DREAM: Daring to Reconcile and Embrace ALL in Mississippi

The first Reconciling Community in the state of Mississippi, DREAM is a movement of people working for full inclusion of all persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, races, ages, and other categories.    The leaders of this new community are already planning several exciting actions, including a new blog at (www.dreamms.wordpress.com), witness at their annual conference, and more!

Who are We? We are people of faith in Mississippi who are striving to love our neighbors and thereby live out God’s dream for the world.  We believe out churches should welcome, love, and embrace all people – regardless of age, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic status, legal status, religious beliefs, political preference, o any other category often use to divide us.

Why have we formed? We have grown weary and discontent with what we see as a failure on the Christian Church’s part to protect and speak up for the marginalized.  We are sadly aware that the Church has often contributed to the prejudices of society and defend the status quo with exclusionary practices and judgmental statements.  Such acts cause harm to all involved and misrepresent the very Jesus we  claim to follow.  Therefore, we are responding to God’s call to practice love and inclusion, to speak truth to power, and to make God’s Dream our reality.

How did we get started? A group of United Methodists, gay and straight, began working together to grow the movement for full inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches.  Along the way we became increasingly aware of the many ways the church is divided.  Though we are affiliated with the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), which is a United Methodist-based or ganization, we are inclusive of all denominations.

Learn more about DREAM’s great work at: (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dream-Daring-to-Reconcile-and-Embrace-All-in-Mississippi/202226423129025)

Circle 360 of The United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church of Austin, Texas

Circle 360 gathers to study and work together with a special emphasis on social justice; therefore, no one was surprised when one member proposed that this group support their congregation’s reconciling process by affirming a reconciling statement.  What surprised and pleased the group was the consensus of agreement that this community is open to ALL women, and they could draft and affirm a reconciling statement at their next gathering.

Circle 360 of The United Methodist Women at First United Methodist Church believes we are called to love ALL of God’s children no matter their gender, race, sexual orientation and gender identity, economical and educational background, physical or mental condition.  Our circle members pledge to have open arms for ANYONE and how to teach others what I means to have an open heart, open mind, and an open door for all individuals looking for a welcoming hand.   We promise to live out our word through prayer and the guidelines of God.

To learn more about this amazing circle and their larger church, http://fumcaustin.org/

University United Methodist Church of Austin, Texas

University United Methodist Church has been working for full inclusion for almost ten years as Sunday school classes and small groups within the church became reconciling communities.  Beginning in August 2010, the Church Council named a Reconciling Committee to lead ongoing discussions about the possibility of affiliation as a congregation with RMN.

Throughout the fall, the committee sponsored a special eight-week study on the Bible and Homosexuality, film presentations, a guest lecture by a biblical professor, roundtable and forum discussions.  On February 27, 2011, the entire congregation gathered for a special church conference and voted 94% in favor of adopting this statement and becoming a Reconciling Congregation.

Jesus calls us to the ministry of reconciliation and grace.  As a progressive and inclusive church, UUMC acknowledges that all persons are of sacred worth, and we welcome everyone – individuals and families – without regard to race, color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or economic condition to share in our mission and our ministry on behalf of Christ and God’s Kingdom.

We are a church with open minds, open hearts, and open doors, and we believe that we are called to practice and promise the reconciling love of God in every relationship.  We believe that the Gospel of Christ advocates good news for everyone, particularly those who are oppressed and marginalized by society.

UUMC stands against discriminatory rules against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) persons in The Book of Discipline.   We call for the removal of language that states that the practice of homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching” because it is not supported by scholarly interpretation of Scripture, Tradition, Experience, and Reason.   We publically declare our believe that god’s grace is freely given to all people, as proclaimed in the New Testament.

To learn more about University United Methodist Church, visit their website at: www.uumc.org

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