What is a United Methodist Church?

United Methodism is like other Christian denominations in the belief of “Faith in God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

“Open hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors” are descriptors of today’s United Methodist Church (http://www.umc.org). Diversity is an integral part of the United Methodist Church because our members come from many ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. Our opinions and our interpretations of scripture are also diverse. As members of the United Methodist Church we seek acceptance and love in our diversities and through our faith.

Our church is aware of the need for the extension of this acceptance and love for the entire world. We believe in caring for the sick, feeding the hungry and clothing the needy as exemplified by Jesus. Here at Linworth UMC our beliefs are summarized as:

  • God loves and forgives everyone. Lives are changed through God’s love and grace.
  • The Bible gives inspiration and guidance for relationship building as well as spiritual development.
  • Jesus, God’s Son, is the example for how we should live.
  • Jesus Christ sends us into the world to love and serve others.
  • Life, now and forever, is offered to every person who believes in Jesus Christ.
  • For more information on the United Methodist Church locally please visit: http://www.westohioumc.org and http://capitolareanorth.org/
What is Reconciling Ministries Network?

Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) is a network of United Methodist and other Christian individuals, communities (organizations other than congregations, such as Sunday School classes and UMW circles), and congregations who are LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer)-affirming and committed to full inclusion in the United Methodist Church. RMN works for full equality in membership, ordination, and marriage for God’s LGBTQ children.
For more information on RMN’s programs, members, and history, go to
www.rmnetwork.org.

What is a Reconciling Congregation?

A reconciling congregation is one that embraces and works for the full participation of all people in the United Methodist Church, including full equality in membership, ordination, and marriage for God’s LGBTQ children. Reconciling congregations make a public declaration welcoming all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, to participate fully in its congregational life, and they work for change within the denomination for full inclusiveness and equal rights and privileges for all.

How does a church become part of the reconciling network?

After a period of exploration, including prayer and reflection about concerns of
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons and their relationship to the church, a local church makes a public statement welcoming all persons to participate fully in its congregational life. The statement is adopted at an all church conference.

How many reconciling churches are there in the United Methodist Church?

There are now over 1,100 reconciling churches throughout the United Methodist Church and that number is growing by the week. This includes over a dozen reconciling United Methodist Churches in the greater Columbus area.

For an up-to-date count, please visit rmnnetwork.org.

Weren't we already a welcoming congregation?

While individual churches can be known to be very warm and welcoming and have had and currently have openly LGBTQ members, there is a difference in formally and publicly affirming full inclusion for LGBTQ persons. Studies have shown that the overwhelming perception within the LGBTQ community today is that they are  not welcome in churches, in many cases because they have faced blatant discrimination within the church. Youth and young adults overwhelmingly see Christianity as anti-gay and want no part of a religion that (in their perception) focuses more on hate than love, on rigid rules rather than liberation. Being a reconciling congregation indicates to non-heterosexual people that they are welcome.

By specifically calling out that we are openly welcoming LGBTQ individuals, aren't we putting one group above others?

The intention of a reconciling church is first and foremost about inclusion of ALL people. No person or group is more important than another. However, it is
necessary for churches to be specific and intentional about naming this issue
because Christian denominations including the United Methodist Church have been historically exclusionary of LGBTQ individuals. Even now, the only group explicitly excluded from basic rights including marriage and ordination by the Book of Discipline are “homosexuals.” Therefore, it is expected that people in the LGBTQ community will assume that they are either not welcome, or at best, second class citizens in United Methodist Churches. It is vital that churches are explicit in their welcoming of LGBTQ individuals.

Does the reconciling program put a local church in violation of the Book of Discipline?

No. Making a statement of inclusion, in fact, supports the Book of Discipline which calls for the inclusion of all persons who are viewed as individuals of sacred worth.