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Pro-homosexuality UM's To Meet And Plan Schism "Within" The UMC


CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE

FlashNet: January 2, 2002

"A Church Within a Church"

Dear Friends,

"A Church Within a Church"

Some have called it, "The Professing Church", others, "The Church of Resistance", still others, "Resources at the Cutting Edge." The newly formed Clergy Alliance* of the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) has asked RMN to initiate a call to activate this idea as a lay/clergy movement under the title, "A Church Within a Church."

This letter comes to you as an invitation to participate in that venture. If there are other laity, clergy, or congregations you know who might be interested, please extend the invitation to them as well.

What is envisioned?

  • A network of United Methodist congregations and individuals committed to and involved in ministries striving for full inclusion (race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.)
  • Laity and clergy together working to create and empower inclusive United Methodist congregations that will be signs of God's redemptive and reconciling power in the world.
  • A movement providing mutual support, strategy, and the sharing and development of resources for those on the journey.

The Reconciling Congregation Program of the Reconciling Ministries Network and others provide that kind of possibility for those at the beginning of or early in that journey. The Church Within a Church (C/C) would be for those:

  • Who have already experienced that beginning.
  • Who are primarily focused on developing and enabling congregations that are in ongoing and differing stages of becoming fully inclusive.

Could church school curriculum, liturgical resources, youth and older adult programs be developed for ministries of full inclusiveness? How can we develop congregational life and explore community formation that equally reject racism, sexism, and heterosexism? Are there ways to respond to, involve, and liturgically affirm those who are called to ordained ministry but are blocked because of their sexual identity? Are there ways to liturgically celebrate covenantal relationships for couples who are blocked by church or society from doing so? What special problems and possibilities emerge as congregations experience fuller inclusion?

We propose that these and other questions can begin to be addressed at a lay/clergy convocation to organize "The Church Within a Church." Will you join us?

The event will take place February 8-9, 2002 in Atlanta, GA. Facilitating the gathering will be Gregory Dell and Susan Johnson Morrison, the two co-coordinators of the Clergy Alliance's focus on this ministry. At the meeting we will determine future leadership and begin to create an organization for the on-going Church Within a Church movement.

As indicated above, we hope you will share this invitation with others who might be interested. We also hope you will take a moment to complete and return the response form enclosed. Whether you can or cannot attend the event, your reply will be of great help in assessing the potential for this movement.

Many thanks.

Grace and peace,

Marilyn Alexander, Executive Director, Reconciling Ministries Network
Susan Johnson Morrison, Co-Coordinator, Clergy Alliance: "Church Within a Church"
Gregory Dell, Co-Coordinator, Clergy Alliance: "Church Within a Church"


*The Clergy Alliance was initiated at the July 2001 Reconciling Ministries Network Convocation and organized at a called meeting in Washington DC in early November. That meeting adopted the following statement of mission and identity:

The Clergy Alliance is comprised of persons called to ordained ministry within the United Methodist Church who summon the Church to a deeper level of spiritual and theological integrity in relationship to persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities and their full inclusion in all aspects of the Church's life. The network is dedicated to active forms of teaching, organizing, strategizing, supporting one another, and resistance to help the church become more faithful to the radical love of Christ.

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