LGBTQ Reconciling Ministry
Reconciling Ministries Team, A Reconciling Community
This is a team of laity and clergy who plan and implement Manchester UMC church programs focused on strengthening our welcome and inclusion of all people, especially those in the Lesbian/Gay/Bi-Sexual/ Transgender/Questioning community.
We meet as needed to discuss this issue and organize learning opportunities. For more information or to join this team, contact Ministry Leader, Trish Gunby.
The following vision and mission statements were approved by the team in Dec. 2015.
Vision: That members of the LGBTQ+ community have the same rights, privileges and respect as all members of Manchester UMC by the year 2020.
Mission: To plan and implement Manchester UMC programs focused on strengthening the welcoming and inclusion of all, especially advocating for the LGBTQ+ community.
Currently our United Methodist doctrine states that homosexuality is not compatible with Christian teaching, so while LGBTQ+ persons can join a UM church, they cannot be ordained or married in the church, per the Full Book of Discipline Statements.
In response to this doctrine and following approval at the 2016 General Conference, the Commission on a Way Forward was proposed by the Council of Bishops. The Commission will do a complete examination and possible revision of every paragraph of the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and explore options that help to maintain and strengthen the unity of the church. For more information, visit the Commission on a Way Forward.
Senior Pastor Greg Weeks’ Response to General Conference
The 2019 Special Session General Conference’s endorsed the Traditional Plan and here is the pastoral letter sharing his reflections: you can find it online here.
The United Methodist News Service posted an article that summarizes the actions that happened on the Conference’s final day. This gives a behind-the-scenes look at what took place, along with a summary of the Traditional Plan and the resulting conversations. Here’s their recap.
One interesting note is the question of the plan’s constitutionality. It was sent to the Judicial Council to declare whether or not it’s in accord with the United Methodist constitution. The council will meet in April, and the plan’s implementation will be determined by the council’s judgment. As the article from the UMNS states, “Some parts of the Traditional Plan were ruled [already] unconstitutional, and it will take some time to clarify which parts will become part of our church law and which parts will not.”
A question people ask, understandably, is “Now what?” Here at Manchester, we believe ALL are invited around the table, and so, people are beginning to talk about future steps. Rev. Adam Hamilton, lead pastor of the Church of the Resurrection (the largest United Methodist congregation in the world), tweeted about a meeting at his church following Easter. It would be with key denominational leaders, including bishops, and would “discuss where Methodism goes from here.”
Manchester’s Reconciling Ministry Team will share next steps as they become available.
Additional Reconciling Communities
As our Welcome Statement asserts, Manchester UMC is an inclusive community welcoming diverse viewpoints. Our church has been organizing educational opportunities and discussions about this issue for almost two years. We are still in the process of discernment as a congregation. Four groups within our church, however, have voted to become reconciling communities:
LGBTQ+ Family Support Network
If you’re the parent, grandparent or guardian of an LGBTQ+ person(s) and would like to be part of a network of families that supports them in a kind, loving manner, this group is for you. We will share information and experiences. Meetings are monthly in a member’s home. For more info, please contact Dave at 314-614-5473.
You can also “like” the Reconciling United Methodists of the MO Conference’s Facebook page.
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