RMN Flashnet 2007-01-04
The Reconciling Ministries Network Digest
Thursday, January 04, 2007
RMN MISSION STATEMENT: Reconciling Ministries Network is a national grassroots organization that exists to enable full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the life of the United Methodist Church , both in policy and practice.
1. Two New Reconciling Congregations— Illinois and Oregon
2. Reconciling Congregation Glide in “Pursuit of Happyness”
3. Invitation for Musicians and Artists for General Conference 2008
4. Soulforce Petition for Time Magazine Fact Check on Dobson
5. Murders of Gender Non-Conforming Youth Documented in New Report
6. Let us pray with you
7. Miracle Moments
1. TWO NEW RECONCILING CONGREGATIONS— ILLINOIS AND OREGON
2006 was a year of growth for the Reconciling Ministries Network. Nineteen congregations, one campus ministry, and eight other ministry groups officially adopted welcoming statements and voted to affiliate with RMN. There was a diversity of place ~ Nebraska, Oregon, Ohio, Texas, Michigan, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Idaho, Minnesota, California, Vermont, and Colorado. The Boise State University United Methodist Students, a campus ministry, became our first RC in Idaho .
This was the second highest number of congregations in one calendar year. The record high was 21 in 1997 when we also greeted four new campus ministries. The “communities” category was still to be developed.
We know there are many places that are excited about their progress toward true welcome and hope that 2007 is the year when they “come out” with arms open and confidently proclaim a public witness. If you are not sure whether your congregation has “come out” simply check our website listing: http://www.rmnetwork.org/findus.php To be counted as a “prospective RC” or to ask questions contact sue@....
Congratulations and thanksgiving are offered for our newest affiliates:
First UMC, Downers Grove , Illinois
God, as known to us in Jesus Christ, welcomes all. We welcome people of any race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, social or economic status, employment status, or life situation; including people with physical or mental illness or disability. We practice loving acceptance of each person and respectful discussion of our differences.
First United Methodist Church of Downers Grove is a 2400 member congregation located west of Chicago . The church has a long, rich history of an outstanding music program. Eight choirs with more than 300 members provide inspiration for the congregation every Sunday. In 2003 the congregation offered a class titled: "Examining the Dilemma; Homosexuality and the Church". The class sparked a lot of excitement and many leaders in the church became interested in becoming a more welcoming congregation. Many thoughtful people contributed to the conversation. In December 2005 the Administrative Council unanimously approved the Welcome statement which captures the essence of the Mission/Vision/Values of First UMC. The year 2006 was devoted to a study of the Welcome statement. One event featured Beth Stroud, who spoke to a gathered group of the membership in February. A motion was presented at the December 2006 Administrative Council for First United Methodist Church of Downers Grove to become a Welcoming Congregation. It passed with no dissenting vote. www.dgfumc.org
Vermont Hills UMC, Portland , Oregon
The members and friends of Vermont Hills UMC voted December 10, 2006, to adopt a “statement of reconciliation” and become a congregation of reconciliation with the purpose of letting the city of Portland and surrounding communities know that all are welcome in their faith community.
After many years of study, prayer and reflection, a congregational meeting was called and a vote taken to accept a statement that reads in part, “We declare ourselves to be a faith community intent upon reconciling all God's people into one community of faith -- we are one people -- God's people. We declare that persons of all ages, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, economic conditions, marital status, mental or physical abilities are welcome to attend, join, and participate fully in the life of our community of faith.” Rev. Tim Overton-Harris said, “The people of this church felt we needed to take a public and specific stand on the issue of the inclusive nature of the Christian faith. In light of recent events in the United Methodist denomination concerning homosexual persons and the continuing exclusion on non-heterosexual persons from many churches, it was time to let the world know that not all Christians believe the same things concerning inclusiveness. The overriding message of Jesus and the gospels is grace, God’s grace given to all people. Since the church is the embodiment of this grace in human society, then all people should be acceptable in its local communities of faith.”
Vermont Hills UMC has a membership of 140 and celebrated 50 years of ministry in 2005.
2. RECONCILING CONGREGATION GLIDE IN “THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS”
In his 40-plus years at Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco , the Rev. Cecil Williams has met many of the homeless folks who have come through the church's homeless shelter and soup kitchen. But he won't forget Chris Gardner.
