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United Methodist Sponsored Pro-Homosexuality Convo To Be Biggest Potpourri of Perversions Yet

Fanning the flamEs of sodom


The Reconciling Ministries Network Digest

Wednesday, March 21, 2007



RMN MISSION STATEMENT: Reconciling Ministries Network is a national grassroots organization that exists to enable full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the life of the United Methodist Church, both in policy and practice.

Special Convocation Edition

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


1.       Join the Excitement for Faith, Hope, Love This August 2-5

2.      Advertise in the Faith, Hope, Love Program Book

3.      Attend a Pre-Convocation Forum, 10am-4pm, August 2

4.      Nominate Your Reconciling Saint

5.      Browse the Exciting Workshops

6.      Let us pray with you




Reconciling Ministries Network’s Ninth National Convocation Faith, Hope, Love meets at Vanderbilt University, August 2-5 in Nashville, Tennessee. With exceptional values in housing, food, and registration, along with exciting speakers and vibrant worship, Faith, Hope, Love is shaping up to be our largest gathering yet! Find out more about Faith, Hope, Love and register at our Convocation 2007 page. As United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities, we are called to confess our faith, proclaim our hope, and celebrate our love in Jesus Christ. http://www.rmnetwork.org/convo2007/convo.asp


Current discounted registration rates are available through June 29 (Adult $225, Student $125, Child $50). Regular registration rates begin June 30 (Adult $255, Student $150, Child $50).


Plan to send a representative from your community to bring the story of Faith, Hope, Love home. From dormitories, to retreat center, to hotels, we have a space for you!


Like to donate a scholarship to a participant of Faith, Hope, Love? Visit www.rmnetwork.org click on Faith, Hope, Love, choose registration and select Scholarship Donation Only. Or simply write a check to RMN noting FHL Scholarship in the memo section. And we still process credit cards too, either online or by phone, 773-736-5526!




Celebrate your inclusive ministry in the program book for Faith, Hope, Love! What an opportunity to reach United Methodists committed to justice!


A limited amount of advertising space is available. Your advertisement will be considered for publication if it is in line with our mission and received by June 15 preferably in a camera ready pdf or jpeg format.

Email your ad to Sarah@RMnetwork.org.


The costs are:

$250 (full page – 8.5” x 11”)

$150 (half page – 8.5” x 5.5”)

$100 (quarter page – 5.5” x 4.25”)

Mail your check or credit card # to us at 3801 N. Keeler Ave. Chicago, IL 60641-3007. Be sure to add FHL Program Ad to the Memo line!


Your Sunday School Class, Seminary, or favorite Resource may wish to advertise to this gathering of dedicated justice seekers at Faith, Hope, Love.




These gatherings offer unique opportunities for networking and learning new skills. The cost is $25 and includes lunch. Note: If you registered for pre-convocation on the paper registration form, you may not have identified which forum you wanted to attend. Please clarify your choice at sarah@rmnetwork.org.


United Methodist of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church:  Coordinated by RMN board member Rev. John Oda, UMOC pre-convo will include worship, networking time, a panel on Challenges for Communities of Color and Full Participation, theological bases, organizing in communities of color, and next steps. Leadership includes Dr. Elizabeth Leung, Randall Miller, Michael Yoshii, Garlinda Burton, and more.


Called to Witness: Creating Change One Person at a Time, sponsored by Reconciling Ministries Clergy. This new RMN initiative seeks to mobilize lay and clergy Reconciling volunteers across annual conferences to witness to their General Conference delegates. Volunteers will serve as missionaries to their delegates, urging them to vote for full inclusion of LGBT persons in the United Methodist Church. Sessions include: Telling Our Stories: learning and practicing giving our witness; Talking Points: resources for advocating for full inclusion; and an Organizing Strategy: developing regional plans to witness to all of our annual conference delegates.


Reconciling Process, facilitated by Sue Laurie for those initiating, exploring advancing the reconciling welcome in your community, region or churchTaking first steps or taking next steps, join reconciling process to hone your skills and learn about new resources to both deepen and widen your communities welcome to persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities!


Parents Reconciling Network:  interactive sessions designed for parents and relatives of GLBT persons. Allies are welcome. Morning will include a devotional, RMN updates, and Q&A with Troy Plummer. Experience sharing and networking in small groups with this PRN family. The afternoon will include, “What is our United Methodist denomination doing now?” and “What can I do in my local church or conference?” Come to meet some really fine people who share your interest and concern.


