2020: RMN’s Year in Review
I want to take a moment at the end of the year to not only say thank you but to reflect on what RMN was able to accomplish with you this year. I could not be more proud of the RMN team, which has responded to a year like no other with grace, compassion, and a great vision for our future work.
Connection 2020 & General Conference Preparations
We began 2020 on a high note, continuing preparations for General Conference 2020. Both the Christmas Covenant and the Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace were properly before the delegates for consideration. In February, we were uplifted by Connection 2020, readying for the gathering ahead in Minneapolis.
We are deeply grateful for Mark Bowman, Mark Miller, Marcia McFee, and Jorge Lockward, who made the event a profoundly moving experience. At the time, we had no idea how important those few days of fellowship and worship would become.
Then, before I could unpack my suitcase from Connection 2020 and a subsequent trip to First Church in Evanston, IL, we found ourselves in the middle of a global health pandemic unlike anything we’d experienced before. Simultaneously, awareness of white supremacy increased as anti-Black violence erupted and demonstrations took place around the world. As justice seekers, we were reminded of our call to be the Church in renewed and reimagined ways.
At the start of the pandemic and global lock-downs, we quickly pivoted to support Reconciling Churches and be a resource to isolated individuals. Our world, like most people’s, became a virtual one. We began offering a Virtual Porch where folks could congregate to discuss a specific topic of interest to justice seekers. We also organized quarterly worship services for the whole Reconciling family. RMN Organizers began dreaming about different ways to connect with constituents. And, we began to reimagine how we could resource a quickly growing movement.
Rooted & Rising
RMN embarked on deep discernment about who we were called to be in the midst of these pandemics. The result of that discernment was a reclamation of our roots with a focus on intersectional justice. We reaffirmed our existence apart from the General Conference; our mission has never depended on the decisions of the General Conference. While RMN was born out of the 1972 General Conference that codified anti-LGBTQ discrimination, RMN exists to serve the Church and Methodists.
Our discernment included mission and vision work led by a board committee, examining our internal and external commitments to racial justice, and strategizing to support the 8,000+ new RUMs and 300+ Reconciling ministries that have become a part of the network in the last two years.
The result of the discernment is Rooted & Rising, a campaign that was launched in September 2020. In a sense, Rooted & Rising takes us back to our (grass)roots and emphasizes an intentional focus on intersectional justice. I am incredibly proud of the staff for the work that went into Rooted & Rising, and we are all encouraged by the response of the movement to the possibilities that Rooted & Rising holds.
We hope that you will all join us in the Rooted & Rising campaign and in our work going forward by engaging with your Annual Conference or Regional team. You can support our work on an ongoing basis by joining The Wellspring: RMN’s growing community of recurring donors.
As this year comes to a close, we feel immense gratitude for your part in this movement. Through lean and difficult times, we have leaned on the Reconciling family around the world. And in 2021, we have so much good work to do. We would love to have you by our side as we take on the organizing, resourcing, educating, and ahead of us.