NEWSLETTER OF RECONCILING MINISTRIES NETWORK
KATALYST VOL. 26 NO. 3
Praise God for Sue Laurie
Transitions By Audrey Krumbach Summertime in a United Methodist church – vacation bible school, old ladies with paper fans, campmeetings, and everyone’s favorite – new pastors! I sat in church this morning and where just two weeks ago stood a tall, brunette, mid-30’s male pastor was a thin, blonde, young woman pastor. Across our connection, younger souls are filling pulpits recently vacated by the now-retired; families move out of a parsonage, and a single person moves in. Favorite sermon illustrations will never be heard again, and tired old jokes will be (happily) forgotten. Less than three weeks after I graduated from high school, my clergy mom was appointed to a new church. We moved from a suburb of 80,000 to an unincorporated town of about 2,000. We moved from a neighborhood full of houses, people, and my friends to a street with a taxidermist’s shop, orchard, corn field, an egg farm, and cows! My life was over, or so I thought.
After sixteen years of ministry affirming that “Reconciling is the radical notion that gay people want to go to church”, Sue Laurie officially retires from her staff role with RMN on September 7 at the Justice and Joy convocation. In her past eight years as outreach staff, she has faithfully spread the Good News that all are welcome at God’s table. As a circuit rider, Sue has traveled thousands of miles by air, land, and sea (ferry boats) to reach the most challenging regions of our church. The journey to challenge church injustice began with believing what she was taught as a child in Sunday School that “Jesus Loves Me This I Know”. Each year, after receiving the call to ministry, she went forward during the ordination service invitation to ministry of the Western Pennsylvania Annual
Conference. Knowing the policies of exclusion in The United Methodist Church, she pursued her Masters of Divinity and along the way successfully challenged discrimination in housing at Garrett Evangelical. While policies prevented Sue from being set aside for local ministry, they paved the way for a national pulpit at RMN.
“I am t r tenure emendously proud at RM of N minist ry grow and have se my en the positiv a n d d evelop e ways in m in m I have loved m y eight year any s here. seekin y w ork g a tru ly inclu with people in the siv U am dee nited Method e sanctuary ply gra ist Chu te rc ships a nd opp ful for the re h. I lationortunit in this ies I ha minist ry and ve had continu it is m e to co y hope ntribu to te Sue La in the future.” urie
See Page 3 for “Reflections on Sue’s Ministry.”
It took me about three weeks to discover the surprising blessings of tiniest-town-ever living: fresh peaches at the end of a run, Miss Francis’ homemade fig cookies, scrambled eggs from today’s laying, and singing from the old Cokesbury hymnal. Here at the Reconciling office, we are experiencing a few transitions this summer. In the midst of hiring, retiring, transitions and changes, we are experiencing new realities in the general church and world! We celebrate with Iowa and Continued on Page 6
Susan Laurie (left) and Randy Miller at United Methodist Church’s 2000 General Conference in Cleveland. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.
Summer 2009 • Katalyst | 1
Spotlight: Faith UMC, Cedar Rapids, IA “We are a small congregation dedicated to the mission and ministry of Jesus and John Wesley to preach Good News to the poor. This comes from Luke 4, where Jesus describes the mission of his own life as he understood it.” From church website
The Iowa Annual Conference meeting included joyful, hardworking lay members from a church in Cedar Rapids. Officially reconciling since 1993, Faith UMC identify themselves as “a group of friends, called Christians, where everyone can belong.” Working in several ministry teams, Faith UMC seeks to be and learn together in social action, worship, education and spiritual growth. Learning together how to love God and neighbor, Faith UMC helps many individuals realize how much God loves them. Rev. Kathleen Moore, pastor, says of the church “I am touched by the number of people… who express relief and joy at finding a church that accepts them or their family members and friends. I long for the day when all of Christ’s church is so accepting.” Not just a social justice church, Faith is actively involved in outreach and education. Defining evangelism as care for not only those beyond the church family, but also visitors, constituents, and even current members at whatever point they are in the spiritual journey. Classes, worship and fellowship opportunities abound, with progressive dinners, movie
nights, open door coffee houses, sports events and concerts. On their website, Faith UMC lists historical and present social concerns which keep them busy with God’s work: •
Bible study in its historical, political, socio-economic context.
