The future of the reconciling ministries network
It’s a Saturday afternoon and I’m spending it at a meeting in the basement of First United Methodist Church of Tacoma. It’s not just any meeting. It’s a gathering of the Reconciling Ministries Network [read more on the RMN here] leaders of our Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Methodist Church.
I’m the youngest person by far at 32. I’m also the only person of color. Around the table are men and women: some straight, some gay but all with a deep desire to see the church move forward on this issue of full inclusion of homosexuals in the United Methodist Church. They come with flyers and articles and news to share, reports about what’s happening in their local congregations, strides and setbacks.
It’s a few weeks after General Conference 2012, the United Methodist Church’s global gathering of the United Methodist Church’s leaders, and the emotions and hurts are still raw. Around the table I hear sadness and lament, I hear joy because now they feel more empowered and I hear calls to action. I hear deep, deep hurt caused by a hypocrisy by a church that says, “open hearts, open minds, open doors” but with clauses and exceptions.
The people sitting around the table with me are full of energy, they are full of love, they are full of hope. But they are tired. I can see it in their faces and hear it in their voices. Yet here they are. Here we are, talking about ecclesiastic obedience to the Gospel. How do we proclaim love in the full living of our lives? A call that those who serve the church have responded.
As I gaze on the faces of these men and women–80% of whom are in their mid-60s, I wonder who will be next in line. Who will lead? Who will sit at their feet and learn so that this conversation might be carried forward? When will my brothers and sisters of color join in this movement?
If you’re reading this, answer.