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News from NRLR & UM Reconciling Ministries Network

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    CALLED OUT INFORMATION News from the recent gatherings of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable and the United Methodist Reconciling Ministries Network.
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 6, 2001
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      News from the recent gatherings of the National Religious Leadership
      Roundtable and the United Methodist Reconciling Ministries Network.
      Included are press releases from RMN and the new UM Clergy Alliance.

      Saturday, August 4, 2001
      Gathering in Midvale tackles gay issues
      By Jerry Johnston
      Deseret News

      David Hardy says he never dreamed same-sex attraction would become
      his cause. Just as he never dreamed a photo of his gay son, Judd,
      would be featured in the current issue of Newsweek or that his
      once-devout LDS family would be the toast of a gay and lesbian
      religious discussion.

      But such was the case on Wednesday when the Hardys, who hail from
      Salt Lake City, joined about a hundred local and national religious
      leaders and lay members at St. James Episcopal Church in Midvale for
      a forum on "Spiritual Discovery." <MORE>
      Thursday, August 2, 2001
      Roundtable: Love Is Better Than Therapy
      by Bob Mims
      Salt Lake Tribune Article:

      MIDVALE -- Participants in the National Religious Leadership
      Roundtable were told that unconditional love, understanding and
      acceptance are the best remedies for teens struggling with sexual
      identity, not so-called "reparative therapy."

      Such schemes, aimed at reversing gay or lesbian tendencies, can serve
      as vehicles for self-deception. Youths enrolled in them are set up
      for failure, depression and sometimes even suicide, about 100 people
      attending the interfaith group's semiannual meeting were told
      Wednesday night. <MORE>

      Three Awards Initiated
      Reconciling Ministries Network

      The Board of the Reconciling Ministries Network has initiated an
      awards program to recognize and encourage risk-taking and
      justice-making among LGBT United Methodists and their allies.

      The Voice in the Wilderness Award is given to persons or groups who,
      despite their isolation in wilderness situations, take risks to
      proclaim the rightness of inclusion of all persons in the community
      of the church. The Cup of Justice Award is given to persons or groups
      who have taken bold steps to invoke justice where injustice,
      oppression, and exclusion existed. The Promise of Inclusion Award is
      awarded to those outside of our ranks whose actions and words offer
      the hope of inclusiveness in the church.

      At a celebratory gathering in Tacoma Saturday night, July 28, these 3
      awards were given. There were two recipients of each of the first two
      awards, and one recipient of the last.

      The Rocky Mountain Annual Conference Youth regional gathering adopted
      a statement calling for the welcome of LGBT people by the church.
      This statement affirmed the Western Jurisdiction Statement entitled
      "We Will Not Be Silent" and was a loud voiice for inclusive change
      within the church. In spite of pressure to rescind the statement,
      they kept faith with their vision. They were given the Cup of Justice

      The Pacific Northwest Reconciling Ministries created a landmark call
      for the church's accountability for the pain caused by the exclusion
      of untold numbers of United Methodist Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
      Transgender persons, their families and loved ones. What began as a
      simple statement has expanded into an extensive paper, "To Plead the
      Cause". The PNW Reconciling Ministries group was also awarded the Cup
      of Justice award.

      North Carolina Reconciling United Methodists formed a network to
      build community for those seeking an inclusive community in a place
      where welcoming congregations are nearly impossible. A first of its
      kind, this group has become a model for other Annual Conferences in
      which there are few Reconciling Communities. The NC RUMs were awarded
      the Voice in the Wilderness award.

      Union United Methodist Church in Boston was the first historically
      Black Methodist church to become a welcoming congregation. This
      congregation in the South End of Boston has become a beacon for LGBT
      people of color and their loved ones, and an example for other racial
      ethnic United Methodist churches. This 200-member church has become
      even more diverse and inclusive since its vote. Union UMC was awarded
      the Voice in the Wilderness award.

      United Methodist Communications was awarded the Promise of Inclusion
      award for the Igniting Ministry campaign.

      Two Clergy Recognized by Clergy Alliance
      Mark E. Williams and Karon Dammann, clergy from the Pacific Northwest
      Annual Conference, were recognized by the new Clergy Alliance for
      their risk-taking in their recent coming-out statements regarding
      their ministry. Each was given a stole with notes of support from the
      members of the Clergy Alliance.

