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Katalyst - Summer 2010

Katalyst - Summer 2010

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Published by: Reconciling Ministries Network on Sep 23, 2010
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Summer 2010 Katalyst|1WWW.RMNETWORK.ORG
VOL. 27 NO. 3SUMMER, 2010
Inclusive Teaching is Necessary for Progress
I am a member of HennepinAvenue UMC,Minneapolis,MN, acongregationthat becamereconciling in 1993. Hennepin hasalways been very progressive; in1956 it was one of the rst churchesin the country to merge its journeywith a black congregation. Prior to the 1993 reconciling date, thecongregation studied and exploredwhat Homosexuality and Reconcilingwere all about, paving the way for others and myself to be free and safein Church. One of the saints, theRev. Howard B. Johnson, who ledthe way at Hennepin, has gone onto join the Church Triumphant. It is because of people like Howard that Iam engaged in reconciliation work,indebted to the strong convictionof doing what is right and just. Wehave only to look to Jesus to see theexamples of how Jesus treated hisfellow human beings with dignityand see that we are expected to dothe same.Jesus’ journey, like ours, beganat the grassroots level. As the chair of the Grassroots Committee I knowwe’re gaining ground in The UnitedMethodist Church. Look how far the movement has come in the past25 years through your faith, prayer and donations. We have come thisfar by faith, motivated by love, butour journey is not over. We havemany bridges to cross, countries andcontinents to talk to, stories to tell
Gaining Ground
Continued on Page 2
Imagine stand-ing on a collegecampus and sud-denly you see stu-dents setting upan event table,not an uncommonsight. What seems unique is that theyare “performing weddings” to cele- brate National Freedom to Marry Day. Now clearly this is a stunt. These arenot real, but the smiles, giggles and joyare real. These young people are cre-atively demonstrating that they supportall people’s right to marry.Events similar to this happenedall the time at my college, and young people are working for LGBTQ jus-tice all over the world. They are lead-ing Bible Studies on the intersectionof faith and sexuality, and attending or  planning rallies for equality. There areyouth refusing to attend proms at their high schools or to recite the Pledge of Allegiance until all people have equalrights.At events like United MethodistStudent Forum and Global YoungPeople Convocation these grassrootsleaders engage in thoughtful dialogueand powerful individual conversations.In support of a resolution calling for afrmation of same-sex marriage,one young clergyman from Germanyspoke of feeling actively constrained by church policies which deny mar-riage equality although it is a civil re-ality for his congregation. However,young adults do not automatically sup- port equality; like General Conference,the Global Convocation failed to callthe church to a bold vision of inclusion.The Southeastern Jurisdiction hostsYouth in Mission, an event which at-tempts to give young people the op- portunity to learn about systemic jus-tice and advocacy. But young peopleat this event have not yet worked onquestions of sexual orientation or gen-der identity. No one will learn to advo-cate for LGBTQ people until they bothhear inclusion preached from the pulpitand learn the skills to
believe out loud 
.That is where our grassroots effortscome in. As a denomination, the UMCstill takes stances that deny full equal-ity for all people by denying weddings,ordination and, in some cases, mem- bership. We are all needed in local set-tings to tell our stories and work withyoung people. We can be youth groupleaders or volunteers, mentors, or in-vite them into our conversations. Wecan follow the example of young peo- ple who seek opportunities, share sto-ries and dialogue on LGBTQ inclusion, because relationships share innitelymore than any two minute speech.
 By Rachel Birkhahn-Rommelfanger, RMN Board Member 
by Larry Duncan, RMN Board Member 
2|Katalyst • Summer 2010
mobilizes United Methodists of all sexual orientations and genderidentities to transform our Churchand world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love.
Helen AndrewRachel Birkhahn-Rommelfanger Vincent CervantesRev. Daniel DissLawrence T. DuncanRev. Duane A. EwersElizabeth A. FimbresWill J. GreenEsther Villarreal HouserMadelyn MarshRev. David MeredithDr. Randall MillerRev. Holland MorganRev. Joshua M. NoblittRev. John OdaElizabeth OkayamaRev. Dr. Karen OlivetoRosario QuiñonesRev. Dr. Bruce RobbinsSally SparksRev. Dr. Derrick SpivaMonica L. SwinkJoy T. WattsRalph A. Williams
Jennifer Soule
Meg Carey
 Business Manager
James Dalton
Communication/Technology Coord.
Rev. Carl Davis
 Director of Development
Stephanie Harris
 Admin & Donor Relations Associate
Rachel Harvey, Deaconess
 Associate Executive Director
 Audrey Krumbach, M.Div.
Field Organizer
Rev. Troy Plummer
Executive Director
The Reconciling Group at CentralUnited Methodist Church, Ashville, NC, is alive and well. Several years agowe discerned a need within our con-gregation for more education aroundthe intersections of homosexuality, theBible and United Methodist policy.Our rst step, a four-session Sundayschool class on homosexuality in 2007,didn’t seem to rufe many feathers, soin 2008 we held a church wide screen-ing of 
