Do you have news you want us to include in the next email update – please send it to laura@rmnetwork.org by the 27th for inclusion in next month’s email.

IN THIS ISSUE:

 

WELCOME

– by Laura Young, RMN South Central Jurisdiction Regional Organizer –

Hello South Central Jurisdiction!

Is your conference ready for season two? Is your city ready for a process coach training? The RMN Regional Organizers are preparing for season two of nation-wide process coach trainings, helping us build an inclusive United Methodist Church. The South Central Jurisdiction will receive up to three process coach trainings that will take place between October of 2013 and May of 2014.  Should we schedule a process coach training in your conference? How do you know if the timing is right for your setting?

  •  Are you aware of congregations, Sunday school classes, study groups, etc. that are interested in engaging in reconciling conversations?  If so, how many?
  •  Are these potential reconciling communities located in a particular area of your conference making it obvious that a process coach training is most needed in that city?
  •  Do you have an Annual Conference Team who is ready to work with your Regional Organizer (me!) to plan and host the training event?  If not, are you able to establish a team of leaders to serve in this way?
  • Are there 25 passionate and dedicated people who can attend the training and learn how to serve as a Process Coach?

If you answered “Yes” to these questions, the timing may be right for your conference to host a process coach training. Let’s talk! Please contact me to share what you know about the potential in your area.

Grace and peace,

Laura Young

^

 

RMN AWARDS NOMINATIONS

Nominations sought for five awards to be given at RMN’s convocation, ChurchQuake: Embracing Freedom, held Labor Day weekend:

We need your help!  We know there are many out there that deserve to be awarded, and we need your help to identify them. You know those who are making a difference in your church, community and conference.Please use this application form and send via email to rachel@rmnetwork.org  by July 15, 2013. Contact rachel@rmnetwork.org for more information or questions.

– The Voice in the Wilderness Award is given to persons or groups who, despite their isolation in wilderness situations, take risks to proclaim the rightness of inclusion of all persons in the community of the church.

– The Cup of Justice Award is given to persons or groups who have taken bold steps to invoke justice where injustice, oppression, and exclusion existed.

– The Promise of Inclusion Award is awarded to those outside of Reconciling Ministries Network whose actions and words offer the hope of inclusiveness in the church.

MOSAIC Awards – (Ages 34 and under)

MOSAIC works towards and openly affirming church for all people.

  • Advocate for full participation of persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities within the life and leadership of the United Methodist Church.
  • Strengthened communities and relationships through acts of reconciliation and healing in the name of Christ.
  • Seek to create change in Church policies and practices which are exclusionary of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons, their families, and their allies.
  • Live out Christ’s message of inclusiveness in our churches, schools, and daily lives.

– Planter of Justice: Young Adult Award For an individual or organization of young adults under the age of 35 that live(s) out Mosaic’s mission.

– Shepherd of Hope Award For an individual or organization that supports young adults to have a voice and live out the mission of MOSAIC

 

 

RECONCILING BY THE NUMBERS

^

white box
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr

SURVEY

Help us grow the Reconciling Movement in your annual conference!

Nobody knows your particular setting better than you.  Are you aware of a Sunday school class, congregation, or other community that might be ready to explore Reconciling?  Help RMN become aware of potential Reconciling congregations, communities, and campus ministries in your annual conference and we’ll help them take the next step.  Please take a moment to complete this survey, providing the information we need to contact those who might be ready to learn more.

^

 

ARKANSAS

– by Harold Hughes, Annual Conference Team (ACT) leader –

We did, and didn’t, do a lot during our Annual Conference this year in Arkansas. The 2012 Conference passed a resolution authorizing a task force to create a resource and curriculum for Sacred Conversations on Human Sexuality. Since the task force has not yet completed that task, and would be presenting a report on their work, we opted to not forward any resolutions on sexuality this year. But that doesn’t mean we weren’t busy- we were raising our visibility! We held our first-ever official Conference gathering on Sunday night after the plenary service at Quapaw Quarter, a reconciling Congregation close to the Convention Center. This gave us a chance to meet and socialize with reconciling Methodists from all over the state. Out of this meeting, we arranged to have a gathering at Trinity in Fayetteville when we meet in the northwest part of the state next year.

Arkansas has a new bishop this year, and the whole conference had a very different feel as we finalized the structural changes we have been making over the last few years and prepared to become a more missional and welcoming church. Since welcome is so vital to the reconciling movement, we held a silent parade, wearing this year’s stoles and rainbow gear, smiling and inviting passers-by to join us. We carried colorful signs with the RMN logo, a colorful sign stating (open) ARMS (the acronym for our Annual Conference team- Arkansas Reconciling Methodists), and John Wesley’s “Do all the good you can” quote with “to all the people you can” in rainbow letters. While taking our walk through the gathering areas and even into the hall as everyone gathered after lunch, I was able to get retired bishop Benny Warner (originally from Liberia) to join us, and engaged him in a discussion about the need to change the language in the Discipline.

