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Justice & Joy! by Sue Laurie For we are what God has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. Ephesians 2:10 One year has passed since the General Conference. Wow. We have not been resting in recovery during these last twelve months. Actually, it is rather amazing how focused and productive we have been! As athletes train and become “physically fit”, their performances in events improve and their recovery time diminishes. It is not long until they are ready to go again. Reconciling United Methodists have become veterans of General Conference; we are better prepared, less surprised by the experience, and so more resilient to the challenges. We are “spiritually fit”; our recovery time is shortened. Now, upon the shoulders of faithful disciples and previous seasons of Reconciling, we can see wider horizons of God’s love. Thanks be to God for a larger vision.

SPRING, 2009

Mission: Mobilizing United Methodists tered in the full inclusion of God’s With a sense of humor and strong children. Reconciling Ministries Jewish faith, Beth Zemsky a longNetwork is committed to making distime “professional” lesbian and past ciples of Jesus Christ for the transco-chair of The Lesbian and Gay formation of the world by living out Task Force board was exactly the the Gospel’s teaching of justice and right choice to facilitate RMN’s strainclusion. tegic planning process. With prayer MISSION: CORE VALUES: and creativity, the Reconciling Ministries Network board engaged both mobilizes United Methodists of Spiritually Grounding all of our challenges and all sexual orientations and our work in the jusour celebrations. In gender identities to transform tice imperative of brief, you can see our Church and world into the the gospel, respectsome of our work full expression of Christ’s ing diverse aphere. inclusive love. proaches to scripThe full text is at ture, and using inclusive language (for both people and includes the mission, vision, and God) in all of our work. history, strategic directions, guiding • Reconciliation through just, principles, organizing criteria, and peaceful relationships which lovsix strategic directions. We continue ingly transform animosity into to clarify a specific implementation love. plan for each strategic directive. VISION: Reconciling Ministries Network envisions a renewed and vibrant Wesleyan movement that is biblically and theologically cen-

Overcoming Oppression by focusing upon heterosexism, homophobia, sexism, racism & Continued on Page 6

This vision is not to be welcomed in just a few congregations in big cities that LGBT people have migrated to ~ it is for us to walk into any United Methodist Church anywhere and be welcomed. It is for inclusion in the small town where I was born and the church where I was baptized. This vision is not only for United Methodist Churches in the United States, it is for our siblings around the world ~ together we stand on Continued on Page 3

Spring 2009 • Katalyst | 1

Asbury UMC, A Place for All People The RMN board of directors had tion and leadership all would say, their winter meeting at Asbury “Of course!” UMC in Phoenix, Arizona and can Reconciling Statement: now personally testify to the warm hospitality and mission outreach ...As a congregation we promise to offered by this congregation. As you follow and serve Christ, in union would expect at a church whose paswith the church which has been tor is co-creator of LTQ (see below), opened to all people. In Christ, God there is a long was reconcilbook table in ing the world the sanctuary to God’s inviting both self (II Cor questions and 5:19). Havthoughtfulness ing been thus as spiritual reconciled to formation. A God through vital, growing Christ, we church, Asbury have become offers vibrant [a ministry of worship experireconciliation]. ences in the We invite RMN Board Jazzes It Up At Asbury! round, utilizing others to join multimedia, a variety of musical us in our spiritual journey and in styles and an intellectually honest our efforts to work for a more just presentation of the faith. A Reconcil- and caring society.”--from Asbury’s ing Congregation since 1996, their Reconciling Statement of March 23, loving inclusion of LGBT people is 1996 just one part of an amazing array of Their website is www.aplaceforallministry and discipleship. If asked How great is that!? whether this meant full participa-

Living the Questions (LTQ) This curriculum has been used by many reconciling congregations with enthusiastic reviews. The authors of “Living The Questions” (LTQ) are two United Methodist pastors. Rev. Jeff Procter-Murphy and Rev. Dave Felten serve diverse congregations in and near Phoenix, AZ. Their idea of a program to help people wrestle with basic questions (those often avoided by the Christianity they grew up with) has grown into LTQ. According to LTQ: “People know that at its core, Christianity has something good to offer humanity. What is needed is a safe environment where people have permission to ask the questions they’ve always wanted to ask but have been afraid to voice for fear of being thought a heretic.” For more information visit

New Reconciling Communities Communities: The College Ministry (Sunday School) of Wesley Memorial UMC, Huntsville, TX

Upstate New York Reconciling Ministries Network Congregations:

Holston Reconcilers

The Open Table of Christ UMC, Warwick and Providence, RI

Kansas Reconciling UMs (KRUM)