MOSAIC: Students, seminarians, and young adults will be worshipping, learning and working together towards General Conference 2008. The morning will consist of an exciting advocacy project as we make 1000 letters to be delivered to all general conference delegates that will remind them of the voice of young people and our unbending commitment to all-inclusive hospitality in God's Church. The afternoon will include gathering for a workshop and discussion on advocacy and young adults and conclude with a worship time of music, prayer and creative opportunities to praise God.




Do you have someone to recommend for an award? At Faith, Hope, Love we will present the Cup of Justice and Voice in the Wilderness Awards for outstanding ministry. Send your recommendation with supporting comments to RMN Board Member Will Green at willjouko@msn.com. Deadline for nominations is June 15, 2007.


The Cup of Justice award is given for taking bold action to invoke justice where injustice, oppression and exclusion exist. In 2005, this award was presented to the Retired Reconciling Clergy of the New England Annual Conference who made public statements and took action for marriage equality.


The Voice in the Wilderness award is for taking risks, despite isolation in a wilderness, to proclaim the rightness of inclusion for all people in the church, and for standing against injustice despite that lack of support. In 2005, Elsie Vega, a layperson from Spearfish, South Dakota who came out as a lesbian at 76 years of age and testified before the South Dakota legislature, signed up dozens of Reconciling United Methodists, and recruited her UMW for RMN action.


Also the deadline is June 1, 2007 for nominations for the Hilton Award given by the Parents Reconciling Network  to persons or groups, preferably UM parents of lgbt offspring, who—through outstanding compassionate witness and work—have given significant support to other parents and increased hope for a more inclusive denomination.

For more information visit:  http://www.rmnetwork.org/prnet/index.html.




You will have the opportunity to participate in two workshops (one on Friday and one on Saturday) or choose the antiracism track “Allies Gather” which meets on Friday and Saturday. Stay tuned for more information. Registrants will receive Workshop Signup Sheets.


Confirmed workshops as of May 23, 2007:


Allies Gather: Foundations for Action, Chris Paige (6 hour antiracism track)

How does racism undermine our efforts to fight homophobiaHow can we become stronger allies to one another across lines of racial difference? Designed to strengthen your efforts in building a coalition to fight racism and homophobia, this series of four workshops emphasizes response-ability, cultural competency, and theological foundationsJoin us for one or more of these distinct workshop gatherings as we seek to deepen our commitment to one another and to the work of justice!


Media Messaging as Faith Leaders, Alex Shoor and Ann Craig, GLAAD (counts as both choices)

Taking your message from the church pew or pulpit to the TV camera and its 10-second sound bite is a challenge. In this workshop, we’ll learn to shape our media messages around the personal stories coming out of our lives, our faith and our churches and craft them into concise, compelling media messages. We will study effective messages from affirming as well as anti-LGBT faith voices and then practice composing our own messages.”


Countering Homophobic Use of Scripture, Youtha Hardman-Cromwell

Bible 101: Are you stumped when people use scripture to exclude lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender folks? Here is help with understanding the scriptures used as "clobber texts" and with using scriptures of your own.


Back to the Bible: LGBT People of Faith and the Authority of Scripture, Jay Emerson Johnson

What authority do biblical texts have in faith communities? What is authority, and how do the authority of texts and the authority of human experience relate? Distinguishing the difference between “Bible” and “Scripture” can provide a way for LGBT people of faith to claim their own spiritual authority in both church and societyIn this workshop we will consider religious authority in faith communities in relation to the Bible, sexual orientation, and ethics.


Evangelism for Reconciling United Methodists, Karen Oliveto

At a time when our denomination proclaims open hearts, minds and doors while supporting the exclusion of GLBT persons from pews and pulpits, it becomes imperative that Reconciling United Methodist Churches proclaim the Good News of God's wide embrace. We will look at the theological basis for our work as reconciling United Methodists, as well as practical strategies to strengthen your congregation's evangelism ministry so that all may encounter God's saving love and grace through Jesus Christ.


Living Openly in Your Place of Worship, Harry Knox

Do we really believe the truth will set us freeCome learn strategies for living honestly and openly in your place of worship. We will talk about how to decide if now is the time to speak your truth, clergy responses, lay leadership's reactions, and resources available for the journey.


Meeting “The Other”: Worship Encounters Across Cultures, Jorge Lockward

This workshop will explore practical ways to engage local church communities in the use of music and other elements from other cultures in Christian worship, as a way to expand understandings of God and self, and open new venues for inclusion. Come ready to stomp, sing, play and be troubled!


