Hillview United Methodist Church of Boise Idaho
After hosting a Believe Out Loud Training this past winter, Hillview United Methodist began to move towards making official their tradition of welcome and solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. On May 15, 2011 at an all-church meeting , members overwhelmingly approved a welcoming statement and affiliation as a Reconciling Congregation. This measure expands upon the church’s core tenet to, “learn to welcome all persons fully into our midst. We celebrate the diversity God has create in humanity, and we strive for better understanding of all people.”
In order to move from a place of silent welcome to this proud declaration, Hillview engaged in advocacy, education and careful discussion. Beginning in 2006, the church advocated with other congregations in their Oregon-Idaho annual conference by signing upon the Champoeg Declaration (more information at http://www.oirums.org/outreach.html). Pastoral and lay leaders in the congregation led several workshops over the past several years, including Claiming the Promise, a workshop by the Methodist federation for Social action, and a film screening of For the Bible Tells Me So. Over period of several weeks, church newsletter and weekly bulletins included information about the significance and process towards become a reconciling congregation, and small group discussions were convened to reflect upon this new congregational identity.
Hillview United Methodist is a Reconciling Congregation and welcomes all persons into full participation in the life of the congregation regardless of age, sexual orientation, gender identity, family configuration, racial or ethnic background, economic status, or mental or physical abilities. As we journey to the reconciliation of all persons as children of God, we celebrate our human family’s diversity.
For more information about visit Hillview UMC at www.hillviewmethodist.org/
Lake Harriet United Methodist Church of Minneapolis, MN
After a year of education, several film screenings of the film For the Bible Tells Me So, and a series of listening posts (meetings where task force members listen to responses from the congregation), the congregation at Lake Harriet UMC has voted with a 95% approval to embrace the following Reconciling Statement and affiliate with RMN.
Lake Harriet United Methodist Church welcomes people of all gender identities and sexual orientations to participate in the life and ministries of our church. We honor and celebrate the diversity of all people and their families through our advocacy, prayers and ministries.
Berkeley Methodist United Church of California
ON March 6, the congregation at Berkeley Methodist United Church adopted the following addition to their mission statement:
As part of our mission, Berkeley Methodist United Church seeks to create a diverse community and welcomes people of all ethnicities, all economic circumstance and all sexual orientations and gender identities (i.e. LGBTQ persons).
BMUC describes themselves as “As daring as was our past, we look into the unforeseeable future with new vision and inspiration, strengthened by the spiritual quality instilled by our Issei pioneers through the spirit of service, devotional Bible reading and intense, fervent prayers. This is our challenge – not to lose sight of God, to grow within, and to look straight forward to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ into the mainstream of our community and into the world.”
The Forum Sunday School Class of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Huntsville, Texas
“The Forum Sunday School Class of Wesley Memorial UMC-Huntsville, TX has spent the better part of two years discussing our role in providing a welcoming environment for all and creating an inclusive environment centered in God’s grace, Jesus’ example, and, as implored by John Wesley and the UMC, the social justice concerns of our day.
‘Following the lead of Wesley’s College Ministry, which became a reconciling community in 2009, The Forum Sunday School class decided to provide a welcoming, reconciling community for adults to attend as well. Over the course of several months, 25 class members unanimously endorsed the following statement, which was shared with Church Council on April 13, 2011.
‘The Forum Sunday School Class of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, Huntsville, TX affirms that ALL individuals are god’s children and are of sacred worth without regard to any classification the world might use to divide us. We celebrate the diversity of creation and give thanks for God’s unconditional love. We declare our support for the Reconciling Movement and welcome the full participation of all, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender persons and their families in Christ’s church. At the same time we recognize differences of belief and seek to journey together in faith toward greater understanding and mutual respect.”
Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church is online at: http://www.wesleyhuntsville.org/