Also, a member of our team, Paul Atkins was commissioned as a deacon. Since he couldn’t wear his stole during the service, he wore it under his robe and sported a bright rainbow cincture hand-knotted by his wife Julie (each knot was in honor of one of their LGBT friends).

We look forward to the release of the holy conferencing curriculum from the task force this year, in following up on several new groups interested in the reconciling process, and in making an even bigger impact at conference next year!  If you’re interested in helping us increase the number of welcoming places, or if you have ideas to share about future events in the Arkansas Conference, please contact Harold Hughes at rainbowharold@yahoo.com or 501.612.0902.  We look forward to hearing from you!

^

CENTRAL TEXAS (Fort Worth area)

– by Brendan Peoples, Annual Conference Team (ACT) representative –

We’re excited about the potential for new Reconciling congregations and communities in the Central Texas Conference.   We’re working to grow our local Reconciling family and build our leadership team to help support each other and offer future events.  If you’re interested in helping us increase the number of welcoming places, if you know of congregations or Sunday school classes who might be interested in learning more, or if you have ideas to share about future events in Central Texas, please contact Brendan Peoples at bkpcpa_fortworth@yahoo.com or Eddie Castlow at edcastlow@yahoo.com.

^

GREAT PLAINS

– by Jeanette Grenz, Annual Conference Team (ACT) representative –

The Nebraska, Kansas East, and Kansas West Conferences will be officially united together and called The Great Plains Conference during a conference and worship service scheduled for August 22nd – 24th at the Bicentennial Center in Salina, KS.   The newly combined Reconciling Team will enjoy being together for the first time and will have a Reconciling presence at this uniting event.  We hope you’ll save the date and plan to participate.   Brian Sutton will serve as the Annual Conference Team (ACT) leader for the new Great Plains Conference.  If you would like to join the leadership team and participate in the planning of future events, please contact Brian at brian.sutton@collegehillumc.org.  

^

KANSAS EAST

– by Jeanette Grenz, Annual Conference Team (ACT) representative –

Since this year was the last session of the Kansas East Annual Conference (we are uniting with Kansas West and Nebraska next year), we decided it was a good time to highlight the actions our Conference has taken over the years in support of full inclusion of ALL people.  Our display included a timeline that began with the Conference asking the Cabinet and Board of Ordained Ministry in 1971 to study the total relation of human sexuality and the ministry, with special reference to alleged or self-acknowledged homosexuality of Christian ministers.  This was the year before the harmful language was added to the Book of Discipline in 1972.  There have been several petitions passed and sent on to General Conference since then from Kansas East which tried to get this language removed from the BOD.  Our display also told about Wide Is God’s Welcome~KC with contact information and how to become a part of our group.  In addition, we passed out 288 rainbow crosses that had been made by First UMC in Northville, MI, so people could easily be identified as supporting full inclusion.  These will also be available at the Uniting Conference in August.

Find Wide is God’s Welcome-KC on Facebook and “Like” us to get updates and find out about upcoming events!  As we become part of the Great Plains Conference, we are committed to working together for continued support of full inclusion of persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the United Methodist Church. Click here to see our Facebook page.

^

KANSAS WEST

– by Brian Sutton, Annual Conference Team (ACT) representative –

The final Kansas West Annual Conference was held on the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, KS on May 22nd – 24th where friends from College Hill UMC, Wichita and Trinity UMC, Salina helped to host a Reconciling Booth.  We enjoyed visiting with those who stopped by as well as offering information, buttons, ribbons, and great snacks. We now look forward to joining the Reconciling teams from Kansas East and Nebraska as we combine to become the Great Plains Conference this coming August.

If you have questions or would like to join our Great Plains Reconciling Team, please contact Brian at brian.sutton@collegehillumc.org.

 ^

LOUISIANA

– by Rev. Anita Dinwiddie, Annual Conference Team (ACT) representative –

Once again (our 3rd consecutive year) we hosted a Reconciling table at the Louisiana Annual Conference.  We enjoyed seeing old friends and welcoming new and soon-to-be Reconciling United Methodists in Louisiana.  Our lay and clergy delegates were called upon to discuss and vote on a piece of legislation that we believe would have done harm to our LGBT friends in Louisiana.  We’re grateful that the legislation was not adopted.  Dr. John Fletcher shared his thoughts in a wonderful blog found here.