Epworth UMC, Minneapolis, MN

2 | Katalyst • Spring 2009

RECONCILING MINISTRIES NETWORK 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. Diane Nunnelee Rev. John Oda Elizabeth Okayama Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto Rosario Quiñones Rev. 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 Antony Hebblethwaite Communication/Technology Manager Sarah Howery Admin & Donor Relations Associate Audrey Krumbach, M.Div. Field Organizer Susan Laurie, M.Div. Outreach Coordinator Candie ODell Seminary Intern Rev. Troy Plummer Executive Director

“Justice & Joy!” Continued from Page 1

our Methodist understandings of theology, connection, and social action. This vision is not to survive a lukewarm welcome myself, allowing slights to “roll off my back” ~ it is for a place where I invite friends with confidence that they will receive authentic welcome. This vision is grounded by the sacraments of baptism and the open communion table of United Methodist tradition. It is not, however, to be welcome only on the receiving side of the table. It is to baptize and to consecrate that bread and cup as ordained pastors. This vision is to take up the mission of the UMC ~ to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. It is to enter the hard places with the good news of God’s love: hierarchial places, geographic places or places that say they are “welcome enough”. I have seen the letter seeking to alarm people about RMN’s All Means All campaign ~ it called our efforts a “trojan horse” that will spread the gay agenda ~ as if we have been trying to sneak in with our outspoken and direct claims on the Gospel and UM tradition. As if rainbow stoles are discreet! I watched an anti-gay YouTube video offered by a United Methodist leader. Our successes cause our

adversaries to try to tear down our ministry. Well, tearing down is easy. Ask any 6 year old who has built a tower of blocks, then suffers the glee of a toddler sibling who just knocks them down. Building up is our calling. We expect to thrive, not survive in our United Methodist Church. I invite you to Justice and Joy, where Holy Spirit moments will visit all who venture to the Rockies with us. Celebrate our All Means All campaign ~ a confident and ambitious mission trip ably led by Rev. Tiffany Steinwert, Laura Rossbert, Laura Young, Sean Delmore and RMN staff. The witnesses within Annual Conferences have already brought success.

Yearning for Surprise By Rev. Troy Plummer When some of our best words (Dialogue, Unity, Holy Conferencing) have been used to describe processes that delay justice for LGBT folks, it is with caution and care that new efforts begin again. Keeping the church’s commitment made in negotiations at General Conference in Fort Worth, the first table of advocates and bishops gathered on March 9, 2009 in Chicago. Twelve reconciling disciples met with five bishops (Arichea, Carcaño, Dyck, Lowrey, and Weaver). Early frustration occurred with the

I believe even the trojan horse comment may help us ~ it teaches their own audience that “ALL” does necessarily include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. I am excited that the word “ALL” is no longer code for “all heterosexuals”. The RMN board members and staff have been very active. As you read the new mission and vision statements, you will feel the shift in our relationship with the UMC. We are leading the church within its own mission. As Paul said in Ephesians, we are created for good works!

Ten of the Twelve Reconciling Disciples

recognition that we were missing our Southeastern Jurisdiction (Pennel) and African (Machado) bishops. And still as we honor years of dialogue resulting in “Can We Talk?” from GCCUIC, and education (Church Studies Homosexuality, mandated study by General Conference 2000), and innumerable “balanced” panels, we yearn for the Holy Spirit to break in and surprise us with a new way to move forward as church together. We name the brokenness of our procedures at General Conference and have common cause to transform this brokenness to wholeness. We have not found that new way yet. We will meet again. After diligent planning and research, we will yearn for surprise. The surprise that is already on its way because the Holy Spirit has already confirmed God’s desire for a fully inclusive United Methodist Church.

MN Packs CTW House With 95

Spring 2009 • Katalyst | 3

Justice and Joy! Workshops The Convo Team is working hard on an exciting slate of workshops for Justice & Joy. Workshop pre-registration will start in early June. You will be able to log into your registration account and pre-register for workshops at that time. Here are two upcoming workshop descriptions. To register for Convo, visit

Rethinking Church By Rev. Dr. Elaine A. Heath

Are We Relevant? By Rev. Roland Springfellow

Many United Methodists are longing for a simpler, more communal experience of church, one that is less about programs and buildings and more about disciplined spiritual practices and missional presence in the world. This workshop will present a vision for distinctly Wesleyan community that is emerging, missional, monastic and Methodist.

What is the agenda of a more progressively minded church and can it present a compelling case so that the American people and their elected leaders will listen? Topics include: What is the progressive Christian Church and is it possible to agree on a central message? The conservative Christian agenda-What lessons can we learn from the past? Spiritual vs. secular.



