
2. Create ongoing opportunities to engage in dialogue, build relationships, and advocate for the necessary changes to the discriminatory statements and policies in our Book of Discipline including those that prohibit same-sex marriage officiated by UM clergy, same-sex marriage ceremonies held in our sanctuaries, and the ordination of gay and lesbian persons called to ministry.

The basic requirement to affiliate with RMN is a public statement of inclusion that particularly mentions “people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.”

Craft and adopt a welcoming statement
This public statement is all that is necessary to become an official Reconciling Congregation or Community. Because the Book of Discipline specifically singles out lesbian and gay persons for harm, and because RMN is committed to ensuring that bisexual and transgender persons are equally valued and included, it is critical that each statement explicitly welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons (full spelling preferred). This is also an opportunity to consider all who might feel marginalized or unwelcomed by the church. We encourage unique statements that name who you are as a community. Are you a social justice based congregation? A church that focuses on hospitality? A church that is proud of your United Methodist heritage? If helpful, sampleReconciling statements can be obtained from your Regional Organizer.

Prepare statement to send to RMN
Once adopted by vote, Reconciling statements from congregations must be typed on church letterhead. (Communities may not have letterhead.) Statements can be signed by whomever is most appropriate for the Reconciling group: pastor, lay leader, Council chair, Sunday school teacher, UMW President or, if you wish, the signatures of your entire community. Statements should be scanned and emailed to your Regional Organizer along with the provided New Reconciling Community form (see additional notes below).

Encourage individual members to sign up as Reconciling United Methodists
Once your group is Reconciling (or before!), individual members are encouraged to make this same commitment. Hold a Reconciling United Methodist (RUM) drive, inviting everyone in the community to become a RUM. This creates an individual relationship to the movement and ensures that all RUMs receive important communication directly from the larger connection. RUM cards are available for download on the RMN website or by calling the office.

* A “community” is defined as anything other than a congregation – examples being a Sunday School class, campus ministry, UMW Chapter, etc.

We ask that each congregation/community keep their Reconciling statement in visible places.

Most Reconciling Congregations/Communities print their statement in the Sunday bulletin, on the main page of their website, and in their Facebook “about us” section as part of their ongoing welcome. It can also be displayed on bulletin boards or other places where first-time visitors would encounter your statement. Consider newsletters, outdoor signs, letterhead, etc. We encourage you to find opportunities in your community to share your commitment to inclusion – participate in pride festivals, local UMC gatherings, etc. This is an important word of welcome and we hope you will find unique places to share it. Think of it as placing your “Welcome Mat” on the outside of the building, not just the inside.

We ask each Reconciling Congregation or Community to donate annually.

Just as we give to our local church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness, we invite you to do the same with RMN. It is from the generosity of those who believe in full inclusion for LGBT persons that we are able to provide training events, travel to annual conferences, and witness at large UM gatherings. As a guideline, we ask for $250 annually, but know that some can give more and some less. Communities raise these gifts in various ways – special offering, fundraisers, a line item in their budget, and some have an individual who gives to RMN on behalf of the congregation. RMN receives no money from The UMC, our support comes only from churches, communities, individuals and charitable foundations.

What to email to your Regional Organizer:

● Your adopted Reconciling statement
● Your completed “New Reconciling Community Form.” (found on website or provided by your RegionalOrganizer or Process Coach)
● A high resolution photo of your congregation or community to be shared on social media

What to mail to the RMN Office:

● Completed RUM cards for individual members (where possible, please ensure at least 50% of your group have signed up)
● Your donation (if you are able to make one) should be mailed to:

Reconciling Ministries Network, 123 W
Madison St, Ste 2150, Chicago, IL 60602

For more information or support, we encourage you to contact your Regional Organizer who can connect you with a trained Process Coach:

– Western Jurisdiction, western@rmnetwork.org
– North Central Jurisdiction, northcentral@rmnetwork.org
– Northeastern Jurisdiction, northeastern@rmnetwork.org
– Southeastern Jurisdiction, southeastern@rmnetwork.org
– South Central Jurisdiction, southcentral@rmnetwork.org

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