The Already and the Not Yet: How Hope Can Inspire and Guide Us in Our Work, Rebecca Voelkel

In this workshop, we will explore the revolutionary hope of our faith and how to claim it in the everyday experience of pro-LGBT church-work and life. Our faith is an important gift to bring to the pro-LGBT justice movementJustice comes not only because we strategize and work hard, but because God's presence is here and now, amongst us, guiding us, leading us, manifesting itself, even as the Realm of God is yet to come.


In God’s House, John Oda

Asian, Christian, and Gay or Lesbian? Asian American lesbians and gays, their parents and allies have been largely invisible and silent in Christian churches. The film, “In God’s House” invites people to hear personal stories previously unheard: that of Asian American Christian lesbian and gay people and their parents. The workshop invites listening and sharing of stories of courage, inspiration, and highlights the importance of supporting LGBT people as important members of our Asian American families and churches.


Membership in the Church and Decision 1032: Paradigms for Decision Making, Pamela Lightsey

Critical exploration of Judicial Council Decision 1032 allowing the denial of membership to a homosexual man: “The 2004 Discipline invests discretion in the pastor in charge to make the determination of a person’s readiness to affirm the vow of membership...” (¶217) We will consider the impact of hermeneutics – biblical interpretation – prescriptive ethics and pastoral discretion in determining an individual’s readiness for membership in the United Methodist Church.


Between The Covers: Can The Spirit Still Move In The Book of Discipline?, Jennifer Soule

Since General Conference, 2004, the United Methodist Church Judicial Council has issued 5 key rulings affirming discrimination towards LGBT people by the United Methodist Church, including “legalizing” refusal of church membership to a gay man. Yet, we find tremendous hope and possibility as we move aheadLearn the basics about our church law, recent decisions affecting inclusion, and how we might respond with positive changes.


Unmasking the Right:  IRD: Renewal or Ruin?, Frank Staggs

The IRD intends to tear at the basic fabric of the United Methodist Church at every level. Millions of dollars (most given from outside the UMC) drive a wedge of doubt and suspicion into our churches and conferences, seemingly for political or financial gain. It is not my intent to critique the IRD's beliefs and the doctrines, but its tactics. The unity of the church is compromised by this strategy of "divide and conquer."


Heart of Love: Non-Violence and the Long Journey, Beth Richardson and Bob Colman

Biblical, historical and contemporary sources, will inform our discussion of the principles of non-violence and the long term relationship of GLBT persons in the church. Engaging this struggle with a heart of love, we will explore Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr’s approach to healthy anger and relationships. As earthen vessels, we hope to love the earthen institution into a faithful friendship that holds us accountable to God’s unfailing grace which bathes us all.


Transcending Gender, Sally Sparks

What is gender? What is sex? Are they the same thing? Is male the same thing as masculine? Is everyone male or female, or are there in-betweens? What does transgender mean? Can people move between one gender and another? Explore the diversity of sex and gender in this participative workshop. Questions and discussion are encouraged, and we'll even play a game.


Creating a Church Home for Christian Transgender People, Fredrikka Joy Maxwell

Led by a black transwoman, this workshop will offer information on what transsexualism is and is not as well as current research on transsexualism. What are the struggles and challenges transfolk face in their families of origin, society and in the church? What is the intersection between race and gender? What spiritual and pastoral issues are unique to transfolks? How can a congregation reach out to and become a safe place for transfolks?


Teaching Tolerance and Inclusivity to Children and Youth, Rev. Nancy Giese

This Affirmation sponsored workshop will include video and stories helpful for use with children and youth regarding the issues of tolerance and inclusivity of gay families. Each participant will experience hands-on lessons and resources to take home and use to encouraging your congregation to work with all ages around diverse family questions and blessings. This workshop is also beneficial for LGBT families who want resources for their own children that show families like theirs and encourage them to honor their situations.


Everybody's Children: Reinventing Family Ministry in the Reconciling Church, Beth Stroud

What's the best way to reach the GLBT community in your town? A well-equipped nursery and Sunday School might be as important as a Pride parade banner. Do you have the tools to create a truly inclusive ministry with diverse families? Take a closer look at the families formed by fostering, adoption, and new reproductive technologies and learn about pastoral issues and steps to make your congregation more sensitive and welcoming.


Move it! Get your Church Going, Ryan Haywood

Although we feel like David and Goliath, despite some outward appearances, your church and denomination are not monoliths. You - yes, YOU! - can be effective as an individual change agent. Get your congregation and the UMC moving forward on the path toward being welcoming, safe, and reconciling with open arms for everyone. We'll look at the big picture and at the details of this work in an exciting dialogue.


