Do you have news you want us to include in the next email update – please send it to laura@rmnetwork.org by the 25th for inclusion in next month’s email.

IN THIS ISSUE:

 

WELCOME

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
– by Laura Young, RMN South Central Jurisdiction Regional Organizer –

Hello South Central Jurisdiction!

I trust that this finds you well and deep into preparation for the annual conference season!  It’s right around the corner.

I want to call attention to something that has come up quite a bit over the past several months.  In conversations with Reconciling friends throughout the South Central Jurisdiction I often hear the widely-shared acknowledgement that “things are different here.”  There is no shortage of comments like, “I envy friends in the New England Conference,” or “we should all pack up and move to the Western Jurisdiction,” and “we’ll be the last state to adopt marriage equality.”  Believe me, there are plenty of days when I feel that envy and utter similar frustrations.  And, if I were to make a prediction about future marriage laws, I would certainly say that one of the states in either the South Central or South Eastern Jurisdictions will, indeed, be the last to adopt marriage equality.  But those of us who live in these less inclusive states have a unique opportunity, and dare I say “calling,” to disrupt the status quo and help influence the changes we long for.

As I mentioned in the April update, my family recently moved to the Northwest Texas Conference where my partner has the privilege of serving a Reconciling Congregation in Lubbock.  St. John’s UMC is an amazing community of lovely, diverse, open minded folks with huge hearts.  This is my first experience of a congregation that is not only Reconciling, but fully engaged in a wide variety of social justice related ministries.  If I were to shut myself off from the rest of the denomination, I could easily convince myself that all is well in my beloved United Methodist Church.  But just a few short months after landing in this great church, I learned of another United Methodist Church in Lubbock who had just fired their organist simply for being gay.  He had not revealed his sexual orientation in order to be eligible for the job to begin with, as he knew they were not welcoming of all people.  And, after being seen in a local restaurant with his partner of 5 years, he was called to a meeting and given the option of signing a document vowing to leave his partner in order to keep his position on staff.  The story ended in his termination and a great deal of heartbreak for my friend and his partner, as well as many member of St. John’s.  It just so happened that in that same month, a total of three friends shared the same heartbreak.  All three were non-clergy staff members at United Methodist Churches in Texas.  All three happened to be music related staff and all three were either fired or chose to leave their jobs after their sexual orientation became known and unwelcomed by some (not all) in their respective churches.   I cried a lot that month.

There is rarely a church family in total agreement with a position of exclusion.  When an organist is fired for being gay, there are always church members who disagree.  They find themselves hurt, sometimes shocked, and often embarrassed that their church took such an action.  Months later, folks in two of these Texas churches are still saddened and torn about what to do.  Speak up or keep quiet?  Stay or leave?  Sounds like the church in general, doesn’t it?  Our tears and frustration, even our embarrassment can be used to motivate and strengthen our determination to love our neighbor as our self and continue working for a more Christ-like, fully inclusive church.  Yes, this is the South Central Jurisdiction and “things are different here.”  We live and serve in a unique environment with unique opportunities to love and witness.  We’re also equipped with the hearts and resources for such a calling.  We’re not alone.  And, together, we’re making progress!   I am incredibly grateful for this amazing RMN family.  What a gift it is to work with each and every one of you!   Thank you for the love, creativity, energy, and dedication you bring to the Reconciling movement in the United Methodist Church.

Grace and peace; justice and joy!

Laura

^

 

RECONCILING BY THE NUMBERS

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr

Total Reconciling United Methodists

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr

Total Reconciling Congregations and Communities

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr

Reconciling United Methodists by Jurisdiction

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr

South Central Reconciling United Methodists by Conference

^

 

SURVEY

Help us grow the Reconciling Movement in your annual conference!

Nobody knows your particular setting better than you.  Are you aware of a Sunday school class, congregation, or other community that might be ready to explore Reconciling?  Help RMN become aware of potential Reconciling congregations, communities, and campus ministries in your annual conference and we’ll help them take the next step.  Please take a moment to complete this survey, providing the information we need to contact those who might be ready to learn more.

^

 

ARKANSAS

– by Harold Hughes, Annual Conference Team (ACT) leader –

The Arkansas Annual Conference will meet June 9th – 13th in Little Rock, AR and the Reconciling United Methodists will definitely be present!  As we grow in numbers we hope to expand or presence and witness here in the South. Future entries here should help us share our more personal stories of creating new reconciling communities. We will share more of our plans next month following our organizational meeting.