On Saturday during Pride weekend, St. Mark’s in New Orleans hosted a table in the park providing activities for children.  On Monday, the last day of Pride festivities, St. Mark’s hosted a memorial service on the 40th Anniversary of the Upstairs Lounge Fire.

We’re working to grow the Reconciling family and build a leadership team to provide support and offer future Reconciling events in the Louisiana Conference.  If you’re interested in helping to increase the number of welcoming spaces, if you know of congregations or Sunday school classes who might be interested in learning more about the Reconciling process, or if you have ideas to share about future events in the Louisiana Conference, please contact Laura Young, RMN Regional Organizer for the South Central Jurisdiction.  Send email to:  laura@rmnetwork.org  or call:  312-448-5309

^

MISSOURI

We’re working to grow the Reconciling family and build a leadership team to provide support and offer future Reconciling events in the Missouri Conference.  If you’re interested in helping to increase the number of welcoming spaces, if you know of congregations or Sunday school classes who might be interested in learning more about the Reconciling process, or if you have ideas to share about future events in the Missouri Conference, please contact Laura Young, RMN Regional Organizer for the South Central Jurisdiction.  Send email to:  laura@rmnetwork.org  or call:  312-448-5309

 ^

NEBRASKA

– by Betty and Bob Dorr, Annual Conference Team (ACT) representatives –

A Reconciling information table at Annual Conference can be a good place to talk one-on-one about how to become a Reconciling congregation. The table also can offer information on gay and transgender issues to pastors and families who feel isolated in small communities.

Reconciling United Methodists of Nebraska has organized and staffed such tables for several years at Nebraska Annual Conferences, and did that at the final Nebraska Annual Conference June 6-8 in Lincoln. What comes next is merger with the two Kansas conferences. The new conference will be the Great Plains Annual Conference.

We had conversations with four Nebraska pastors who had questions about the process of becoming a Reconciling church. Two took packets giving information on how to proceed. Several persons signed cards to become individual Reconciling members.  We talked with three or four gay youths who said they want to become United Methodist pastors.  We distributed 100 small cloth rainbow crosses. The crosses are a sign of celebration for Christian diversity and a special welcome to the gay community. We asked those who plan to attend the Great Plains Uniting Conference in Salina, KS, later this summer to wear their Rainbow Cross at the conference as an identifying symbol.

Betty Dorr of First United Methodist Church-Omaha, made arrangements for the table and organized it.  Betty, Bob, Ruth Kruse and Iola Mullins staffed the table.

^

NEW MEXICO

We’re working to grow the Reconciling family and build a leadership team to provide support and offer future Reconciling events in the New Mexico Conference.  If you’re interested in helping to increase the number of welcoming spaces, if you know of congregations or Sunday school classes who might be interested in learning more about the Reconciling process, or if you have ideas to share about future events in the New Mexico Conference, please contact Laura Young, RMN Regional Organizer for the South Central Jurisdiction.  Send email to:  laura@rmnetwork.org  or call:  312-448-5309

^

NORTH TEXAS (Dallas area)

North Texas is excited about the potential for Reconciling growth and is taking steps to prepare for a bright future.  If you’re interested in helping to increase the number of welcoming places, if you know of congregations, Sunday school classes, college campuses, or youth groups who might be interested in learning more about the Reconciling process, or if you have ideas to share about future events in North Texas, please contact Laura Young, RMN Regional Organizer for the South Central Jurisdiction.  Send email to:  laura@rmnetwork.org  or call:  312-448-5309

^

NORTHWEST TEXAS (Lubbock area)

– by Rev. Jonette Gay, Annual Conference Team (ACT) representative –

I was glad to be a part of reconciling group gathering at the NWTX conference. We talked about continuing to invite other laity and clergy to have a safe setting where they can be inclusive and open to all. I know there are many people in rural churches in our conference who are silently supportive of all sexual orientations. They have learned that unwritten rule that has since disbanded from the military rule of law, ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell.’

We want to get the word out that they are not alone.  We have one church in our conference who is affiliated with Reconciling Ministries Network, but St. John’s UMC is not the only place where LGBT persons are included. They are simply the only place that is open and affirming as a whole community.  It is our hope that we will reach out to friends and neighbors and share our story.  It is our hope that we, clergy and laity who include and care in our hearts, will open our church doors and find our voice of love.

If you have questions, ideas, or if you’d like to join our leadership team, please contact Laura Young at laura@rmnetwork.org or by phone at:  312-448-5309.  Lastly, we hope you’ll join our new Facebook page.  “Like” the page to stay connected and informed about future events.  Find it here.

^

OKLAHOMA

During our 2013 annual conference, Reconciling friends enjoyed a breakfast gathering at Epworth UMC where beautiful rainbow stoles were shared and then worn by many throughout annual conference.

