On this page you’ll learn how your ministry can affiliate with the Reconciling movement.
CHURCHES • COMMUNITIES • CAMPUS MINISTRIES • REGIONAL COMMUNITIES
What does it mean to affiliate with RMN?
Reconciling congregations, communities, and campus ministries (RCs) who affiliate with RMN embrace RMN’s commitment to achieving LGBTQ justice and full inclusion in the life and ministry of The United Methodist Church, both in policy and in practice. They engage in the ministry of Reconciliation in two ways:
- Outreach, affirmation, and intersectional ministry with and for LGBTQ persons in the local setting.
- Creating opportunities to engage in dialogue, build relationships, and advocate for changes to Church policies related to ordination equality, marriage equality, and the availability of funds that help make LGBTQ justice a reality.
Overview of the Reconciling Process
Click to jump to each section.
Types of Reconciling Ministries
There are four types of Reconciling ministries, each requiring a slightly different process for study and decision making.
- Reconciling Church: an entire congregation that votes to affiliate with RMN
- Reconciling Community: a group such as a Sunday school class, youth group, UMW circle, music ministry, camping ministry, seminary, college, etc. In some cases, new groups form specifically to become a Reconciling Community. The group votes and is making the decision only for the group, not beyond. Church members not part of the group do not participate in the vote.
- Regional Reconciling Community: a group of individual Reconciling United Methodists (RUMs), often members of many different United Methodist Churches in a district or region, who establish a Regional Reconciling Community unattached to a local church. They often meet at a location considered to be the geographical center of their area or rotate their meetings among UMCs who offer meeting space.
- Reconciling Campus Ministry: a campus ministry vote typically includes student members and leaders, staff, and the ministry board. It is up to each campus ministry to determine who should vote, but the general rule is the more people involved the better.
Study and Discernment
While every Reconciling process is unique, there are common and essential steps. The time required to move through the process varies depending on the size of the group or congregation, how much they’ve already studied and discussed the topic, and general receptivity to change.
The Organizing Team has put together the following 30-minute video that captures the basics of the Reconciling process.
You can also read the basics below.
1. Establish a leadership team
Establish a core team to lead the church or community. The process is, by design, lay-led and should include a diverse group of church members, all of whom are passionate about LGBTQ justice and inclusion in The UMC.
2. Design your process
The team becomes familiar with the basic elements and tools for the journey, completes the congregational assessment provided in the Building an Inclusive Church (BIC) toolkit, and designs a custom path.
3. Follow your process
Follow your designed process – prayer, storytelling, personal meetings, relationship building, Bible study, discussion groups, book clubs, continuing education events, etc. – whatever is best for your setting. Click here for study resources suggested by our Organizers.
4. Discuss RMN’s Reconciling statement
Study and discuss RMN’s foundational Reconciling statement. The adoption of this statement is required for affiliation:
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.
5. Take a straw poll
We strongly recommend that groups, especially large groups and churches, take a straw poll about 2/3rds of the way through the process to measure progress. This is a helpful tool that can ultimately ensure a high percentage of support during the actual vote.
Seek a bare minimum of 75% support in the straw poll before moving forward. Continue your process based on straw poll results. Click here for a sample straw poll.
6. Hold your vote
Schedule, advertise, and hold a vote to adopt the foundational Reconciling Statement and affiliate with RMN.
7. Complete affiliation form & notify your Organizer
Complete the “Affiliating with RMN” form and email the required documents and photo to your Organizer so that we can make it official! Follow steps found in “Five Steps to Complete Your Process to Affiliate.”
Share and celebrate your decision throughout your church and community. Check out “Next Steps for New Reconciling Ministries” for ideas.
This was a quick and basic introduction to the process. If you haven’t already, please view the Reconciling Process Brief Overview video for more tips and best practices. Don’t hesitate to contact your RMN Organizer for additional assistance.
Final Steps to Affiliate
Once you’ve determined the kind of Reconciling ministry you are and undertaken study and discernment, you’re ready for these final steps.
Note: These are the final steps to affiliate with RMN. If you are preparing to begin your process, RMN recommends a specific lay-led, relationship-based model for engaging in intentional conversation, study, and discernment.
Step 1: Vote to adopt a statement of affirmation and advocacy.
A ministry of Reconciliation includes an intersectional approach to justice and inclusion. Both RMN and our greater Reconciling family are committed to advocacy for the many people groups who continue to experience oppression within the Church and world. Affiliation with RMN requires the adoption of the following foundational statement.
“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.”
If additional language is needed to more completely describe your church or group, you are welcome to add a sentence(s) before and/or after the required text. A vote to adopt this statement, as written, will serve as the foundational requirement for affiliating with RMN. A vote of at least 75% support is needed.
Step 2: Complete the “Affiliating with RMN” New Reconciling Ministry Form.
The New Reconciling Ministry Form confirms that you’ve voted to adopt the required statement, collects basic information about your church or community, as well as information about the persons chosen as your primary contacts. Please note that the two primary contacts should be laity and must be registered as Reconciling United Methodists (RUMs). Click here to register as a RUM. Along with your photo, this form will become part of your RMN record.
Step 3: Email a high-resolution photo to your Organizer.
A photo will accompany your Reconciling Statement and New RC Form in RMN records, and we will share it as part of the announcement on social media. Cell phones take great high-resolution photos, so feel free to use them. Small groups of smiling faces, class members signing their statement, congregations gathered on the sanctuary chancel, or your outdoor sign all make great photos. Horizontal photos preferred.
Step 4: Discuss financial support to RMN.
Recommended but not required
Just as we give to our local churches with our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness, we invite you to do the same with RMN. It is from the generosity of those who believe in LGBTQ justice and inclusion that we are able to provide training events, educational resources, coaching, travel to annual conferences, witness at UM gatherings, and organize for change at General, Jurisdictional, and in Central Conferences.
Consider sending a financial gift to RMN at the time of your vote and affiliation, and each year thereafter. Churches and communities can raise these gifts in various ways including a special offering, fundraisers, or a line item in their budget. Some have an annual tradition of celebrating their anniversary of voting to affiliate with RMN by holding a Reconciling Anniversary worship service that includes a special offering. RMN receives no money from The UMC. Our financial support comes solely from churches, communities, individuals, and charitable foundations.
Your financial gift can be made online or mailed to:
Reconciling Ministries Network
201 W. Lake St. Suite 109
Chicago, IL 60606
Step 5: Register new Reconciling United Methodists
Recommended but not required
Holding a Reconciling United Methodist (RUM) drive invites everyone in your community to become a RUM and receive important communication from the larger connection. This is an individual decision and commitment. Online registration is quick, easy, and most efficient.
Reconciling Process Resources
Here’s a list of the resources we referenced through this page and the Basics of the Reconciling Process.
- Top 10 Reasons to Affiliate with RMN
- Basics of the Reconciling Process – Print
- Basics of the Reconciling Process – Video
- What is Intersectionality?
- LGBTQ & Faith Study Resources
- Building an Inclusive Church Toolkit
- Sample Straw Poll
- Sample Ballot
- Five Steps to Complete Your Process of Affiliation
- Affiliating with RMN (New Reconciling Ministry Google Form)
- Next Steps for New Reconciling Ministries
Contact your Organizer with any questions.