We hope you’ll “Like” our new Facebook page though still under construction.  We chose a unique name for our new page.  “Open) ARMs”- intentionally missing the leading parenthesis to remind us of our call to have open hearts, minds, and doors, and ARMs for Arkansas Reconciling Methodists.   You can find us here: https://www.facebook.com/arkrums?ref=hl

The Reconciling team in the Arkansas Conference is working to grow our local Reconciling family and build our leadership team.  If you’re interested in helping us increase the number of welcoming places, or if you have ideas to share about future events in the Arkansas Conference, please contact Harold Hughes at rainbowharold@yahoo.com or 501.612.0902.  We look forward to hearing from you!

^

CENTRAL TEXAS (Fort Worth area)

– by Brendan Peoples, Annual Conference Team (ACT) representative –

We’re excited about the potential for new Reconciling congregations and communities in the Central Texas Conference.   We’re working to grow our local Reconciling family and build our leadership team to help support each other and offer future events.  If you’re interested in helping us increase the number of welcoming places, if you know of congregations or Sunday school classes who might be interested in learning more, or if you have ideas to share about future events in Central Texas, please contact Brendan Peoples at bkpcpa_fortworth@yahoo.com or Eddie Castlow at edcastlow@yahoo.com.

^

GREAT PLAINS

– by Jeanette Grenz –

The Nebraska, Kansas East, and Kansas West Conferences will be officially united together and called The Great Plains Conference during a conference and worship service scheduled for August 22nd – 24th at the Bicentennial Center in Salina, KS.   The newly combined Reconciling Team will enjoy being together for the first time and will have a Reconciling presence at this uniting event.  We hope you’ll save the date and plan to participate.   Brian Sutton will serve as the Annual Conference Team (ACT) leader for the new Great Plains Conference.  If you would like to join the leadership team and participate in the planning of future events, please contact Brian at brian.sutton@collegehillumc.org.  Prior to uniting together in August, each of the three conferences will hold individual annual conference gatherings in their own setting.

^

KANSAS EAST

– by Libby Schoeni, Chair of the WIGW-KC Steering Committee –

The final Kansas East Annual Conference will take place at the Church of the Resurrection  in Leawood, KS on May 30th – June 1st.    Look for the Wide Is God’s Welcome-KC display under the rainbow balloon at the final session of the Conference and celebrate a time line of the petitions that have been passed by the KEC through the years on the subject of human sexuality and changing the language in the Book of Discipline regarding homosexuality.

Find Wide is God’s Welcome-KC on Facebook and “Like” us to get updates and find out about upcoming events!  As we become part of the Great Plains Conference, we are committed to working together for continued support of full inclusion of persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the United Methodist Church. Click here to see our Facebook page.

^

KANSAS WEST

– by Brian Sutton, Annual Conference Team (ACT) representative –

The final Kansas West Annual Conference will be held on the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, KS on May 22nd – 24th.

College Hill UMC, Wichita and Trinity UMC, Salina invite you to join us at the Reconciling Booth during annual conference.  We will have information, buttons, ribbons, and some great snacks. So come by, say hello and put on a button and show your support.

Got questions?  Contact Brian at brian.sutton@collegehillumc.org

^

LOUISIANA

We’re working to grow the Reconciling family and build a leadership team to provide support and offer future Reconciling events in the Louisiana Conference.  If you’re interested in helping to increase the number of welcoming spaces, if you know of congregations or Sunday school classes who might be interested in learning more about the Reconciling process, or if you have ideas to share about future events in the Louisiana Conference, please contact Laura Young, RMN Regional Organizer for the South Central Jurisdiction.  Send email to:  laura@rmnetwork.org  or call:  312-448-5309

^

MISSOURI

We’re working to grow the Reconciling family and build a leadership team to provide support and offer future Reconciling events in the Missouri Conference.  If you’re interested in helping to increase the number of welcoming spaces, if you know of congregations or Sunday school classes who might be interested in learning more about the Reconciling process, or if you have ideas to share about future events in the Missouri Conference, please contact Laura Young, RMN Regional Organizer for the South Central Jurisdiction.  Send email to:  laura@rmnetwork.org  or call:  312-448-5309

 ^

NEBRASKA

– by Betty Dorr, Annual Conference Team (ACT)  representative –

The final Nebraska Annual Conference will take place June 5-8 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 8550 Pioneers in Lincoln. Reconciling members in Nebraska will be a very visible presence at the final conference. We will staff a table at St. Mark’s where we can display literature and have conversations. We will distribute small Rainbow crosses for pinning on lapels, invite people to become individual Reconciling members, and we will have literature about how a church can become a member.  And, of course, we will have information and invite people to COME TO CONVO over Labor Day Weekend near Washington, D.C.

