Since its 1982 founding, Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) has gone through changes in name, location, and leadership. Through it all, we have remained steadfast, committed, and faithful to the radical and inviting love of God through Jesus the Christ. We are working tirelessly to ensure that love includes a full welcome and tenacious embrace of all people, especially God’s LGBTQ+ children, in The United Methodist Church.
In the midst of conversations about our denomination’s future, we believe in the necessity of affirming and proclaiming our commitments and beliefs. This is not a statement of persuasion or argument or advocacy. It is testimony. It is witness. It is following in the footsteps of the first one to witness to the good news of resurrection: Mary Magdalene who said to the frightened disciples: I have seen the Lord!
We have seen the resurrected Lord as well, and we, like Mary, will not let fear squelch our story. Just as Mary stood firm in her witness, we stand firm in the inclusive nature of God’s love and of God’s vision for the Church. We tirelessly dedicate ourselves to living the reality of our baptismal vows: resisting evil, injustice, and oppression. We do this by seeking justice for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. We recognize and celebrate those who have been on the forefront of resisting the evil of homophobia and transphobia: Affirmation, Love Prevails, Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), Methodists in New Directions (MIND), United Methodist Queer Clergy Caucus (UMQCC), Western Methodist Justice Movement (WMJM), other partners from the Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC), and those people who have borne the anger of a bigoted church. Resistance is difficult, but Christ has emboldened and strengthened each organization and person so that they can continue to stand in the face of oppression and hatred.
The journey toward resistance begins with gratitude. The Scriptures tell us that we love because God first loved us. We are grateful for that surprising, unexpected love that God has graciously offered and for the many ways we experience that love first-hand through the lives and stories of so many who have been part of the Reconciling family and movement within our beloved Church. Those stories have made The United Methodist Church stronger and more vibrant across our great connection. We are also grateful to the Council of Bishops and the Commission on a Way Forward for their hard work and discernment in beginning a process that allowed different voices to be heard and a process that, we pray, is given time to bear fruit. The olive tree, once mature, can take 3, 5, or even 12 years to bear fruit. All things will be made right in God’s time.
We witness the lives of many of our friends who have not felt welcome inside the doors of United Methodist churches. Their calling, their ministry, and even their baptism have been questioned. But we still believe in the best of what The United Methodist Church can be: a movement where social and personal holiness blossom in a wide variety of contexts including in communities outside of the United States. We have much to learn together. Walking through the challenges of our multi-national contexts strengthens us as we intersect and weave the stories of United Methodists in the world.
We are called to stay in this global movement. We believe in its mission. And, we awaken every day committed to ensuring that LGBTQ+ children of God are both included and affirmed as leaders with gifts to offer The United Methodist Church.
God’s love is made perfect in the lives of those who act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. It is with this humility that Reconciling Ministries Network will work continuously within Church structures to fully invite, welcome, and celebrate LGBTQ+ people in the life and leadership of our beloved Church. We do not support any plan that calls for dissolution, but we live into the wider movement of the Church: to make disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world. We acknowledge and lament that all currently known plans fall short of the glory of God’s fullness. So, we remain committed to the work of adopting legislation that ends oppression as well as the ongoing journey toward doing no harm, doing all the good we can, and loving God.