News from NRLR & UM Reconciling Ministries Network
- CALLED OUT INFORMATION
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
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
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
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
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
Thirty ministers from the United Methodist Church form a group to
challenge the denomination's discrimination against gay men and
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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