Preaching the Gospel as Liberation Theology.
Broad world view and awareness of diversity in Cedar Rapids.
Sanctuary church in response to war in El Salvador and the needs of undocumented workers and Hispanic immigrants.
Supported and testified on behalf of adding gender identity to the Civil Rights Code.
Provided sanctuary for the Cedar Rapids Women’s Clinic while it was under fire for issues of reproductive choice.
Check out Faith UMC Cedar Rapids’ website at www.crfaithumc.org!!!
Hope UMC of Iowa City, IA College Hill UMC of Wichita, KS First UMC of North Andover, MA Garden Street UMC of Bellingham, WA Trinity UMC of Toledo, OR Kenwood UMC of Milwaukee, WI Centenary UMC of Richmond, VA Highlands UMC of Denver, CO Grant Avenue UMC of Denver, CO 2 | Katalyst • Summer 2009
mobilizes United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our Church and world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Helen Andrew Rachel Birkhahn-Rommelfanger Vincent Cervantes Rev. Daniel Diss Lawrence T. Duncan Rev. Duane A. Ewers Elizabeth A. Fimbres Will E. Green Will J. Green Esther Villarreal Houser David Mauzy Rev. David Meredith Dr. Randall Miller Rev. Holland Morgan Rev. Joshua M. Noblitt Rev. John Oda Elizabeth Okayama Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto Rosario Quiñones Rev. Dr. Bruce Robbins Rev. Dr. Martha Scott Sally Sparks Rev. Dr. Derrick Spiva Monica L. Swink Joy T. Watts Ralph A. Williams Christina Wright
LEGAL COUNSEL Jennifer Soule
RMN STAFF Meg Carey Business Manager Rev. Carl Davis Director of Development Antony Hebblethwaite Communication/Technology Manager
New Reconciling Communities Congregations
RECONCILING MINISTRIES NETWORK
Eastern Parkway UMC of Schenectady, NY Campus Ministry The Student Community of the Wesley Foundation of the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA Community The Journey, a group at Forest Chapel UMC of Cincinnati, OH
Stephanie Johnson Admin & Donor Relations Associate Audrey Krumbach, M.Div. Field Organizer Susan Laurie, M.Div. Outreach Coordinator Rev. Troy Plummer Executive Director
Reflections on Sue’s Ministry “Sue gets arrested in front of hundreds, comes to stay at your house in New Jersey, tells Bible stories better than your childhood Sunday school teacher, enjoys excessively long meetings, makes Bishops stop in their tracks, finds her way into front page color photo ops, gets hitched while others are preparing legislation, likes board members, celebrates volunteers and enacts social justice before most people have had their morning cup of coffee.” Jeff Spelman, former Board Chair
Sue came with us to clean his apartment where she went right to work scrubbing the toilets and mopping the floor. God bless you, Sue Laurie.” Bob and Betty Dorr, Betty is a former Board Member
“Sue’s gift of hearing the stories, letting them have an impact on her theology, mobilizing ordinary churches and folks at a grassroots level, alongside her ability to reach out in reconciling -- yet clear -- ways to those around her are things that encourage me to keep on believing.”
