We are proud to announce that after a two-year process of discernment, after many conversations and Bible studies and panel discussions and zoom meetings, that many of our active members took time to vote either by paper ballot or online.
By just over 90%, the membership of HUMC has voted to join the Reconciling Ministries Network and to join with over 1000 other United Methodist Churches around the world in becoming a Reconciling Congregation.
This vote and the large percentage of affirmation helps us to send a message loud and clear to the LGBTQ+ community here in our neighborhood that they are not only welcome in this church, but they are loved just as they are.
This also means that we are in a global network of churches where all people are honored, affirmed, and fully included and valued as children of God.
In doing so, we adopt this Statement of Affirmation:
Statement of Affirmation
“We celebrate God’s gift of diversity and value the wholeness made possible in community equally shared and shepherded by all. We welcome and affirm people of every gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, who are also of every age, race, ethnicity, physical and mental ability, level of education, and family structure, and of every economic, immigration, marital, and social status, and so much more. We acknowledge that we live in a world of profound social, economic, and political inequities. As followers of Jesus, we commit ourselves to the pursuit of justice and pledge to stand in solidarity with all who are marginalized and oppressed.”
HUMC’s lay-led Reconciling Ministry Discernment Team members are: Jane Dewire and Michael Haney, chairs, along with Max Andrick, Don Boerner, Rich Boettner, Kelli Decker, Kelly Dewire, Jason Hudson, Julie Johnson, Donna McBride, and Lynn Weatherby. Contact any of them with your questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letters of Encouragement on the Reconciling Process
Frequently Asked Questions
We held several sessions where folks could learn more about what is happening in the larger Methodist circles and for Bible study and other conversations around these issues.
Sunday, May 16, 1-2pm, INTERSECTIONALITY & PRIVILEGE. Lay Leaders Julie Johnson and Kelly Dewire led a discussion around the concepts of intersectionality and privilege, focusing on how they affect the experiences of people with differing identities. The session culminated with a conversation about what it means to truly love all people No Matter What.
Wednesday, May 12, 7-8pm, GENDER DIVERSITY: A PASTORAL REFLECTION: Pastor Jon talked about how he has come to understand the importance of uplifting and affirming those who might not fit into our simple understanding of gender. He shared from his own life experiences and also talked about how scripture shows a growing acceptance and welcome to those who were perceived to be outside the gender norms of their day. There was also a time for Q&A. Contact Pastor Jon for a link to the recording.
Sunday, May 2, 1-2pm, THE GREAT DEBATE: Pastor April guided us through some of the primary divisions in the United Methodist Church around how we read scripture, especially as it pertains to sections on human sexuality. We will use 1 Corinthians 6 to reveal some of the ways that our own debates around sexuality have become woven into our translations of scripture. We will discuss what is currently happening with the formation of the Global Methodist Church and answer any questions you may have about how our reconciling vote at HUMC will impact things. Reach out to Pastor April if you’d like to see the recording of this conversation (email@example.com).
Reconciling Team Update: March 14, 2021
The Reconciling Ministry Discernment Team has been working over the last year and a half to help listen, understand, and educate our congregation about what it would mean to become a Reconciling Congregation – one that was publicly and openly affirming of the LGBTQ+ community.
This team has held congregational meetings, panels, listening sessions, one-on-one conversations, Bible studies, and Zoom sessions to listen to the congregation and keep you in the loop on its progress. As we are nearing the end of that process, the team has been listening to your feedback about another chance to ask questions and understand what the Bible has to say about homosexuality:
February 7 Town Hall Follow-Up
Thank you all for attending and participating in the HUMC Reconciling Ministry Discernment Group’s Town Hall event on Sunday, February 7, with Rev Deacon April Casperson and Rev April Blaine. It was wonderful to learn the plans for General Conference and pending vote for LGBTQ+ inclusion in the United Methodist Church with you. We wanted to share the resources that Rev. April C mentioned as well as the Bible study Rev. April B referenced.
Here is a recording of the Town Hall (coming soon):
General Conference 2019 Summary (click title to be directed to the resource)
….Which is now a part of the Alaska Omnibus (released January 2021)
- The regionalization framework of The Christmas Covenant is included at the beginning.
- The formation of a Regional Conference in North America from the Connectional Table Plan is included.
- Governance changes allowing Wespath and benefit plans to better serve the Church in its potential new forms.
- All of The Protocol is included, ensuring that those who wish to form a traditionalist expression of Methodism are able to do so without litigation.
Delegates will be in a meeting, and anyone can observe this meeting. I suspect we will get information about timelines. Facilitated by Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi of the Western Pennsylvania Conference and hosted Tyrus Sturgis, Director of Leader Communications at United Methodist Communications, participants and viewers will see presentations on:
- The state of General Church finances (General Council on Finance and Administration)
- The state of the Episcopal Fund
- General Conference options
- Jurisdictional Study Committee Report
- Episcopal election recommendation from the Council of Bishops (Bishop Cynthia Fierro-Harvey)
Barriers Against A Virtual General Conference. Opinion piece: We cannot have a virtual General Conference ethically or logistically (Jane Dewire writes, “full disclosure: I know this author personally and trust his research and insights. He has been blogging about the UMC for years as a part of his ministry”).
United Methodist Insight: A weekly newsletter of curated articles about the UMC from a variety of viewpoints. Last week’s issue was all about General Conference. This is a good newsletter to subscribe to.
Vaccines Won’t Save General Conference: Opinion piece (backed up with facts) about how it is very unlikely that we will have a General Conference this year.
Update: General Conference has been postponed to 2022.
Reconciling Ministry Town Hall
FEATURING REV. APRIL CASPERSON & REV. APRIL BLAINE, FACILITATED BY JANE DEWIRE
HOSTED BY THE RECONCILING MINISTRY DISCERNMENT TEAM
The Reconciling Ministry Discernment Group hosted a virtual Town Hall with Pastor April Blaine and Deacon April Casperson, who among many other roles is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the West Ohio Conference and Delegate for General Conference.
The Aprils shared information about the upcoming General Conference, the vote concerning the inclusion of the LGBT community in the United Methodist Church, as well as how General Conference could impact HUMC.