      "Founders of the RMN" Initiated
      A new level of giving was begun at Convo when former Chair Gayle
      Felton introduced the Founders group of donors. This group of 12
      promised $5000 each in support of the ministries of the RMN. Two
      persons had pledged this amount when she started her explanation. By
      the time she had finished, 12 donors had stepped forward to pledge a
      total of $60,000! The Spirit was moving mightily among the group
      gathered at Convo! There is room for many other "Founders"! And the
      $5000 may be shared by a couple, or a group of people.

      July 28, 2001
      Some Methodists critical of church's ad campaign
      Steve Maynard
      Tacoma News Tribune

      Leaders from several Methodist groups criticized the United Methodist
      Church on Friday in Tacoma for its $20 million advertising campaign
      proclaiming its "doors are always open," while excluding practicing
      gays and lesbians from the clergy.

      Also at the Tacoma gathering, 29 clergy from across the country
      formed an alliance to work for the full participation of gays and
      lesbians in the 8.4 million-member denomination. <SNIP>
      The statement is called "The Tacoma Call to Accountability: An Open
      Letter to the United Methodist Church" and was issued by
      Methodist-related groups - representing gays and lesbians, people of
      color, parents, students, and those focused on social action. <MORE>

      Saturday, July 28, 2001
      Methodist clergy create activist alliance
      By Eli Sanders
      Seattle Times

      TACOMA � Clergy from the United Methodist Church have formed an
      activist group they say will engage in disobedience and create a
      church-within-a-church in order to challenge their denomination's
      discrimination against homosexuals.

      The founding of the 30-member Clergy Alliance was announced in Tacoma
      yesterday at a gathering of 400 Methodists who are members of the
      Reconciling Ministries Network, which promotes full inclusion of gays
      within the church. <MORE>

      Tuesday, July 31, 2001
      Methodists form pro-gay alliance
      The Advocate
      Thirty ministers from the United Methodist Church form a group to
      challenge the denomination's discrimination against gay men and
      lesbians. <MORE>


      Friday, July 27, 2001
      Press Statement of the Clergy Alliance of the Reconciling Ministries

      The Clergy Alliance of the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN)
      became a reality at the July 26-29 National Convocation of RMN held
      in Tacoma, Washington. Sixty-seven United Methodist clergy
      representing every region of the United Methodist Church in the
      United States declared the birth of the movement. Over the next
      several months United Methodist clergy throughout the denomination
      will be invited to become part of the Alliance.

      The goal and purpose of the Alliance is to provide a network of
      support and strategy for clergy committed to a fully inclusive church
      and ministry. The movement will challenge UM Church policies and
      practices that exclude or discriminate against people because of
      their race, gender, sexual orientation, or other condition of

      The Clergy Alliance will organize and work nationally and regionally
      in three distinctive profiles that function like �spokes on a wheel
      that provides movement toward a fully inclusive church�:

      1. Working within and working to change the denomination�s
      discriminatory policies and practices regarding sexual orientation
      and other identities. This effort will attempt to develop and
      support the fullest ministry of and for inclusion within the
      parameters allowed by the denomination�s Book of Discipline. It will
      include participating in denominational legislative and election
      strategies, sharing resources for permitted inclusive ministry and
      establishing a network of support and communication.
      2. Commitment to radical obedience to the gospel�s mandate for full
      inclusiveness. This arena challenges the unjust laws and policies of
      the denomination through non-violent confrontation. The commitment
      will include both support (financial and other) to those injured by
      such witness and strategy to develop plans for individual, collective
      and mass witness.
      3. The establishment of a Professing Church. This �church within a
      church� draws on the model of the Confessing Church movement that
      emerged during World War II in Germany in resistance to the national
      church�s collusion with the Nazi government. The Professing Church
      will focus on developing the parallel infrastructure and resources
      needed for full inclusive ministry. It will function as both an
      incubator and model for an emerging church celebrating the fullness
      of the diversity created by God. It will be less focused on
      attempting to directly interact with the denomination than it will be
      committed to enabling faithful ministry by participating clergy and

      Clergy in the Alliance will be directly involved in one or more of
      the �spokes� above. They also will commit to support those involved
      in the other profiles and to support the Alliance as a whole.

      Those adopting the above model for the Alliance named an organizing
      group to select a permanent leadership team and to begin the work on
      developing the work of the Alliance. The organizing group will meet
      in early fall. The Rev. Gregory Dell, pastor of Broadway United
      Methodist Church in Chicago, Illinois and the Rev. Marilyn
      Meeker-Williams, pastor of Bering Memorial United Methodist Church in
      Houston, Texas were named as co-coordinators of the Clergy Alliance.

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