Joretta Marshall, former Board Member “Year after year at the Western PA Annual Conference (her home Conference), Sue would go forward at the ordination service at that point in the liturgy when the Bishop issued an invitation for people feeling called to ministry to come forward. Sue did not hesitate to walk forward as a kind of “protest” because it was a tremendous opportunity to show everyone the effects of our Tiffany Stenwert and Sue Laurie hand out newsletters discriminatory ordination at 2004 Pittsburgh General Conference. policy. Every year, more and more people would walk forward “Courage, gentleness, simplicity, with Sue, sometimes wearing rainrelentlessness, glorious.” bow stoles or holding other symbols Jorge Lockward, Convo Music Director of the struggle. It made a difference “I will never forget the joy on Sue’s for many people in WPA. Sue is a face as she served communion durwoman of conviction and courage!” ing Sunday worship for General Renee Waun, Western Pennsylvania Conference 2008. Knowing that she “When Beth Stroud’s first trial is prevented by the church from ended, many of us had been standing fulfilling her passion to minister and in support. When the key players, that the church loses the great gifts other observers, and press left, Sue that she could give as a pastor, fuels encouraged us to form a large circle, my desire to work for change.” Elizabeth Fimbres, Board Member and we were together in singing/ ”worship”/prayer. I admired how she could speak on the spur of the “Sue’s minist moment as Spirit led, and not for the ry has us; cha stre lle first time did I mourn the systematic us as w nged us; and ngthened e su jo loss of people like Sue, and Beth, work. J urney toget pported h o er in th in w ith me from our UMC. ” Sue’s c is t Peggy R. Gaylord, New York
“When we were devastated by our youngest son Mike’s struggles, Sue was a true friend who talked and prayed with us. When Mike died,
oc on to wish tributions to elebrate R her we ll in th MN, and God ca e futur lls her e, as to new Monica minis Swink , Board tries.” Chair
Welcome New Staff Rachel Harvey, the new Associate Executive Director, comes to us from The Advance at the General Board of Global Ministries where she spearheaded the national launch of the B1 campaign. “Throughout my journey from far off places like Vermillion, SD to chaotic New York City, my spirit has been sustained and challenged to grow through the work of Reconciling United Methodists. I’m really excited to be a part of the life sharing work of the RMN family. I look forward to meeting you at Convo!” Carl Davis, the new Director of Development, joins Reconciling Ministries Network after having spent the last seven years pastoring United Methodist congregations in the North Indiana Conference. Prior to that Carl was a Captain in The Salvation Army, where he served as the Executive Director for The Salvation Army in Miami County, Indiana. “I’m thrilled to be your new Development Director and am eager to meet everyone at Convo! My work is motivated by the reality that we are all God’s children and I love connecting resources to needs so that all may have enough, and live in justice and peace. I can’t wait to get to the Rockies and be with you.” Stephanie Johnson, the new Admin and Donor Relations Associate, is a native of Chicago, IL. She worked at the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits for the United Methoodist Church for almost two years in data and health, before moving to Breast Cancer Network of Strength as a Development Associate. “I am excited to join the staff of RMN and look forward to getting to be able to put faces with names at Justice & Joy.” Summer 2009 • Katalyst | 3
RMN Welcomes the General Commission on Religion and Race to Justice & Joy! Join staff members of the General Commission on Religion and Race for an interactive approach to looking at our own experiences, and connecting those to the world around us. This context will include individual, small group, and plenary interaction for a hands-on experience. We will discuss the intersections of Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Classism, that together create positions of privilege and oppression in our society and church. This plenary will start the discussion of how to address all these issues with our movement and church to bring lasting change. Erin Hawkins has been the General Secretary of the General Commission on Religion and Race (United Methodist Church) since September, 2007. She joined the staff as an Associate General Secretary in 2001, serving as a staff representative and resource consultant to the Southeastern Jurisdiction, Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR), the Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century Initiative and other ministries serving the denomination’s black constituency. She is a Harry Hosier Life Member of BMCR.
