BREAKING: Christ Chapel UMC in Kenya Becomes Second African Reconciling United Methodist Church
Oyani Congregation Votes to Affiliate with Reconciling Ministries Network
CHICAGO – Christ Chapel United Methodist Church (UMC) in Oyani, Kenya, became the second African Reconciling Church to join the global Reconciling movement for LGBTQ justice and inclusion in The UMC by affiliating with Reconciling Ministries Network.
Says Christ Chapel UMC’s Rev. Benedict Odhiambo: “We are an open-mind, open-heart and open-doors church willing to share the love of Christ with all without discrimination. And this is in line with what the scripture says in 2 Corinthians 5:18 – and all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”
Christ Chapel UMC’s decision comes about two years after Moheto First United Methodist Church became the first African Reconciling United Methodist Church. Both churches are located in the southwestern municipality of Migori.
Reconciling Ministries Network Executive Director Jan Lawrence says: “Christ Chapel UMC has taken an important step for the visibility of the Reconciling movement in Kenya. At Reconciling Ministries Network, we are thrilled that they have chosen such public witness for the empowerment and encouragement of LGBTQ people everywhere and especially in Kenya.”
The following is the text of Christ Chapel UMC’s welcoming statement. All Reconciling Churches and Communities must adopt a welcoming statement:
We, the Christ Chapel United Methodist Church – Oyani, declare ourselves a Reconciling Church within The United Methodist Church in Kenya. We believe all people are recipients of God’s love and grace, and that God intends the church to be a community that embodies love, grace, and justice for all people. As a sign of faithfulness to God’s covenant with all humankind, we believe that God intends for us, as part of the Christian community, to celebrate diversity and to welcome and accept all people as members of the household of faith. As an expression of Christ’s inclusive love, we affirm the wholeness of all people, and we hope to bring reconciliation to all people within our congregation and community.
We celebrate God’s gift of diversity and value the wholeness made possible in community equally shared and shepherded by all. We welcome and affirm people of every gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, who are also of every age, race, ethnicity, physical and mental ability, level of education, and family structure, and of every economic, immigration, marital, and social status, and so much more. We acknowledge that we live in a world of profound social, economic, and political inequities. As followers of Jesus, we commit ourselves to the pursuit of justice and pledge to stand in solidarity with all who are marginalized and oppressed.
We welcome and affirm people of all tribes to worship at Christ Chapel United Methodist Church – Oyani and to be a part of our church family.
Living into its shared baptismal covenant, Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) equips and mobilizes United Methodists to resist evil, injustice, and oppression as we seek justice for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. RMN envisions a renewed and vibrant Wesleyan movement that is biblically and theologically centered. As committed disciples of Jesus Christ, RMN strives to transform the world by living out the Gospel’s teachings of grace, love, justice, and inclusion for all of God’s children.
For more information, contact:
Ophelia Hu Kinney, Director of Communications
Reconciling Ministries Network