Newsletter September 2018 Kelly Dunn
Building an Inclusive Church ~ September 2018
A special edition newsletter of the Minnesota Reconciling Congregations – Electronic Version
For many years the Reconciling Movement in Minnesota has advocated for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people into the life of the United Methodist Church. Each of our member congregations have adopted statements that welcome and affirm all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We have reached out in mission at Pride events in different communities to help people find a safe place to worship. Thank you for being part of this important movement.
Removing the hate from the Book of Discipline?
After more than 40 years of contentious debate at the General Conferences of UMC, delegates from across the world will meet in a special General Conference in February 2019 in St. Louis, MO to review a recommendation from the Council of Bishops to adopt the One Church Plan. If passed, it could allow for the celebration of same sex marriages by UMC Clergy in local churches. It would allow Annual Conferences to ordain queer clergy and would remove a hateful statement that states: The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Opposition groups have been lobbying hard for over a year to defeat this plan. It will take a broad coalition of delegates to approve these changes.
Bishop Ough is hosting conversations across the state to provide information on the One Church Plan. Please encourage your clergy, members and church leaders to attend:
Woodbury: The Grove UMC (7465 Steepleview Road)—Monday, Oct. 1, 6:30-9 p.m.
We encourage you to keep your members informed about the proposed One Church Plan and the work of the Special General Conference. If you have not made plans to hold informational meetings about this at your church, consider doing so this fall.
Support Inclusion at the Special General Conference – February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, MO
The Reconciling Ministries Network is part of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC). LYNC volunteers will be present in St. Louis to advocate for inclusion at the Special General Conference. If you or others from your local church would be willing to volunteer your time and talents, soon you can complete a volunteer form at their website: lyncoalition.org/volunteer/
In addition, cash donations are requested from churches and individuals to offset the cost of this effort. Donations can be made to LYNC or through the Reconciling Ministries Network.
Minnesota Annual Conference
Thank you to all who attended the Reconciling Luncheon last May in St. Cloud at the Minnesota Annual Conference gathering. During the General Session, two of the Minnesota Delegates to the General Conference provided an overview of the One Church Plan and pledged their support. Our group also sponsored a pre-conference workshop on how Respectful Conversations could be held at local churches. We also had an informational booth in the room where meals were shared.
We ask that each of our member congregations appoint one or more lay or clergy members as a designated representative to our group. Our group meets every other month in the odd numbered months at 7pm at Hennepin Avenue UMC on the second Thursday of the month. During this meeting we plan outreach activities (such as Pride participation), how we can serve as a resource to churches that are Reconciling or are considering this move. We organize an annual gathering for members of Reconciling Congregations to get an update on the movement.
We would invite the designated representative to attend the meeting and join our Yahoo Group. If they cannot attend we can connect on the phone. Our next meeting is on Thursday 9/13.
Our group’s web site was refreshed with a new look in 2017. Check it out at www.mnrcumc.org
Change happens, is the information for your local church up-to-date? Send any updates to the webmaster with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also have a Facebook page where updates are frequently posted. This will be a primary tool to keep our supporters up to date on the actions leading up to the special General Conference. Please like us.
Supporters of our group can register for regular notices by joining our Yahoo Group to receive email notifications of our meeting dates and minutes from our bi-monthly meetings. If you would like to be notified please send an email to email@example.com.
The Reconciling Ministries Network website has tools and a wealth of information on our movement. www.rmnetwork.org
Altar for All
Some of our Reconciling Congregations after internal discussions have held a church conference and adopted a statement of support for holding same sex marriages in their building. If you have not done so, let us know how we can help.
For those congregations that have adopted Altar for All statements, please add their name to the RMN Altar for All web page: https://rmnetwork.org/take-action/altar-for-all/ This helps people who are looking for a congregation that will marry all prepared couples.
Annual Financial Support for our Group is Needed
We ask each of the Minnesota Reconciling Congregations to provide some financial support to our group to support our programs. The majority of our funds are used for outreach at the Twin Cities Pride which is a regional event drawing over 300,000 attendees. At our booth in the festival we hand out thousands of rainbow peace necklaces. Our presence and conversations with people let them know that there are UMCs that will welcome them. We have also marched in the Parade for over twenty years.
A typical gift is $300 per year. Gifts have ranged from $100 – $1,000. If you have not already provided support in 2018, please do so and we ask that you include our group in your 2019 church budget. Gifts can be sent to our group’s fiscal agent:
Walker Community UMC, PO Box 7588, Minneapolis MN 55407
THANK YOU for your ongoing support of the work to make the United Methodist Church a more inclusive Church!