Are You Registered? We are very exited to report that over 450 people have registered for Justice & Joy! at the YMCA of the Rockies. Here are some important details about joining us in the mountains. Registration is still open. The key deadline to keep in mind is August 2. The YMCA of the Rockies opens up our housing block to others on that date. You can still obtain housing, but it is not guaranteed. To register, visit http://www.rmnetwork.org/convo2009.asp. Click “Register” at the top of the page. 4 | Katalyst • Summer 2009
Erin was previously a legislative assistant to U.S. Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald from California. She has a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of California at Riverside and two Masters degrees, one in public affairs from Indiana University and one in organizational development from United Methodist-related American University in Washington. The Rev. Barbara Isaacs is the Associate General Secretary of the General Commission on Religion and Race (United Methodist Church) with primary responsibility for Education, Institutional Development, White Constituency AntiRacism Concerns and GCORR’s work and relationships in the Northeastern Jurisdiction. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Barbara was ordained an Elder in 1977 and is a member of the Northern Illinois Conference. She received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Theological Studies and the Graduate Certificate in Gender Studies from Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, in 2002. In her thirty-plus years of pastoral experience, Barbara has been a pastor of rural, urban and suburban local churches; a chaplain; and a staff person at educational institutions and general agencies. For more information, visit http://www.rmnetwork.org/convo2009.asp
Justice and Joy! Workshops A. Transforming Our Congregations A.1. Rethinking Church: New Models of Missional Church for the New Methodists A.2. Are We Relevant? Can the Progressive Church Have Political Influence A.3. The Church and Global AIDS A.4. Evangelism for Reconciling United Methodists A.5. Teaching Children About Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity A.6. JUST Worship B. Equipping for Social Change B.1. Building An Inclusive Church Community B.2. Bringing People Together to Make Change Happen B.3. Ordination and Social Change B.4. Organizing for Change in Your Annual Conference B.5. Media Savvy in a Soundbite World B.6. Overcoming Discrimination Through the Lens of Paolo Freire C. Engaging Intersections: Toward Wholeness C.1. Transcending Gender (Introduction) C.2. Toward a Gender-Positive World (Advanced) C.3. Creating Communities of Listeners in Different Regions of the World C.4. Black Queer Theology C.5. Can People of Privilege Be Prophetic? Moving from Apology to Action C.6. Sacred Worth: Integrating Our Sexuality and Faith D. Arts & Storytelling D.1. Getting Our History Out of Our Closets D.2. Think Like a Filmmaker: Using all the Senses to Strengthen your Worship D.3. Conversations with a Reconciling Bishop D.4. That’s So Gay! The Bible and United Methodist Hymnal D.5. “Incompatible With Christian Teaching” Film Screening and Discussion
A Special Focus By Sue Laurie: That’s So Gay! The Bible and United Methodist Hymnal God’s call for inclusion of all people comes in the words of the Gospel. Of course the Bible and the UM Hymnal are sources of inspiration to many people in following this call. However, their message is muted when forced through a heterosexualprivileged lens. This workshop will explore some favorite texts and hymns–ones that give me renewed spirit as a lesbian Christian on the journey toward a Reconciling UMC. Sometimes it is a word such as “rainbow” or “home”, other times it may be the theology of Advent or Shalom that causes me to say, “This hymn was written for gay people!” Come to sing and to enjoy! Camp song: We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord (x2) and we pray that all unity may one day be restored. R We will work with each other, we will work side by side (x2) And we’ll guard human dignity and save human pride. R Refrain: And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love; Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.
Workshop Registration If you’ve already registered, send us your two workshop choices at convo@ rmnetwork.org or login and add them to your registration account. 1. Visit http://www.rmnetwork.org/convo2009.asp and click “Register”. 2. Above the email box, click link “Already Registered?” 3. Enter the email address and password you used to register for Convo and click the “Continue” button. [If you have forgotten your password, enter your email address and click the link “Forgot your password”. Follow the instructions and obtain your password from your email account. Return to Step 1.] 4. Find your name and click on the “Personal Information” link under Edit. 5. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and under the title “Workshop Preregistration”, select your two workshops. 6. Click the “Continue” button. 7. At the bottom of the page, click the “Finalize” button. 8. At the bottom of the page, click the “Update My Registration” button. When you see the words, “Your registration is complete”, you are done!
“What Bible story holds you to the Christian faith?”
“Can you listen again with LGBT ears?”