Another event that promises to draw many Reconciling members is the annual Nebraska dinner of MFSA on June 5, the first night of Annual Conference. The dinner will start at 6 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church , 7130 Kentwell Lane in Lincoln. We hope you’ll join us at our Reconciling table at St. Mark’s and the MFSA dinner at Trinity.

^

NEW MEXICO

We’re working to grow the Reconciling family and build a leadership team to provide support and offer future Reconciling events in the New Mexico Conference.  If you’re interested in helping to increase the number of welcoming spaces, if you know of congregations or Sunday school classes who might be interested in learning more about the Reconciling process, or if you have ideas to share about future events in the New Mexico Conference, please contact Laura Young, RMN Regional Organizer for the South Central Jurisdiction.  Send email to:  laura@rmnetwork.org  or call:  312-448-5309

^

NORTH TEXAS (Dallas area)

Reconciling United Methodists (RUMs) from the North Texas and several neighboring conferences recently participated in the RMN Process Coach Training led by Laura Young and Alex McNeill.  The training was a wonderful gathering of dedicated people interested in helping grow the number of Reconciling communities in North Texas.  We are grateful to Greenland Hills UMC in Dallas for sharing their beautiful facility with us for the weekend.   In case you missed it when first published on the RMN website, check out this blog that attendee Jay Elliott wrote about the training.

North Texas is excited about the potential for Reconciling growth and is taking steps to prepare for a bright future.  If you’re interested in helping to increase the number of welcoming places, if you know of congregations, Sunday school classes, college campuses, or youth groups who might be interested in learning more about the Reconciling process, or if you have ideas to share about future events in North Texas, please contact Laura Young, RMN Regional Organizer for the South Central Jurisdiction.  Send email to:  laura@rmnetwork.org  or call:  312-448-5309

^

NORTHWEST TEXAS (Lubbock area)

The Northwest Texas Annual Conference will meet at Polk Street UMC in Amarillo from June 4th through June 6th.  Clergy and lay delegates, friends and neighbors are invited to join us for a gathering of Reconciling United Methodists (RUMs) over dessert and coffee on Tuesday, June 4th in The Loft at Polk Street UMC.  We will begin at 8:15pm (or immediately following the Bishop’s Dinner) and enjoy a time of fellowship until 9:00pm.  At 9:00 we’ll begin group sharing about how we might best support each other across the miles, increase the number of welcoming spaces in the conference, and be a positive influence at future annual conferences.  We hope you’ll save the date, invite a friend, and plan to join us.

If you’d like to serve on the leadership team for this or future events, please contact Laura Young at laura@rmnetwork.org or by phone at:  312-448-5309.  Lastly, we hope you’ll join our new Facebook page.  “Like” the page to stay connected and informed about future events.   You can find it by clicking here.

^

OKLAHOMA

The Oklahoma Annual Conference will take place May 27th – 30th at Oklahoma City University and St. Luke’s UMC in Oklahoma City.  The Mainstream United Methodists (MUM) group will host a breakfast on the morning of Tuesday, May 28th beginning at 7:00am.  While the mission of MUM does not include advocacy for full inclusion of LGBT persons, many of their members are also Reconciling United Methodists (RUMs) and everyone is welcome!  The breakfast will be held at Epworth UMC, a Reconciling Congregation.  Several RUMs in the area have been hard at work creating rainbow stoles and everyone in attendance at the breakfast will receive this gift to wear during conference.

