Town Hall - May 21, 2017
The Reconciling Ministries Network mobilizes United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our Church and world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love. Congregations that identify with this mission can become part of the Reconciling Ministries Network through these steps:
- Adopt an official welcome statement for people of all sexual orientations & gender identities.
- Keep the welcome statement visible (e.g., worship bulletin, webpage, social media, bulletin boards, and opportunities in the community like pride festivals).
- Donate $250 annually to the international Reconciling Ministries Network. This funds training events, online/paper communication, and witness at large UM gatherings. University UMC has a member who would be willing to underwrite this amount.
In practice, University UMC welcomes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities into congregational life and leadership. Officially, we have not publicly proclaimed this. People outside of this congregation may assume that we agree with the denomination’s official stance (“the practice of homosexuality… is incompatible with Christian teaching” - United Methodist Social Principles).
In July 2016, Leadership Council voted to pursue congregational discernment around becoming part of the Reconciling Ministries Network. In October 2016, we hosted an exploratory meeting to learn about becoming a reconciling congregation. Between 30-40 people attended. This group requested to learn more about Scripture and human sexuality, so Rev. Diane led two Bible studies in February 2017 on the seven Bible passages that directly mention homosexuality. Copies of this material are available in the Fellowship Hall.
In November 2016 and May 2017, the Ministry Team created and reviewed a draft welcome statement. The purpose of today’s town hall is to review the following draft welcome statement:
Our Welcome: We invite people of all ages, races, cultures, gender identities, and sexual orientations to be you, be loved, and belong.
Please read, pray, and reflect on this welcoming statement. Bring questions and feedback to Rev. Diane, Dan Barrett (Lay Leader), and Charlotte Ellis (Lay Member to Annual Conference). Based on today’s town hall and feedback over the next few months, UUMC may vote on the Welcome Statement at the end of this summer.