April Meeting Recap

Deana Henry opened the meeting with prayer.  The program was about the Reconciling Ministries Network, the Methodist movement to encourage greater inclusivity in the UMC, particularly regarding Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender persons.  The speakers were representatives from Trinity (Deana Henry), University (Bruce Kellison and Mike Coughlan), First (Robbie Ausley and Ann Teich), and St. John’s  (Janice Curry) UMCs.  Each of those churches is at a different place in the process of being a reconciling community, and the representatives talked about their respective processes so far.  In addition, representatives from Westlake UMC talked about their process.  A few of the major points:

  1. It is important to approach those on the other side of this issue with sensitivity and respect.  The idea is simply to have conversations with them, to get this issue out in the open where it can be discussed in a nonthreatening, nonjudgmental way.
  2. This is a lay-led movement.  Although having supportive clergy is helpful, having conversations about inclusivity should not reflect upon the pastor in any way.
  3. Pursuing a Reconciling path is just one part of a congregation’s outreach, and not necessarily the defining part.
  4. It’s not about breaking rules.  It’s about changing them.
  5. It’s important to have strong support among straight congregants.
  6. Today many young people, gay or straight, do not want to be part of a congregation that is not Reconciling.
  7. This is a justice issue.

There was a lively discussion following the speakers’ presentations.  There were more than 25 people in attendance, representing 9 UMCs in the Austin area.

Rowland announced the CBCS/RMN/MFSA luncheon at Annual Conference in June.  George Holcombe closed the meeting with prayer.

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