The Oklahoma team is working to grow the Reconciling family and would love to add new friends to the leadership team.  Our goals are to provide support for each other and offer future Reconciling events in the Oklahoma Conference.  If you’re interested in helping to increase the number of welcoming spaces, if you know of congregations or Sunday school classes who might be interested in learning more about the Reconciling process, or if you have ideas to share about future events in the Oklahoma Conference, please contact Laura Young, RMN Regional Organizer for the South Central Jurisdiction.  Send email to:  laura@rmnetwork.org  or call:  312-448-5309

 ^

OKLAHOMA INDIAN MISSIONARY

We’re working to grow the Reconciling family and build a leadership team to provide support and offer future Reconciling events in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC).  If you’re interested in helping to increase the number of welcoming spaces, if you know of congregations or Sunday school classes who might be interested in learning more about the Reconciling process, or if you have ideas to share about future events in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, please contact Laura Young, RMN Regional Organizer for the South Central Jurisdiction.  Send email to:  laura@rmnetwork.org  or call:  312-448-5309

^

RIO GRANDE

We’re working to grow the Reconciling family and strengthen our team with the future merging of two conferences – the current Rio Grande and Southwest Texas Conferences.  Knowing that we’re always better together, these new friends will begin to get to know each other in the very near future.  The new conference name will be Rio Texas and the combined Reconciling team will be getting a new name as well (announcement in a future edition).  If you’re interested in helping to increase the number of welcoming spaces, if you know of congregations or Sunday school classes who might be interested in learning more about the Reconciling process, or if you have ideas to share about future events in the Rio Grande/Rio Texas Conference, please contact Laura Young, RMN Regional Organizer for the South Central Jurisdiction.  Send email to:  laura@rmnetwork.org  or call:  312-448-5309

^

SOUTHWEST TEXAS (Austin/San Antonio area)

– by Joy Butler, Annual Conference Team (ACT) leader –

The Southwest Texas Annual Conference Reconciling United Methodist Dinner Gathering is scheduled for Thursday, June 6th from 5:30-7pm.  We will meet at the Railroad Seafood Station, Corpus Christi, TX and would love for you to join us.  Reservations are required.  Please RSVP to:  robausley@austin.rr.com

We also encourage you to visit us at our tables at Southwest Texas Annual Conference!  The SWTX Reconciling Ministries Team will welcome you   from June 6 – June 8, 2013 at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
We’re happy to answer questions emailed to:  swtx.reconcilingministriesteam@gmail.com

Lastly, the Reconciling team in the Southwest Texas and Rio Grande Conference is hard at work drawing the circle wide!  If you are interested in helping us increase the number of welcoming places, or if you have ideas to share about future events including participation in the 2013 Austin Pride Parade, please contact us at swtx.reconcilingministriesteam@gmail.com or message us on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/swtxrmteam

^

TEXAS (Houston area)

– by Rev. Glynden Bode, Breaking the Silence (BTS) board member –

In May when the Texas Conference gathers for its annual meeting, Breaking The Silence (BTS) plans to have an active presence.  BTS has been organized to seek full inclusion of GLBT persons in the conference and The United Methodist Church for 17 years.  In addition to our meal, program, resources, and conference display, we are preparing a silent witness to take place throughout the event.

Breaking The Silence is hosting a dinner on Monday night, May 27 at 5:15 pm at the Hilton Americas Downtown in Houston TX, the site of the conference meeting.  The Rev. Dr. James L. Bankston (Jim) will be our speaker.  Jim has long been active in the effort for inclusion in this conference, and has been a vocal advocate on the General Conference delegation on numerous occasions.  As Jim is retiring this year, the BTS board felt he would bring a wonderful message of progress over the years and hope for the future.

For more information about BTS, or the dinner (if you would like to attend), please send an email to admin@breakingthesilencetxc.org or contact glyndenbode@gmail.com to have a flyer emailed to you.  Advance registration is required.

Our silent witness will use large printed signs with a silhouette of a person and a message: “I am your Sunday School teacher,” “I am a US Marine,” and other such messages and the words Breaking the Silence at the bottom of the sign.

Stay connected and informed of future events through Facebook and follow BTS during United Methodist related events on Twitter.  You can find us here:  facebook.com/BreakingTheSilence.TAC.UMC   or through Twitter @btstxc    We look forward to the day when all are truly welcome!

 

^


. . .

See what other Jurisdictions are up to: WesternNorth CentralSouth CentralNortheasternSoutheastern

 

 

Supporter of Post Navigator WP Premium Plugins
Share This