Becoming Informed & Creating Constructive Dialogue
Missouri Conference – Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN)
The UMC General Conference of 2016 provides an opportunity for significant change in church policy and practice since 1972 when delegates passed a motion stating, “…we do not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.” On May 18, 2015, the Connectional Table approved a legislative proposal that removes prohibitive language and would become policy following a General Conference vote in 2016. (see link below). Until that time, local church pastors and laity are encouraged to have this conversation as our denomination wrestles with what it means to be truly open to all.
To familiarize yourself with what our “Book of Discipline” says about homosexuality and the Church, click on the link below:
Meet with your pastor and/or church leader(s) and discuss this issue to get a sense of where people stand in terms of traditional or progressive theology. This is helpful as you proceed in the Reconciling process. Have one-on-one conversations with other church members and over time you’ll discover others who share your passion and are willing to team up with you to start the conversation in your church.
Facilitate a study that explains differing views on the issue to get the conversation started. A good resource is “Homosexuality: United Methodists at the Crossroads” from The Thoughtful Christian link below.
Show the award-winning documentary, “for the BIBLE tells me so,” which profiles five Christian families and how they handle the realization of having a gay child. Follow up the viewing with a discussion using materials available from Northaven UMC.
To order a DVD separately: http://www.forthebibletellsmeso.org/index2.htm
Discussion materials: http://www.thisiknowstudy.org/
Lead a book study that delves into biblical interpretation.
- Adam Hamilton, “Making Sense of the Bible” (chapter on homosexuality)
- David P. Gushee, “Changing Our Mind”
To find out more about Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), visit the RMN web site. RMN mobilizes United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our Church and world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love.
Eight Principles of Holy Conferencing to assist with conversations.
1) Every person is a child of God.
2) Listen before speaking.
3) Strive to understand from another’s point of view.
4) Strive to reflect accurately the views of others.
5) Disagree without being disagreeable.
6) Speak about issues; do not defame people.
7) Pray, in silence or aloud, before decisions.
8) Let prayer interrupt your busyness.
Contact a MO Conference RMN process coach who can help lead you through the process.