The Rev. Dr. Elaine A. Heath is the McCreless Assistant Professor of Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology, the director of the Center for the Advanced Study and Practice of Evangelism at Southern Methodist University, and is an Elder in the East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church. In local church ministry, her special area of interest is leadership development leading to congregational health and evangelistic vitality, and the development of new monastic faith communities. Dr. Heath has provided retreat and seminar leadership in spiritual formation and leadership development for clergy for many years. Among her research interests are the new monasticism, the emerging church, spirituality and evangelism, and gender and evangelism.

The Rev. Roland Stringfellow is Coordinator of the Coalition of Welcoming Congregations in the Bay Area of California with the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Sexuality (CLGS) on the campus of Pacific School of Religion. Stringfellow earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education and a Master of Science degree in counseling from Indiana University. He later earned a Master of Arts degree in ministry from Grace Theological Seminary and in 1990 became a licensed minister in the Baptist Church.

Dr. Heath holds a B.A. degree from Oakland University, an M.Div. from Ashland Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Duquesne University. Her publications include: Naked Faith: Mysticism and Mission in the Theology of Phoebe Palmer, Princeton Theological Monograph Series (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2009); The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008); and Longing for Spring: A New Vision for Wesleyan Community, co-authored with Scott Kisker, (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2009). Dr. Heath is co-founder and pastor of The People of New Day, a new monastic community in the United Methodist tradition in Dallas, Texas. She and her husband Randall Bell live in Garland, Texas and are the parents of two adult daughters. Favorite activities include hiking, camping, bicycling, canoeing, sailing, flea markets, music and watching movies. 4 | Katalyst • Spring 2009

In 2005 Roland was ordained with the Metropolitan Community Church and in 2006 he earned his M. Div. degree from the Pacific School of Religion with a certificate in Religion and Sexuality. He has worked as a pastor in Indiana and California. In addition to all his work within church contexts, Roland also worked in the field education in a variety of capacities–teacher, guidance counselor, college advisor, and vice-principal. In his current position, Rev. Stringfellow is working to create dialogues on the topic of LGBT equality with church congregations and in religious institutions in northern California. He played an active leadership role in the campaign against the state of California’s Proposition 8 in November 2008, speaking to and organizing support within religious communities and communities of color.

Key Convo Deadlines •

The next registration deadline is July 24. Save $30.00 by registering now.

The guaranteed lodging deadline is August 2.

Spring 2009 • Katalyst | 5

Called To Witness Field Report

“Mission: Mobilizing United Methodists,” Continued from Page1

By Audrey Krumbach I was not at all surprised when an Iowa court affirmed the constitutional protection of gay-marriage. As I traveled the South Central Jurisdiction these last three months, I experienced this Middle American hospitality. I ate barbeque with gay couples in Houston, Texas; visited a GLBT Sunday school in Salina, Kansas; and met leaders of gender support groups in Oklahoma and far-west Nebraska. I heard stories of parents who cried with joy when their son met Mr. Right and listened to tales of the gentle mother who reprimanded another parent for homophobia. She explained, “how inappropriate for any parent to remove their child from a high school basketball team just because another student had the courage to come out!” Did you know that Called to Witness surpassed their training goals? The original goal was to train 750 people.

economic injustice. •

Integrating Sexuality with Spirituality: by supporting the development of healthy, loving expressions of sexuality and spirituality for everyone.

Relationships of hospitality which bridge across theological divides and foster interconnected communities.

Systems Change by enacting policy change and creating long term solutions in our church and society.

Stewardship through responsible use of all the resources God is providing for our work.

Organizational Authenticity and excellence in all we do with an abiding openness to new growth and further education.

The campaign trained over 1017 people!

Reconciling Ministries Network has six strategic directions that challenge us to always ask ourselves the question that we ask The United Methodist Church, “Does your all mean all?” and to take concrete action towards a fully inclusive church like the Convocation leadership for Justice and Joy 2009. See two of those directions below. Sending the 70 Nashville CTW Organizers

New Resource: All God’s Children Burrill, Melany, All God’s Children: Teaching Children About Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, [Fort Wayne, IN: LifeQuest, 2009; 20 pp., ISBN 1-893270-48-0]. All God’s Children is an essential guide to open and caring conversations with young children about gender and sexual orientation. You’ll find that this small, user-friendly book addresses your concerns, your questions, and your search for just the right words; it also suggests ideas for sermons and classroom activities. As you read, you’ll learn to model openness, respect, and the affirming belief that everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender difference, is a beloved child of God. Anyone who has a loving relationship with young children—parents, family, friends, pastors, Sunday School teachers—will benefit from reading and discussing All God’s Children. All God’s Children is available at Reconciling Ministries Network for $7 plus shipping and handling. You may purchase this resource at or by calling (773) 736-5526. Bulk orders of 10 or more are $4.50 per book. 6 | Katalyst • Spring 2009

