We are a Reconciling Congregation, part of the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN).
What is the Reconciling Ministries Network?
The Reconciling Ministries Network is a national grassroots organization working to change the United Methodist Church’s exclusionary policies against LGBTQ people as written in the United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline. It also works with people and congregations to understand and prevent the pain caused within the church by such policies.
In acknowledgment of the harm caused to the LGBTQ+ community and desiring to bring about the Kingdom of God that Jesus taught, our faith community has adopted the following statement of inclusion:
“We, the people of San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church, believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is unconditionally accepting and actively loving of all people regardless of race, ethnicity, age, economic status, faith history, physical and mental ability, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We welcome and embrace all, including those who have been excluded from the house of God. Our hearts, our minds and our doors are open to all who want to share the love of Jesus Christ in our community and our world.”
What is a Reconciling Congregation?
A Reconciling Congregation celebrates human diversity and recognizes that all people are the beloved children of God and are of sacred worth. It welcomes the contribution each person makes to the Body of Christ.
A Reconciling Congregation is one that publicly welcomes all people into full participation of church life, including those who have known the pain of exclusion and discrimination, specifically and intentionally welcoming gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) people.
The concept of Reconciling Congregations evolved after changes were made in 1972 to the United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline, specifically “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” (Paragraph 304.3). Based on this statement, later additions to the Book of Discipline prohibited ordination of LGBTQ people and restricted marriage services offered to them by the church.
The Book of Discipline cannot be changed by an individual, a congregation, or an Annual Conference; it can only be changed by the General Conference, which meets once every four years. Hence a Reconciling Congregation joins others in an effort to change the exclusionary language in the Book of Discipline to ensure full participation of LGBTQ. A Reconciling Congregation adds its voice to other voices in a network of like-minded individual, congregations, and Annual Conferences. The Reconciling Ministries Network is such an organization.