Summer 2009 • Katalyst | 5
“Transitions” Continued from Page 1
mourn with California over marriage equality decisions; Desert Southwest claimed their prophetic voice by affirming their stand as a Reconciling Annual Conference. At first, transitions can seem frightening and sad. California’s passage of Proposition 8 was a clear legal defeat and a loss to our brothers and sisters, but here in Chicago a series of marches and rallies indicate a renewed movement energy for national marriage equality. As of this writing, with the question of Amendment 1 (All means ALL) before us, a MAJORITY of United Methodists in the United States voted for an inclusion that has NO EXCEPTIONS. In the midst of this season of change, we have many things to look forward to. Believe Out Loud – our upcoming campaign – will fertilize our grassroots by offering the support and skills for building Annual Conference Teams (ACTs), who will then go out and connect with United Methodists across their conference. Reconciling is growing at a rate we have rarely ever seen – almost every week another church declares their fully inclusive ministry – and convocation registrations are pouring in! Beginning to recognize RMN’s leadership, The United Methodist Church is moving towards welcoming all persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities. In the last year, Desert Southwest Annual Conferences and the Western Jurisdiction declared themselves reconciling; the General Board of Church and Society has initiated the creation of curriculum which will obey the Resolution passed by General Conference “Opposition to Homophobia and Heterosexism.” In many ways our United Methodist family and our structure are taking steps toward the call of God to a welcome which reflects the love of Jesus Christ for all persons.
When All Really Means All By Rev. Troy Plummer When All Means All, we won’t vote on the worth of human beings or the legality of their marriages in the church or the world.
Even against a We grew stronger strong disinforas we expanded mation campaign trainings from 22 from opponents, to 35 annual conthe annual conferferences and grew ence gatherings of from one trainer United Methodists to seven trainers in the U.S. edged for All Means All. a simple majorNow, we plan to Believe Out Loud Training in Boston ity for a stronger launch 50 Believe statement on Out Loud traininclusiveness in an almost evenly ings in September with 14 trainers split UMC. This is the largest nato continue growing the movementtional poll we’ve had for inclusion in -this time at an even deeper grassThe United Methodist Church at a roots level. We welcome new leadgrassroots level. It shows progress ers, LA McRae, Toyomi Yoshida, even against the usual backdrop of Gloria Soliz, Jim Robey, Michelle hate language and tactics. Is this Blue, Ruben Herrera, Derrick Spiva, the tipping point time? Rachel Harvey and Carl Davis. Building relationships through organizing makes a difference. In the annual conferences where the All Means All teams actively engaged fellow United Methodists, we did better. It is good discipleship to witness to our faith and hope for an
Each regional gathering of Reconciling United Methodists reveals miracles. The stories of passion and hope along with deep faithful commitment to justice inspire, motivate, challenge, and heal. When a survey of Protestant clergy shows that that Continued on Page 7
Annual Conference Amendment 1 Votes Top reported “yes” votes per Jurisdiction for Amendment 1, All Means All. Northeastern
New England (87%)
Central Texas (77%)
N. Illinois (75%)
Desert Southwest (94%)
17 Annual Conferences meet the required 2/3rds vote.
Of Note: Rio Grande 79%.
ACTS: Annual Conference Teams
ACT organizers ran out of “ALL Means ALL” buttons in West Virginia and Florida. Both conferences garnered over 40% in the voting for Amendment 1 raising the awareness for inclusion.
Here are a few highlights: MIND, the ACT of New York Annual Conference, negotiated a plenary time and then featured 8 Reconcilers of varying ages, races, genders, and family roles to advance the understanding of full inclusion. We celebrate the many inclusive candidates who were ordained.
6 | Katalyst • Summer 2009
inclusive church. Some of our folks, who thought they were alone in conservative areas, are now finding out that they are not alone!
ACTS 4:31b And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.
“Gifts In Memory of...”
“Gifts In Honor of...”
