Jami and Diana Breedlove-Crouch are members of Reconciling Church St Paul’s, Ithaca. They are active Process Coaches and here describe some of the ways in which they have been engaged in that work over the past few months.
Since getting trained as Process Coaches in October 2012, Diana and I have had some great experiences visiting with other congregations who are interested in having a conversation about becoming Reconciling.
Forest Home UMC in Ithaca, NY invited Diana and me to their September church council meeting, where the church is considering the Reconciling process. Together, we explored some of the pros and questions regarding becoming a Reconciling Congregation. Already, the congregation is welcoming; they are now considering making the process official. Process Coaches, Patsy Brannon and Wes Buchanan, were invited to speak on November 24th about what it means to them as straight allies to be part of a Reconciling Congregation. (more…)
Rev. Lorelei Toombs is the Senior Pastor of First UMC of Germantown (FUMCOG), the church where Beth Stroud served, a church that has already been through the pain that comes with a church trial. Rev. Toombs wrote this letter to the congregation following the trial of Rev. Frank Schaefer.
Dear FUMCOG Family and Friends,
The events and developments of the last few days and weeks have reopened and ripped fresh somewhat healed, somewhat still-open, wounds that exist in our greater fellowship and common life uniquely as FUMCOGers.
The Trial, conviction, and penalty decided in relationship to Rev. Frank Schaefer’s loving and Biblically Obedient act to honor and give voice to his son and partner’s desire to make a covenant commitment to one another before and under God, through a “same-sex wedding” ceremony, has brought great anger, sadness, and harm to our community. It has broken our local community’s heart and soul open once again – especially as it is related to the greater United Methodist fellowship – with a cry of “How long O Lord?” “Why, o why have you forsaken us?”
We wonder and we ask, “how, is it at all possible that God’s will is served in these days?” (more…)
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 much. I tend to think that if there is a God, (which I believe there is), then he (or she) is the God of all of us, no matter how we try to communicate with him. Having said that, for close to ten years, I have been a happy, regular attender and member at St Luke United Methodist Church, Bryn Mawr , a small but friendly church, whose motto “Growing in Love for Life” very much encapsulates the concern and care that we show both to each other and people in the wider and less advantaged community.
But today is different. Today as I read an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer entitled “Minister told “Reconsider or be Defrocked”, I feel angry and embarrassed to be a Methodist .
I accept that not everyone agrees with gay marriage and the thought of two people of the same sex getting married in church makes some people uncomfortable. But as I think about the congregation in my church, the people who would have opposed the the actions of Rev. Frank Schaefer, who officiated at his son’s same sex marriage, would be very much in the minority.
1. A reflection on Advent from MIND’s Dr. Dorothee Benz.
2. This Advent MIND invites you to engage the UMC in a conversation about what the struggle for LGBTQ rights, in the church and beyond, means to your faith. Tag your photos w/ the hashtag #RethinkPrejudice as well as #RethinkChurch and mention @MINDNYAC.
3. Every Monday MIND releases a new story of United Methodists living marriage equality – catch up with all the stories here: We Did: Stories of United Methodists Living Marriage Equality.
Grace United Methodist Church, Baltimore City, a Reconciling Congregation, presented to our November charge conference with the district superintendent that our church council and pastors plan to conduct a marriage study for the whole congregation. In January and February, 2014, guest speakers and local presenters will engage all who are willing in the congregation in a deep discussion of the meaning of marriage for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. We will test the willingness of the congregation to reach consensus about supporting our pastors in celebrating marriage for all in our church sanctuary in this state of Maryland where marriage for all is legal.
This study is open to other United Methodists in the area. For more details please contact George Kahl, chair of the Grace Reconciling Committee or the Rev. Nancy Webb, minister in retirement at Grace.
The Forum Class of the First United Methodist Church Conway, Arkansas welcomes and affirms people of all sexual orientations and gender identities into the full life of the Church.