 For the Bible Tells Me So
. Wehad people present with views acrossthe spectrum and followed the screen-ing with a four-week dialogue programon homosexuality we developed usingWesley’s quadrilateral. Each week our community’s excitement grew as more people joined the dialogue. From our dialogue, a chorus emerged who soughtto speak and sing our welcome in moredirect ways.In September 2009, we were invitedto participate in RMN’s four week pilot program “Toward Inclusiveness”, nowknown as
 Rethink Inclusion
 Rethink  Inclusion
naturally crescendoed our group toward bold actions by encour-aging us to develop active steps bothas individuals and a group at the endof each session. One step developed astatement of belief for our group. Thatstatement evolved into our ReconcilingStatement adopted January 6, 2010. Wehave received pushback from membersof our church who do not agree withour belief statement; however we con-tinue the dialogue whenever the oppor-tunity is open.We expanded our connection to oth-er local congregations and ReconcilingUnited Methodists by participatingin a Believe Out Loud training. Theworkshop helped each of us developand practice telling our stories, storieswe shared at the 2010 Western NorthCarolina annual conference where wehosted a booth and open worship ser-vice for over 100 people.We were honored to have BishopRichard B. Wilke speak at Central inAugust encouraging us in our welcometo everyone who comes through our doors. As we continue our journey to-ward living out loud as a welcoming,open and inclusive community, newvoices continue to join our chorus aswe seek new songs of welcome alongour journey for the full inclusion of allGod’s children. We are grateful for allthe resources and support RMN has provided us on this journey.
Reconciling Group at Central United Methodist Church
 By Karen Ballard 
and listen to dialogue to begin. It can be done with your help.For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, Jesus still reaches out tous. We must learn how to read the sacred story along with our stories. Seedsare being planted all the time into the soil. I invite you to help. Partner withRMN to sow new seeds by working with churches in your community that takeon a Reconciling identity. Nurture the soil our movement is planted in by gettinginvolved in your Annual Conference Team and become a RMN donor. Join us aswe work toward and celebrate the year round harvest of God’s justice.
RMN Board Member Rev. Josh Noblitt with the Wilkes at Central UMC 
Summer 2010 Katalyst|3
Getting conversation started about full inclusion beyond preaching to the choir is one of our movements greatestchallenges. We know from research and personal experiencethat there is a large section of persons who need support tohelp them be fully inclusive. Either they have a lingering bible question, have yet to experience the harm exclusioncauses, or perhaps are concerned about what being publiclysupportive will mean to them personally in their home, intheir Sunday School Class, in their pew.
 Rethink Inclusion
, www.rethinkinclusion.org, isdesigned specically with the concerns and questions of the “moveable middle” or “compassionately conicted” inmind. From a beginning one-session tutorial and quizzesto measure familiarity with inclusion and the UnitedMethodist’s exclusive policies to a free downloadable four-week curriculum with video, leader’s guide, and lesson plans,
 Rethink Inclusion
helps our compassionately conictedSisters and Brothers begin those new discussions in new places.
Rethink Inclusion: Starter Kit for the Moveable Middle
 By Rev Troy Plummer 
Post, Send Link,Offer Support, Make it viral!
Use Facebook, Twitter, blogs, listservs, personal e-maillist, and other avenues you have access to for distribution.Invite others to share further!Think regionally too: Your annual conference mightannounce it in the newsletter or post it on their website. If youare part of an annual conference clergy group or committee,make sure they get the chance to use the materials too! Sendit to your bishop with a personal note.Always be sure to offer your support as well and beready to share why this is important to you and connectthem further with RMN resources including our blog (www.rmnblog.org), website (www.rmnetwork.org), and staff (773.736.5526)!
Sweet Home UMC of Sweet Home, ORLakewood UMC of St. Petersburg, FLEast Longmeadow UMC of East Longmeadow, MA The United Church and Die VereinigteKirche of Washington, DCDorsey Emmanuel UMC of Elkridge, MDCrawford Memorial UMC of Winchester MASunnyside Centenary UMC of Portland, OR The United Church of Hinesburg of Hinesburg, VTChurch of the Saviour of Indianapolis, IN
New Reconciling Communities
Orange County Community Of ReconcilingUnited Methodists, Orange County, CA The LGBT Outreach Team of SouthAnchorage of Anchorage, AK Ages and Stages ReconcilingCommunity of Salina, KSSeekers Sunday School Class of UnionAvenue UMC of Alliance, OH

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