Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) is proud to launch a new campaign to mobilize United Methodists in the state of Georgia to ensure the rights and protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer  (LGBTQ) people throughout the state. In collaboration with our partners at Georgia Equality, Believe Out Loud, Faith in Public Life, and the National LGBTQ Task Force, this campaign will focus on a faith-based public witness against anti-LGBTQ policies while affirming the fundamental right of religious liberty.

In response to the many recent gains for equality, a surge of Religious Freedom Restoration Acts and other anti-LGBTQ bills have swept the country. Religious freedom and the expression of faith are essential, but when used as a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people in Jesus’ name their bounds have exceeded their intended purpose. Religious freedom is under no threat, but queer and trans people remain at risk of discrimination in employment, housing, access to bathrooms, and public accommodations.

As United Methodists with a deep commitment both to the integrity of the Gospel’s message and to the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in The United Methodist Church and our surrounding communities, we must put our faith into action by combatting all public policies that would seek to do injustice to either one. In conjunction with the ongoing Reconciling work of the North and South Georgia Conferences, this campaign will focus specifically on mobilizing people of faith through trainings, engagement with media, and public advocacy for the purposes of challenging religiously based public policies targeted against queer and trans people in their communities.

RMN executive director, Matt Berryman, believes this one-year campaign is an important supplement to our work for change in The United Methodist Church in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. He explains,

 “If your religion or your ‘closely held religious belief’ requires you to hurt less privileged people, to break the golden rule, or to exclude your neighbor, you can pretty well bet that you are not following Jesus.  It is unfortunate that people who call themselves Christians continue to co-opt Jesus for the express purpose of discriminating against LGBTQ people.  Fortunately, Georgia is full of United Methodists who are committed to doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with their God.  To that end, RMN joins with them and a host of other Christian voices declaring ‘not in Jesus’ name.’”

To assist with this campaign, RMN is thrilled to welcome Rev. Kim Sorrells to the Reconciling team. Rev. Sorrells joins us after serving as Minister for Spiritual Formation and Youth at Saint Mark UMC in Atlanta, GA. They have a special interest in using spirituality and contemplative practices to equip us with the inner peace to be justice makers in the world. Rev. Sorrells also serves as chair of the Spiritual Leaders Committee for the Transgender Health and Education Alliance (THEA), and is a member of the Atlanta Coalition of LGBTQ youth.

As United Methodists whose faith is rooted in a commitment to do no harm, we cannot sit idly by while others attempt to discriminate – not in Jesus’ name!

If you are a United Methodist in Georgia and would like to learn more about how you can be involved, please contact Kim at kim@rmnetwork.org.

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