By now you have probably heard that Monday evening Trinity UMC voted to become a Reconciling Congregation recognized by the Reconciling Ministries Network. The final vote was 52 to 3 in favor of the affiliation. That represents 94.5% of the total vote.
Trinity is now one of nine Reconciling Congregations in the North Texas Conference. There are also numerous Reconciling Communities in our conference, representing a variety of Sunday school classes, campus ministries, UMWs, and other smaller groups.
What does it mean to be Reconciling? There isn’t a church out there who doesn’t say that they welcome everyone. Persons in the LGBTQ community know, however, that more often than not, they are not included in this blanket welcome. Reconciling Congregations and Communities have made a public statement that their welcome truly includes everyone, especially members of the LGBTQ community. When we say all are welcome, we truly mean all!
That means that all aspects of church life are open to LGBTQ persons— full participation, membership, and leadership. Moreover, Reconciling Congregations and Communities will advocate for full inclusion at the local, regional, and denominational levels.
Earlier this week I talked to a gay United Methodist from another congregation. She grew up feeling excluded from her church and thinking that there was something fundamentally wrong with her. For awhile she tried another denomination, until a supportive UM pastor invited her to her church. There she found acceptance and self-worth.
Trinity UMC has now come out publicly to offer a fully embracive welcome to LGBTQ individuals and families. This inclusiveness extends to gender, race, ethnicity, and class. There are people throughout this community who long to feel that they are truly welcome.
As your new pastor, I cannot tell you just how proud I am of this congregation! I have already bragged about you to numerous other clergy, including our district superintendant. This action also makes me feel even more welcome and accepted into this congregation. I am so blessed to have been appointed to Trinity UMC!
This is a new day for Trinity UMC and for The United Methodist Church! Praise be to God!