Starting Conversation Where There Is No Openness:  Scripturally Sound, Theologically Open, Janet Wolf

The United Methodist Church’s commitment to prophetic witness is limited by folks who work to keep people out. This workshop will be a participatory conversation exploring biblical framework, Wesleyan heritage and a spirituality of nonviolent resistance in order to engage folks around openness issues, including topics such as grace, salvation, discipleship, baptism, worship, evangelism, stewardship and reconciliation. Participants are encouraged to bring resources and stories that have been helpful and notes on things which have locks to the slammed doors.


Effective Allies Weren't Born that Way: Empowering Each other to Build our Movement, Ann Thompson Cook

What moves a straight person to become an ally for LGBT equality? A gay/lesbian person to become an ally for transgender equality? In this interactive session for LGBT and straight Reconcilers, we'll examine the questions and concerns of prospective allies, what we expect of allies, what allies require to fulfill those expectations, and how we can empower ourselves and others to be  effective allies.


From Ignorant Homophobe to Accidental Activist, Joy Watts

The mother of a lesbian daughter shares her journey from shock and horror to acceptance, love, advocacy and proclaim-it-to-the-world welcoming as modeled by Reconciling Ministries. A powerful story of transformation includes helpful resources, such as parts of Straight From the Heart and In My Shoes to help more allies develop and tell their stories. As more personal stories are shared, the church will be transformed by our love. Allies need to be out too.


Our Ancestors, Ourselves How Our (Mostly Hidden) History Shapes our Struggle, Dr. Terry Todd

This workshop reviews some of the important moments in the LGBTQ Christian, and names pioneers who blazed this trail. We'll look at how political changes and culture have influenced debates on Christian sexuality in the last half-century, and how developments within the Church have helped shape the reception of LGBTQ concerns, such as same-gender marriage. With one eye on our history and another fixed on the future, this workshop is intended to equip the saints as we move forward.


Peace, Poverty, People's Rights:  Intersections of Justice, Kathryn Johnson

For 100 years, the Methodist Federation for Social Action has identified common threads among justice issues and addressed these in both official and unofficial UM ministries. As an independent network, MFSA acts quickly to improve Methodist and broader world policies. Come to learn about MFSA’s current priorities and plans for GLBT issues and other concerns. Share your experience, gather information and give your input as MFSA heads into its second one hundred years of justice ministry.


Soulforce and Nonviolent Direct Action, Steven Webster

This workshop provides a quick overview of the Soulforce method of nonviolence training. There will be discussion of the following questions:  What is violence? What is nonviolence? What are the steps required before one resorts to nonviolent direct action? How do we identify and challenge the spiritual violence the United Methodist Church directs towards LGBT persons? How do LGBT persons respond in a nonviolent way to that spiritual violence?


To the Ends of the Earth: Regional Networks Reaching Out, Michael Coughlan, Southwest Texas Conference (ETC);  Jen Ihlo, Baltimore Washington Area Reconciling Methodists (BWARM); Larry Fox, Pacific Northwest (PNWRMN); Stephen Daugherty, Reconciling United Methodists and Friends of North Carolina; Deborah Maria, Oregon-Idaho Reconciling United Methodists

Did you know that there are many like-minded and open-hearted people that have never heard of Reconciling and may not have a reconciling community near them? This panel of successful regional organizers will share creative ideas and strategies to reach out and connect beyond the local congregation.




Please let us be part of your support and let us know how we might help. One way is to let us pray for you.


We invite you to send your prayer requests to us and be counted in the weekly offering of joys and concerns. You may call (773-736-5526), write (RMN 3801 N. Keeler Ave. Chicago, IL 60641) or email these requests to prayer@rmnetwork.org.


“Now during those days Jesus went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God” ~ Luke 6:12


The Reconciling Ministries Network is a national network of United Methodist-focused organizations advocating for the full inclusion of persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities into the life of the Church. Founded in 1984, RMN consists of 233 United Methodist congregations, 29 campus ministries, 49 Reconciling Communities, and over 19,000 individuals. Organizations involved include the Parents' Reconciling Network, Reconciling Ministries Clergy, United Methodists of Color, and RMN's student movement, MOSAIC. For additional information you may contact the Reconciling Ministries Network office at:


Reconciling Ministries Network

3801 North Keeler Avenue – Third Floor

Chicago, IL 60641-3007


773.736.5526 Phone

773.736.5475 Fax


Email: rmn@RMNetwork.org

Visit us on the web at www.RMNetwork.org.


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