"He was one of the few men I've seen who had a baby with him at all times," Williams recalled. "And I remember him because he had the gall to say that, without a doubt, he was going to break out of the cycle of poverty."
Gardner's remarkable story is the basis of a new film, "The Pursuit of Happyness," which opened Dec. 15, starring Will Smith.
[Please note: www.umc.org is being renovated, and article may not be immediately available.]
3. Invitation to musicians, artists, dancers to participate in 2008 General Conference
UM choirs/ensembles/bands, instrumentalists, singers, dancers/dance groups, visual/video/textile and performing artists:
You are invited to apply to share your gifts in worship with the 2008 General Conference in Fort Worth , Texas . Submit a recording (DVD, CD, VHS, cassette tape, mpeg, mp3, .jpg), brief bio, and other supporting materials either by postal mail or email by Mar. 30, 2007 to:
Mark A. Miller
Director of Music
Drew Theological School
36 Madison Ave.
Madison , NJ 07940
4. SOULFORCE PETITION FOR TIME MAGAZINE FACT CHECK ON DOBSON
Sign the Petition Asking TIME Magazine to Check Dobson's Facts About LGBT Families
In the December 18th issue of TIME Magazine, James Dobson responds to the news of Mary Cheney's pregnancy by once again invoking "30 years of social-science evidence" to support his claim that children do best "when raised by their married mother and father."
Dobson's views on lesbian and gay parenting do not reflect the mainstream of American professional organizations concerned with researching and promoting children's well-being. In a 2004 policy statement, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy reported "no evidence that same-sex couples or family units vary significantly from heterosexual couples or family units in terms of aspirations, hopes and goals, or in outcomes for children."
In response to Dobson's editorial, Soulforce contacted Dr. Christopher R. Martell, President of the American Psychological Association's Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Issues. According to Dr. Martell:
Over and again the data show that a loving and safe home environment is important, not the gender of the parents. The mainstream research is so clear on this matter that the American Psychological Association's resolution on Sexual Orientation, Parents, and Children, which was adopted by the APA Council of Representatives in July, 2004, states: "the APA supports the protection of parent-child relationships through the legalization of joint adoptions and second parent adoptions of children being reared by same-sex couples."
The American Psychological Association, one of the world's largest mental health organizations, would not have supported the protection of legalized adoption by gay and lesbian parents if the data had suggested that children were at risk in such households.
Soulforce recognizes TIME's history of excellent coverage of LGBT issues. We call on the editors to continue this tradition by checking Dobson's facts on lesbian and gay parenthood.
"I ____________ support calling upon TIME Magazine to check Dobson's facts on lesbian and gay parenthood. Soulforce and other organizations have repeatedly documented Dobson's misleading statements about the research on LGBT families. In the interest of journalistic integrity, publications such as TIME must contextualize his statements with evidence from credible, peer-reviewed research."
To sign the Soulforce petition go to
5. MURDERS OF GENDER NON-CONFORMING YOUTH DOCUMENTED IN NEW REPORT
~ Masculine Aggression Key Underlying Factor of Violence ~
~ Unprecedented Coalition of Human and Civil Rights Organizations Join Forces to Fight Epidemic~
WASHINGTON (December 14, 2006) – Over the past 10 years, more than 50 young people aged 30 and under were violently murdered by assailants who targeted them because they did not fit stereotypes for masculinity or femininity. The Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC) today released the groundbreaking human rights report “50 Under 30: Masculinity and the War on America ’s Youth” documenting this tide of murderous violence and the key demographics of its victims and their assailants.
The report reveals a unique vulnerability at the intersection of age, race, and gender non- conformity that makes a fatal assault exponentially more likely. “While many youth who don’t fit gender stereotypes for masculinity or femininity face harassment or bullying, when it comes to gender-based murder the victims are specific and consistent,” said Riki Wilchins, GenderPAC Executive Director.
“These victims tended to share the same characteristics: they were mostly Black or Latina, were biologically male and presenting with some degree of femininity, and were killed by other young males in attacks of extraordinary and often multiple acts of violence,” added Wilchins.