I was recently visiting a United Methodist congregation in another town. After worship there was the usual three C’s, coffee and cookies and conversation. People lingered longer than they often do. Folks were talking about the current ferment in our denomination; the 140 #CalledOut United Methodist clergy (I among them) who have chosen to speak their truth as LGBTQ Christ followers, the election and recent installation of Bishop Karen Oliveto, the Council of Bishop’s Commission On A Way Forward, the upcoming fall and spring Judicial Council dockets , and this week’s reactionary gathering of an emerging Wesleyan Covenant Association in my hometown, Chicago.

“What do you think is going to happen?” they queried.

“Well, If I knew that..” I chuckled and then I shared this certainty: “RMN’s ( Reconciling Ministries Network) work will continue throughout our fragmentation or unity – for LGBTQ children will be born, baptized and confirmed into Christ..

Everywhere.

Teens and adults will come to know themselves for whom God has created them to be..

Everywhere.

And the day will come when they will seek assurance of God’s love and their salvation. We will not abandon them no matter what piece of our church family they find themselves in. We’ll be there – one denomination, two, or more. We’ll be there, south, north, west, east.. Africa, the Philippines, Europe, the United States, proclaiming the boundless love of Christ Jesus for ALL God’s children. Whenever a congregation or community proclaims a word that harms we are called to offer a Gospel that heals. We can do nothing less.”

Rev. Dr. Bonnie Beckonchrist

Bonnie Beckonchrist received her M.Div. from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary 1982, and her D.Min, from Wesley Theological Seminary in 2010. Bonnie retired in 2013, having most recently served as lead pastor of First UMC Arlington Heights of the Northern Illinois Conference. Bonnie was actively involved in RMN witness, planning and execution, 1996, 2004, 2008; has assisted in planning and implementation of several convocations, and served in several ways with leading General Conference witness. Bonnie led two congregations, one small urban parish and one large suburban church, to become Reconciling. She has enjoyed resourcing other congregations, in the Northern Illinois Annual Conference and others, in the Reconciling process, through clergy mentoring, task force planning and preaching. She is also the former RMN Board President.

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