Greetings in the name of the One who leads us in courage and love,
We, the board of directors of Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), write to address concerns that have arisen in our movement for LGBTQ inclusion. We recognize that our organization only perpetuates the very oppression it seeks to challenge if it is not intersectional and consistently self-reflective. We take full responsibility for our initial response to the critique presented to us in an open letter and we confess our first response was both rushed and incomplete. We regret any negative impact it has caused. We hope to clarify ourselves and our hopes for the future in a more authentic fashion.
White supremacy’s long reign as an institution in the United States has deeply affected our most beloved organizations, churches, and other structural communities. We recognize that RMN was birthed from the same traditions and norms. Further, we recognize that our work of dismantling racism and other forms of structural oppression within our own organization remains an urgent necessity. We commit to seizing this moment of accountability to live more deeply into our gospel values by making concrete plans for the intentional centering of the most marginalized within our movement.
RMN is currently at a turning point in its own work as an LGBTQ organization in the life of The United Methodist Church. Decades of grassroots work, the dedication of faithful Reconciling United Methodists, and the practice of Biblical Obedience gave rise to the Special Commission, the called General Conference of 2019, and a complete reevaluation of the church’s discriminatory policies towards LGBTQ persons.
As we undertake organizational restructuring, strategic planning, and critical reassessment of our mission, vision, and guiding principles in light of this unique context, we recognize that the challenges presented to us in the open letter must be the values that ground our work ahead.
The needs, concerns, and well-being of our LGBTQ members of color, our trans members, and others whose needs are too often sidelined are of utmost importance to us. We sincerely regret actions or priorities that have functioned otherwise. We are deeply hopeful about our future together and the potential for new life in our movement and again, we intend to act in ways that follow through on our values in the days ahead.
Therefore, as the RMN board of directors, we commit to internal conversation and planning aimed at uprooting the systems of whiteness that characterize our structural and institutional life which run counter to the values we so long to embody as Christians. In an effort to keep our planning transparent, we will begin conversation immediately and provide an update within six months. In this update we will include the progress we have made and a more concrete timeline for future plans.
In addition to the original requests, we would like to maintain open dialogue for building our future together as the board engages in strategic planning. We welcome your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Recognizing the importance and urgency of this work, especially in our current political and religious context, we invite all concerned communities to join us in self-reflection and concrete changes as we seek transformation of the church and world.
Reconciling Ministries Network, Board of Directors