[Love Train] Diversity Aboard the Love Train

RMN News

[Love Train] Diversity Aboard the Love Train

Welcome to the second installment of our summer series centered on the Love Train. On June 9th, we outlined what it means to keep the Love Train fueled. This week we’re exploring who’s on board. Spoiler alert: we hope it’s everyone! 

There’s both room and a deep desire for everyone to journey together. We also acknowledge that, as passengers on this train, we’re pretty diverse travel companions. Let’s explore some of the people we might meet as we move through the train cars. 

Friends who have been on board for years, decades, perhaps from the very beginning 

  • If you are a Reconciling United Methodist, we’re talking about you. The people, churches, and small groups that are part of the Reconciling movement have been taking risks, sharing stories, spreading the good news, and inviting friends for a very long time. Simply saying “thank you” is grossly inadequate. Your courage, skills, and energy are invaluable and our gratitude runs deep. We journey forward together with the benefit of our collective experiences and wisdom. 

Friends who hoped this train would someday arrive and jumped on board as soon as they could

  • There are many who have been longing for the changes we achieved at GC, but for various reasons were hesitant to get on board before the prohibitions were removed. Maybe your small group or church has been wanting to explore becoming Reconciling and now you feel liberated to do so. Check out this page on our website to learn more. And please reach out to your organizer for more support whenever needed. 

Friends who appreciate the potential of the Love Train, but who are unsure about how their church might respond

  • It might be that your local church chose to stay UMC, but the members remain theologically diverse. Perhaps the conversations over the past several years have left you a little tired, and not yet ready to explore what is now possible. You’re happy with the changes and possibilities, but not sure how this will play out in your local context. You’d like to rest for a bit and then take next steps at a slower pace.  
  • When you’re ready, here is a study that might help you get started – Unity of the Church and Human Sexuality: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness from the Global Board of Discipleship. Again, if you’d like a conversation partner, don’t hesitate to email your organizer. We’re happy to offer support. 

Friends who are disappointed with the GC outcomes and aren’t sure about their next steps

  • We recognize that some are feeling deeply uncomfortable with the new changes to our UM Book of Discipline and are discerning how to continue on the journey with our UMC family. We affirm that all are invited to share in God’s table of grace, and all are called to love our neighbors and care for the least in the communities we serve. As the Love Train chugs along, may we recommit to that grace-filled work and continually create more time and opportunities to share our stories of faith.

As we must often do, we’re holding two important things in tension. We hope those struggling to envision a future UMC that affirms LGBTQ+ will not hop off the train too quickly. Even in our disagreement, we hope folks with open hearts will choose to continue the journey. At the same time, we can’t throw one group of friends under the train in order to keep another group on board. To be more specific, we’re unwilling to dismiss or downplay the recent policy changes in an effort to prevent further disaffiliations. We are proud of and grateful for the changes, and don’t want to hide that light under a bushel. 

While we celebrate the removal of mandated discrimination, the option to discriminate is still very much available, and this fact calls RMN and our Reconciling family to continue the journey. There is space on this journey… a seat on the train for everyone. We recognize that United Methodists may be boarding the Love Train from different places and perspectives. That’s okay. 

“Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may.”

John Wesley