Next Steps after Our Vote to Become a Reconciling Congregation
It’s been a little more than two weeks since our vote to join the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN). Those two weeks have been action-packed, with Easter and so much more. However that doesn’t mean that nothing’s happened since the vote.
The committee that has been called the Considering Reconciling Committee (CRC) began work almost immediately on filling out the paperwork for RMN to join. One part of the paperwork is to write an inclusion statement that we will use on our website and other publications. The committee is meeting on Monday April 29 at 6:00 pm to review the drafts that have been developed so far. Hopefully, the leading draft will be shared later that evening with the Core Leaders who meet at 7:00. Once those two groups have had a chance to approve a draft, it will be published in the e-news for the congregation to read and review. We want to make sure that this statement accurately represents what the majority of the congregation voted to do and that the process of moving forward is transparent so everyone is aware of what’s happening and able to provide input as they are called to do so.
Once the paperwork is filled out, and the membership is official then the real work begins. As we have said many times, there is no one way that we must proceed with living into our decision to become Reconciling. However, there are a few steps that are predictable. We will need to continue to educate ourselves about how we can live out the welcome we have voted to extend. We may decide we need to host some events intended to help with that education process. A new banner or sign may be designed for the narthex that includes the new inclusion statement. There may be advocacy activities that some people from our congregation wish to engage in with other Reconciling Congregations in the area. One possibility might be that a group from Aldersgate could participate with the other United Methodist Churches who march in one of the Pride parades in the area. Another possibility would be that we may have a group who wish to become more involved in the Pacific Northwest or Western Jurisdiction proceedings that have begun to both resist from within and birth something new as a result of the exclusive language and punishments that General Conference 2019 adopted in February. None of these suggestions are set in stone. However they are possibilities that you may want to know about. If you are interested in any or all of them, or if you have other ideas, your voice is needed at this time.
The CRC has been designing a discernment and decision-making process. Some people who have been on CRC will continue to be leaders in the next steps. However new voices and new leaders are also needed as we move forward and the work of living as Reconciling starts to become part of the way we go about our normal activities. Please continue to pray for our church as we take our next steps down this road. Pray about how you can be part of the process of moving us forward in love with great joy, acceptance, inclusion, and respect.
Finally, if you are not feeling called to this ministry, rest assured that there are many other ways that you can be part of the congregation at Aldersgate as well. You and your interests and strengths are valued and important to us as you are, for the sake of the coming of the reign of God and because you are a beloved child of God. Not everyone will take leadership roles in all things and that is good and how it should be. Not everyone will even agree on all things, which is also good and how it should be. We are the body of Christ together, in our diversity. When we say we welcome all, we mean all.