From the editor: What follows is a pastoral letter from two pastors to their congregation before a church vote to become Reconciling at FUMC Austin, TX. Most churches in the Central and Southeast regions of the US are very much in the same boat as this church-- many members with many diverse views who have never practiced listening to each other. The goal of Reconciling Ministries Network is not to split churches over infighting, but to help churches go through the healthy process FUMC Austin did. Drawing the circle wider is not just about LGBT folk, it envisions including characters like Paul, who once killed Christians and big brothers who don't want to enter the party. Thanks to Barbara and John for taking the risk to help their congregation have this important discussion. The church voted overwhelmingly to become Reconciling!
- by The Revs. Barbara Ruth and John Wright -
On February 10th, after more than 10 years of discussion, we will vote as a congregation on whether to join the national Reconciling Ministries Network. In taking this step, we will decide whether we want to go on record as a congregation, adding our voice to a growing number of churches, annual conferences, and other groups which advocate changing The United Methodist Church’s relationship with homosexual persons as expressed in our denomination’s Book of Discipline.
Where We Are Currently as a Congregation:
Our observation as your pastors is that there are two points on which we all agree.
- All of us agree that First Church should welcome all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, into the life of the church. Our Administrative Board has adopted more than one resolution to this effect. We proclaim this stance on all our worship bulletins.
- All (or most) of us agree that some homosexual acts are immoral, just as some heterosexual acts are immoral: namely, those that are casual, promiscuous, and exploitative.