In honor of LGBTQ History Month, Reconciling Ministries Network has interviewed a series of individuals who have been part of the Reconciling movement.
How long and in what ways have you been active in the movement for queer and/or trans justice?
I’m honored to have been one of the folks who helped to create the Reconciling movement in The United Methodist Church. I served as co-coordinator along with Mark Bowman when the program was launched. I helped to shape the process for churches to become reconciling and was involved in the launch of the magazine Open Hands.
What is one of the most important things you’ve learned over your years of advocating for social change?
Social change takes time, so you have to be in for the long haul. Knowing that change takes time doesn’t take away the urgency with which we work or the feelings we have about the slowness of the change, but it gives perspective. When I can remember the 50 years or so that it took for women to be ordained, I draw inspiration from those who have gone before.
What scripture, hymn, poem, song, or author has been a source of spiritual strength for you?
There’s a song by Holly Near and Meg Christian which has been a source of strength for me. The chorus of the song, “The Rock Will Wear Away,” talks about the power of water drops to wear away a stone over time. Here’s a link to the music: https://youtu.be/
What words of encouragement would you offer to those just starting their work in social justice?
Never forget that you are God’s beloved. You were created to be exactly who you are. And God loves and cherishes you for being you. Don’t let anyone or anything take away that knowledge, that affirmation of your belovedness.
Why does knowing our history in the church and/or the social justice movements matter?
I think knowing our history is very important. For one thing, it gives us the long view. And it lets us know that we are not alone in this struggle. We are surrounded by the saints of our movement, the strong ones who have gone before us and who are loving us, walking beside us in our struggle today.
What has kept you involved in The UMC despite the challenges?
Love. When I came to know myself, the Love of God was there. I believe that the God who created The UMC will love us into our future. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be challenges along the way. In fact, the future church may be something none of us can even imagine. There may have to be a death of the church that we currently know. But there will always be a church of some sort and Love will be there.
- Celebrating LGBTQ History Month with Rev. Beth Richardson - October 20, 2016