Gifts In Memory of…
In Honor of…
Faith Buss, Marilyne Dahl, PRN Steering Committee, Carolyn Pennington,
Joshua Arrowood & Tiffany Steinwert, J. Randy Beggs, Laura Butler, Sarah Megan Howery, Lynn Shirley, James Smith, David Story
Glenn Alan Campbell
Doris & William Campbell
Helen Andrew, Anonymous, Mary Ann Appel, Andy & Marilyn Belcher, Kevin & Lawanda Potter, Faith Buss, Cathy Cheleen-Mosqueda, Kathryn & Robert Clark, Daniel & Valerie Taylor Close, Vera Lea Follmer, Larry Fox, Joe & Kimberly Giansante, Rosalie Hulbert, Kevin Keeley & Eileen McNutt, Phyllis Dee Lewis, Bishop Calvin & Velma McConnell, Judith Newman, Kelly Oatman, PRN Steering Committee, Carolyn Pennington, Carol Waymack
John & Jack
Elsa & John Bengel
David and Alex Braden
Julie Bruno & Sue Laurie
John & Maggie Carr
Ann & David Thompson Cook
Samuel Paul Stapleton
Rev. Gay King Crede
Kevin Fanning & Rosalie Rippey
Will J. Green
Joanne & Phil Gillis
Richard Lee Burns
Walter L. Helms, Jr.
J. Timothy Reynolds
Mary Jo Ruggles
Anne Broyles & Larry Peacock
Bishop Melvin Wheatley
Betty & Paul Beeman, Donald & Gay Bossart, Mary Damonte, Lonnie Johnsont, Chrystal & Kenneth Neal, Olive & Roger Robison, Nancy Grissom Self, Linda Strem
Samuel Paul Stapleton
Sue Laurie’s Retirement
Randall Miller, Jr.
Betty & Bob Dorr
Sue an d Julie a in the Reconc re collecting iling M k and sto oveme eepsakes of S ries to n ue’s tim t N . Chicag e o, IL 6 ew Hope UM Please send p 0 C hotos 6 org wit (7115 W h “Sue 31) or email . Hoo to Memor y” in th Audrey@rm d Ave., ne e subje ct line. twork.
Old West Church
Michael Alexander, Joshua Arrowood & Tiffany Steinwert, Richard Bentley, Laurie Hays Coffman, Jayson Kerr Dobney, Betty & Bob Dorr, Darren Hochstedler, Luna Han, Shireen McSpadden, Wade Meyer, Robyn Morrison, Will Rogers, Jane Schlager, Michael Schlager, Amy Stapleton, Vicki Woods
Ella Pritchard Curry
“When All Really Means All” continued from Page 6
between 62% and 93% support protections and inclusiveness, but only 7% have expressed their convictions publically, it is time we help each other Believe Out Loud. When a similar survey shows that both persons in the pews and persons in the pulpits are ready to move forward but that each is waiting on the other to say something, it is time to Believe Out Loud. One of these 50 trainings may be very near to you! We hope you will plan to attend and even help organize these events building grassroots growth and helping each other to be BOLD (Believe Out Loud Disciples) deepening our faith in Christ who calls us into this great adventure. Don’t miss the launch at Justice and Joy RMN’s 25th anniversary celebration this Labor Day Weekend in the Rocky Mountains!
Troy Plummer & Walter Treash
Samuel Paul Stapleton
Betty & Bob Dorr
Samuel Paul Stapleton
Tony L. Reynolds
J. Timothy Reynolds
Mary Todd, Jim Robey
Ann & Ernie Turney
Bill & Joy Watts
Richard Lee Burns
Henry Lee Heather Waymack
Nancy Grissom Self
Summer 2009 • Katalyst | 7
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About Katalyst A quarterly publication of RMN, this Katalyst and other editions are available online at www.rmnetwork.org/katalyst.asp. Hardcopies of the most recent editions can be ordered at: Reconciling Ministries Network 3801 North Keeler Avenue Chicago, IL 60641-3007 Phone 773.736.5526 Fax 773.736.5475 Email firstname.lastname@example.org For semi-monthly updates on movement happenings, sign up for the Flashnet! eNewsletter at www.rmnetwork.org/Flashnet.asp. RMN is a non-profit corporation with 501 (c)(3) status. All financial contributions are tax deductable to the fullest extent of the law.