Living into our baptismal covenant and claiming our place as LGBTQ people in ministry at all levels of The United Methodist Church were common themes in the conversations among Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) board and staff members in the last month, according to newly elected chairperson of the Board of Directors, Gheeta Smith. “Our discussions energized our planning for the journey we have in front of us as a movement as we look towards the special called 2019 General Conference.”
At its fall meeting, the Board of Directors finalized the 2018 leadership team. Effective January 1, 2018, the 2018 Executive Committee is as follows:
Chair of the Board: Gheeta Smith
Vice-chair of the Board: Matt Mustard
Secretary: Adama Brown-Hathaway
Treasurer/Finance and Administration Committee Chair: Joseph Hurt
Fund Development Committee Chair: Rev. Beth LaRocca-Pitts
Board Development Committee Chair: Faith Geer
Strategy Committee Chair: Rev. Terri Stewart
Personnel Committee Chair: Rev. Betty Jo “B.J.” Birkhahn-Rommelfanger
Executive Director: Jan Lawrence
The Board Development Committee will continue its work to identify and propose new board members through November; the full slate of board members for 2018 will be announced later in December. Anyone who is interested in being a part of the Board of Directors should contact RMN at email@example.com. Smith expressed gratitude for the commitment, support, and all that the 2017 Executive Committee has done, as well as for the incoming 2018 Executive Committee, saying, “It is a critical time in the life of our church, and it is exciting to hear the commitment of the board as we continue our work toward General Conference 2019. It promises to be an exciting and challenging year.”
The board also developed and approved a strategic plan for the next three years. This includes updates to the RMN Mission and Vision Statements that guide the organization in its work for affirmation of and justice for LGBTQ people in The United Methodist Church.
Living into our shared baptismal covenant, Reconciling Ministries Network equips and mobilizes United Methodists to resist evil, injustice, and oppression as we seek justice for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Reconciling Ministries Network envisions a renewed and vibrant Wesleyan movement that is biblically and theologically centered. As committed disciples of Jesus Christ, we strive to transform ourselves and the world by living out the Gospel’s teachings of grace, love, justice, and celebration of all of God’s children.
In other action, the board affirmed operational and programmatic objectives set at the RMN staff retreat in August, including continuation and growth–in breadth and depth–of our outreach in the U.S. South, to transgender persons, African central conferences, and other communities within our movement. RMN is also committed to working with our extension ministries to further their justice objectives. RMN staff and board are committed to ending the harm and oppression embodied in the discriminatory policy and practices in the current Book of Discipline. RMN celebrates persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities in congregations and communities across the connection.
The board also named Jan Lawrence, who has been serving as Interim Executive Director since June 1, 2017, as Executive Director to lead the organization in shaping its work going forward into the General Conferences of 2019 and 2020.
2018 RMN Board Chair
We thank you for your continued support of RMN, especially at this critical time. If you would like to offer further support, we invite you to consider making a contribution toward the work of LGBTQ justice in the church.