STRATEGIC DIRECTION 2: Model God’s diverse creation through the full participation of persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the Reconciling Movement, including diverse leadership development with intentional emphasis upon the full inclusion of LGBT persons, young adults, and people of color. STRATEGIC DIRECTION 3: Live out the connectionalism of a world-wide church with the clergy, laity, and LGBT groups of the Central Conferences through communication and relationship building, identifying both unique needs and common causes.

Bishop Melvin Wheatley “Lucile and I never went through the agony that most PFLAG parents went through. We knew immediately that if John was gay, the stereotypes must be false...We wouldn’t feel comfortable being anywhere John wouldn’t be welcome.” Bishop Melvin Wheatley

The Reconciling Movement remembers the life and work of Bishop Melvin Wheatley who died at the age of 93. A memorial service was held March 22 at Westwood United Methodist Church in Los Angeles. Wheatley served this church for 18 years before his election as bishop In addition to his wife, Lucile, and son, James, of Kauai, Hawaii, he is also survived by another son, Paul, of Valley Center, California.

“Gifts In Honor of...” In Honor of…

Honored by…

All of my friends who have been who Sarah Wingo they are regardless if the church accepted them. Any Gay or Lesbian

Kay Moss

Asbury UMC, Phoenix

Joy Watts

Becky B. & Cynthia G.

Rev. Harold D. Burkhardt

Rev. William & Sylvia Bouton

Allison Bookhout & Bruce Von Holtz

Rev. Annie Britton

Rev. Rebecca Clark

Cheryl, Kandis & Will

The Swing Family

Betty Dorr

Milton E. Davison

Lisa Elkins

Cristy Elkins

Andrea Hartman

The DeRidder Family

Melissa Irish

Irene Bullock

Tommy MacFarland & Daniel Nash

Rev. Thomas & Denise MacFarland

Nancy V. Nevins

Joyce Gorsuch

Rev. Troy Plummer & Walter Treash

Jerome Stemnock

Adrianne, Dean & Will Prentiss

Mary Ann Cleary & Saundra Dunn

Rives Priddy

Viola Turner

Troy and Staff (also partners)

Mimi Herring Ciarletta

Leland Spencer

Joy Watts

Veronica Villarreal

Irene Bullock

“Gifts In Memory of...” In Memory of…

Remembered by…

Donna Burkert

Kristan Burkert

Wesley Buss

Joy Watts

Gary Noel Pennington

John & Betsy Callahan, Pat & Ronnie Egger, Earl & Gwendolyn Kimball, Deborah Maria, Metanoia Peace Community, Joy Watts

Bishop Melvin Wheatley

Bishop Jesse & Annamary De Witt, Anne Farrell, Julie Fischer, Dr. Sally Brown Geis, Rev. W. Lea Harding, Bonnie & Creede Hinshaw, Bishop Robert Hoshibata, Art & Lesley Ann Green Huffaker, Mary Ellen Kilsby, John & Linda Lewis, Deborah Maria, B. Rhodes Martin, Bishop Calvin & Velma Mc Connell, Rev. Sharon Mc Cormick, Norma Taylor Mitchell, Gregory Nelson, Charlotte Newhart, Eleanor & William Porter, Jeanne Audrey Powers, Clifford & Margaret Strem, Bishop Melvin & Marilyn Talbert, Joy Watts

Neil & Brian Winkel

John & Karen Winkel

Bishop Wheatley was the first voice to stand apart from the Council of Bishops in solidarity with lesbian and gay United Methodists. Bishop Wheatley spoke at the first national convocation of Reconciling Congregations in 1987 on “Lesbian/Gay Issues in the United Methodist Church: Past and Future.” If you would like to read Bishop Melvin Wheatley’s 1978 declaration before the Council of Bishops and other news items, please visit http://

Spring 2009 • Katalyst | 7

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About Katalyst A quarterly publication of RMN, this Katalyst and other editions are available online at 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 For semi-monthly updates on movement happenings, sign up for the Flashnet! eNewsletter at RMN is a non-profit corporation with 501 (c)(3) status. All financial contributions are tax deductable to the fullest extent of the law.

2009 Spring Katalyst  

Reconciling Ministries Network's quarterly publication.

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