Reflecting on Five Years

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Reflecting on Five Years




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Dear Reconciling family,

Today I begin my sixth year as the Executive Director at Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN). We’ve gone through some stuff together, haven’t we? RMN, our Church, and indeed our whole world are transformed from June 1, 2017. 

On that day and in the weeks that followed, I wondered what I’d gotten myself into: a seemingly insurmountable financial challenge, a strong but fatigued movement after the 2016 General Conference, and a Church that had placed its hope in the hands of what became the Commission on a Way Forward. 

At times I reminisced about the brief retirement I left for this calling. But more often, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I came to learn the breadth and depth of this movement. I got to know the committed Christians who lead it. And more than ever, I realized this organization’s deep impact on so many lives in The UMC.

Five years later, I remain exceedingly grateful. I am grateful for: 

  • A tireless staff that believes in our movement and maintains hope for a more inclusive UMC. 
  • Donors who have reached deep during times of need. 
  • A board that is open to new ideas and is engaging with the staff as we work for a more equitable movement.
  • A continuously growing movement.

We have accomplished so much in these last five years that will impact the years to come for RMN and The UMC. 

  • We’ve grown partnerships across the connection with others resulting in things like Big Tent Methodism Reimagined. 
  • We’ve witnessed the explosive growth and change of our constituency after General Conference 2019. 
  • We’ve increased our virtual presence to include Virtual Porch gatherings, worship experiences, and a growing resource library that will carry us into the future. 
  • The RMN board and staff are engaging in deep work to decenter whiteness and dismantle policies and structures in our own organization that are not yet equitable. Rev. Dr. Valerie Jackson is leading our new Equity Council in that work.
  • And in the near future, look out for announcements about additional toolkits and resources, a new website, and updated mission and vision statements from us.

We live in a time of great challenge. We have been in a global health pandemic that has left many vulnerable people even more isolated – including older adults and marginalized people. We are facing increased racial violence and threats to LGBTQ+ life in the Church and in the world. 

While there is still much work to do, I am grateful to each and every one of you who has engaged locally, donated to RMN, participated in virtual events, followed us on social media, read our emails, and worked for LGBTQ+ justice in our Church. In this Pride season, we are exceedingly proud of this movement’s resilience and the ways in which LGBTQ+ people have been the Church in spite of the Church’s discrimination.

If you’d like to join me in celebrating Pride and my five-year anniversary here at RMN, please consider making a donation to RMN here.

Thank you for the opportunity of these last five years. And thank you for being the hope of the years to come.

Yours,

Jan Lawrence
Executive Director
Reconciling Ministries Network