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Three UM Churches Added To Pro-homosexuality  "Galvanize Resistance" Against Church And Teachings


The following is a news release from the Reconciling Ministries Network: ------------------------------------

3 UM Congregations in the West Move for Inclusion

The Reconciling Ministries Network (formerly Reconciling Congregation Program) is pleased to announce the recent decisions of three United Methodist Churches to proclaim their commitment to be in inclusive ministry with the whole of God's family.

These communities are Arvada United Methodist Church in Arvada, Colorado, St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Redondo Beach, California, and Trinity United Methodist Church in Pearl City, Hawaii. The decisions by these three diverse and dynamic United Methodist congregations increase the number of Reconciling Congregations to 169 United Methodist congregations dedicated to full inclusion of all people into the community of faith.

Arvada United Methodist Church is located in a southern suburb of Denver and has been engaged in a period of study and discernment on reconciling ministry since 1991 when the youth group at Arvada proposed a charge conference to begin the RC study process. The church, which has long been a center for thoughtful theological inquiry, and in a delightful twist on Charles Wesley's teaching of the need to "unite the two so long disjoined, knowledge and vital piety", describes itself as "a church where science, religion and life are compatible."

According to Rev. Chuck Schuster, Arvada's journey to become an intentionally inclusive community began eleven years ago with the adoption of a mission statement that stated its openness to all people regardless of sexual orientation. "The church was trying to define itself at that time and adopted a statement that was bold and inviting. This has served as the blueprint for the congregation we have become."

The enthusiastic vote by St. Paul's UMC in Redondo Beach to become a Reconciling Congregation came after a study process begun in 1994. The community based congregation has been involved with justice work and outreach for many years, and was a pioneer in the California Pacific Annual Conference in founding AIDS Heartline, one of the first UM ministries to people with HIV/AIDS. Their statement of reconciliation reads in part, "as a reconciling congregation our mission is to provide a welcoming place where people of all backgrounds may worship, grow and serve." We applaud St. Paul's continued commitment to be the inclusive church of the gospel in their community.

Overlooking the historic Pearl Harbor memorial, Trinity United Methodist Church now stands as the first Hawaiian United Methodist Church to declare itself a Reconciling Congregation. The diverse congregation with an active Tongan ministry calls itself a "little church with a big heart." Pastor Dick Matsushita describes the church's mission as being "Christ's body within and beyond this community reaching out to and receiving people as they are." Matsushita described the experience of the community as helping people be "deepened in the Spirit challenged with the ultimate claim of the Gospel, and sent forth to be a caring Church creating a just and loving society."

Founded in 1984, the Reconciling Ministries Network is a national organization of 169 United Methodist congregations, 25 campus ministries, 16,500 individuals and affinity groups which publicly welcome persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities into the full life of the church. For additional information you may contact the Reconciling Ministries Network office at 773-736-5526 or email rmn@rcp.org or visit us on the web at http://www.rcp.org 

Good news indeed! Let us celebrate more communities being on the vital path towards revitalizing the fully inclusive church!

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