The Oklahoma team is working to grow the Reconciling family and would love to add new friends to the leadership team.  Our goals are to provide support for each other and offer future Reconciling events in the Oklahoma Conference.  If you’re interested in helping to increase the number of welcoming spaces, if you know of congregations or Sunday school classes who might be interested in learning more about the Reconciling process, or if you have ideas to share about future events in the Oklahoma Conference, please contact Laura Young, RMN Regional Organizer for the South Central Jurisdiction.  Send email to:  laura@rmnetwork.org  or call:  312-448-5309

 ^

OKLAHOMA INDIAN MISSIONARY

We’re working to grow the Reconciling family and build a leadership team to provide support and offer future Reconciling events in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC).  If you’re interested in helping to increase the number of welcoming spaces, if you know of congregations or Sunday school classes who might be interested in learning more about the Reconciling process, or if you have ideas to share about future events in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, please contact Laura Young, RMN Regional Organizer for the South Central Jurisdiction.  Send email to:  laura@rmnetwork.org  or call:  312-448-5309

^

RIO GRANDE

We’re working to grow the Reconciling family and strengthen our team with the future merging of two conferences – the current Rio Grande and Southwest Texas Conferences.  Knowing that we’re always better together, these new friends will begin to get to know each other in the very near future.  The new conference name will be Rio Texas and the combined Reconciling team will be getting a new name as well (announcement in a future edition).  If you’re interested in helping to increase the number of welcoming spaces, if you know of congregations or Sunday school classes who might be interested in learning more about the Reconciling process, or if you have ideas to share about future events in the Rio Grande/Rio Texas Conference, please contact Laura Young, RMN Regional Organizer for the South Central Jurisdiction.  Send email to:  laura@rmnetwork.org  or call:  312-448-5309

^

SOUTHWEST TEXAS (Austin/San Antonio area)

– by Joy Butler, Annual Conference Team (ACT) leader –

Our Annual Conference was held on June 6-9 in Corpus Christi.  Our displays were colorful, with an interactive display and a book display of Reconciling titles that could be purchased from Cokesbury.  One table was devoted to rainbow stoles lovingly made by volunteers across our conference, one of whom is featured here.

Because we had extra space, we designated one table the “Bring Your Own Coffee” coffee spot, and little did we know useful having that extra space for sit-down discussion would be!  At AC, Reconciling Team member Mary Ann received notice that the Southwest Texas Board of Ordained Ministry had met and removed her from the ordination process.  After a few tears and a lot of hugs, our Team rallied and delegates from outside our expected group of supporters began reaching out to Mary Ann, with offers of help and support.

Thursday evening (June 6) we held our planned dinner at a local restaurant for RUMs.  We had over 50 join us.  At the end of the meal, we surrounded Mary Ann, laying hands on her and each other as we lifted up prayers in a circle of love and affirmation.

Our Team issued a Call to Action.  Bishop Dorff made his ruling, and his decision will be reviewed by the UMC Judicial Council this fall.  Finally, Mary Ann Kaiser responded to the ruling here.
We thank all of our Reconciling brothers and sisters, in our conference and beyond, who have shown support for Mary Ann.  We continue to pray while waiting for the Judical Council review this fall.  “Like” us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter for updates.

 

TEXAS (Houston area)

– by Rev. Glynden Bode, Breaking the Silence (BTS) board member –

The 2013 Texas Annual Conference included the 17th annual Breaking the Silence (BTS) dinner and program, a Reconciling display booth hosted by Bering Memorial UMC in Houston, and the launching of a new poster campaign highlighting the harm being done in the name of Christ’s church. Rev. Jim Bankston, founding member of BTS, was the key note speaker at the BTS dinner and called almost 400 attendees to greater accountability and hope for the future. More than 80 people made a commitment to some role in beginning small group meetings by district, and 13 people indicated that their congregation or community was interested in beginning Reconciling conversations. Finally, Rev. Jim and Sandy Bankston and Rev. Kevin and Laura Young were honored by the executive board and BTS family for their ongoing leadership and service.  As always, we thoroughly enjoyed being together and celebrating steady progress toward the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender friend in the Texas Annual Conference.

We hope you’ll save September 29th on your calendar and plan to join us for the next BTS event where we will hear from a panel of friends who are successfully offering LGBT support groups in their local church setting. Stay connected and informed of this and more future events through our BTS Facebook page and follow BTS on Twitter during United Methodist related events.  Contact us via email at admin@breakingthesilencetxc.org

 

^


. . .

See what other Jurisdictions are up to: WesternNorth CentralSouth CentralNortheasternSoutheastern

 

 

Share This