The Reconciling United Methodists Lunch had the highest number of people attend of any special lunch at the West Michigan Annual conference this year.With over 110 in attendance, this dynamic group celebrated the great Believe Out Loud training held earlier this spring, heard stories of three young people who were driven away from ministry by the church’s homophobia, and rededicated themselves to the end of discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity.

After the food and guest speaker were finished, Mike McDonald, the present organizer, collected a list of action team volunteers.  Mike invited new leadership by calling out the name of each district and recording a coordinator to work primarily in their area.  This geographically based organizing helped spread out leadership and brought in several new voices to this well established team.

In a world where the average age of church members is increasing daily, the dozens of young faces present were a sight for sore eyes!  Young clergy, youth delegates, lay young adults, and clergy candidates were present and active. I was blessed to visit with several friends from my time at Garrett-Evangelical Seminary who were in attendance and hear from the progressive young clergy I know about how their creativity, critical insight and fidelity to a gospel of love and justice are encouraged rather than called “trouble making.”

Finally, The west Michigan RMN display table – shown in pictures below – was an amazing expression of the joy, welcome and multifaceted work of Reconciling United Methodists across our connection!  With books, balloons and other resources, this table invited anyone with any interested in a fun, vital, relevant church to come, learn and get involved!

Audrey Krumbach

Audrey Krumbach will begin as Director of Gender Justice and Education at the United Methodist General Commission on the Status and Role of Women in January 2012. Called to lay ministry, Audrey graduated from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and has served in a variety of settings to build a better church and world, including the Reconciling Ministries Network.

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