A couple of years ago First Church voted to join the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), which, as stated on its website, “mobilizes United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our Church and world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love.” We live that out regularly here by welcoming all people who come to First Church for worship and
service and to follow God.
RMN also states on its website that it is “committed to policy change and the creation of long-term solutions and practices that create full inclusion in The United Methodist Church and our
broader society. RMN works for full equality in membership, ordination, and marriage for God’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children.”
“Creating full equality” implies working through General Conference to change our official denominational policies and statements in the Book of Discipline. General Conference meets once every four years and it is made up of elected clergy and lay delegates from Methodism across the globe. They consider revisions to church law; they adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy, and economic issues; and they approve plans and budgets for church-wide programs for the next four years. General Conference is the only body that can speak officially for the United Methodist Church.
General Conference will meet next from May 10th-20th,
2016, in Portland, Oregon, with 864 delegates from around the world. And, according to church law, “Any organization, clergy member, or lay member of the United Methodist Church may petition the General Conference” on any part of the Book of Discipline or the Book of Resolutions, and the petition will be considered by one of 12 legislative committees.
So, there may be some people here at First Church who would be interested in working together for a few months to draft petitions to General Conference around issues of full inclusion in the UMC and in society. If so, this is your opportunity! We are forming a task force, with John Wright as the chair, to meet and talk and write, and to bring any petition(s) to the Administrative Board for vote at our August meeting. If you are interested in serving on this task force, contact John very soon at email@example.com or 512-478-5684 (ext. 212).