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.
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:
The Inside Outs Home Fellowship Group is a small group reinforcing the reconciling ministries of MUMC. The focus will be upon spiritual growth of the group participants with an emphasis on the needs as members of the LBGTQ+ community. However, as with all members of a community of faith we share many common struggles, trials, and concerns as well as desires, goals, and aspirations. All are welcome to participate in this group and we strive to grow together through both our common and individual experiences. Our first study will be A Way Through the Wilderness: Growing in Faith When Life is Hard. Coordinated by Kurt Rehwinkel and Phillip Lynn. Contact Phillip Lynn for more info.
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 momthly in a member’s home. For more info, please contact Dave at 314-614-5473.
As the Commission on a Way Forward studies this issue in the coming year, we invite those who want to see church doctrine changed so LGBTQ+ persons can participate fully in the life of the church to sign an open letter on the web site of the Missouri United Methodists for Equality.
You can also “like” the Reconciling United Methodists of the MO Conference’s Facebook page.
There are no plans for a vote at this time. As the Commission on a Way Forward meets and studies possible doctrinal change, the Council of Bishops expressed their interest to call a special session of the General Conference in 2019 (one year earlier than the proposed General Conference in 2020). In the meantime, we want to continue the discussion and offer educational opportunities. We also want to be a resource for other UM churches in the St. Louis region who might want to start the conversation at their churches.
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