Reconciling Ministries"Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?” - Acts 11:16-17
Reconciling Ministries Network is made of United Methodists that would like the church to fully include LGBTQI individuals in the life of the church. We look for ways to support the LGBTQI individuals we love and seek ways to heal the hurt they experience.
The Reconciling Task Force thanks everyone for their response to the recent presentation of our Welcome Statement, which strives to make clear that we are a church that respects, cares for, and welcomes all people into our family. We received some suggestions about the statement and a long discussion was had. We have worked on the statement that is now presented to you below.
On Sunday, December 15th we will have a congregational vote to make this our official “Welcoming Statement,” and the results of that vote will be celebrated on December 22nd. As you enter worship on December 15th all active members and constituents will be given a ballot for their approval. If you know that you won’t be in church that day you may stop by the office during the previous week and mark your ballot, which will be added to the others. If you need to vote by phone, just call the office and Sallie will mark a ballot for you. If approved, this statement will become an official part of our congregational life and let others know that our church is a safe haven for all.
Your Questions Answered:
What is Reconciling Ministries?
We are United Methodists that want the United Methodist Church to fully include LGBTQI Individuals in the life of the church.
As a United Methodist, don't I have to accept the denomination's official stance?
No, you don’t! The discriminatory language against LGBTQI individuals is found in the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church (http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/social-principles-social-creed). The Social Principles are commonly published in the same book as the Discipline, but they are not the Discipline. United Methodists are completely within their right to disagree with statements in the Social Principles. In other words, United Methodists are able to express their understanding that LGBTQI individuals are being harmed by the church’s statements and push to have those statements changed. Neither the congregation or our Minister can get in trouble by being a Reconciling Congregation.
Are there other Reconciling Congregations?
Yes! So far there are over 1,000 Reconciling Congregations and groups across the US. These congregations have made welcoming and integrating LGBTQ individuals a priority. This includes the United Methodist Churches in Peninsula and Kent.
What is a Reconciling Congregation?
A Reconciling Congregation makes a public statement saying that members of the LGBTQ are welcome.
We already are a welcoming congregation. Why do we need to make a statement?
We may know we are welcoming, but because the wording in the denomination’s Social Principles single out the LGBTQ community as being incompatible with Christian teaching, no one outside our congregation can assume we will welcome them. It falls on us to be intentionally welcoming to this group, which has every reason to mistrust us. Our welcome will be felt not only by members of the LGBTQ community, but also their family and friends that are also hurt by the denominations unloving stance.
Will we still be a Reconciling Congregation when a new minister comes?
Yes. This is the congregation’s statement. Not the minister’s.
Will a same-sex couple be able to get married in our building?
As of this time, no. The Book of Discipline will not allow that.
Can an LGBTQ person be baptized in our church, or become a member of our church?
Can a Methodist pastor be in a committed same-sex relationship without being penalized?
The United Methodist Church in Stow recognizes and celebrates God’s unconditional love and grace for all. As a faith community, we embrace the sacred worth of all people. We welcome everyone without regard to age, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, family configuration, economic status, ethnicity, marital status, religious background, mental and physical ability, or culture. We welcome the full inclusion of all people into the life and ministries of our congregation.
Respected for his work on the transformational Discipleship Series, Bishop Wilke pleads for the church to heal, not divide.
Bishop Malone’s message to the East Ohio Conference following the Special General Conference.
Bishop Malone and the Delegation to the 2019 Special Session of General Conference share about the experience, and what was decided.