Following the worship service on July 21, Pastor Stephanie led a session of Questions and Answers about the United Methodist Church. Many good questions came from that session. One person expressed concern about what the general church might do to churches who are reconciling. Another person wanted to know what reconciling even means, and others had opinions on whether or not Mountain View UMC become a reconciling congregation. Some wondered if this was the intent of the Inclusivity Team. Others wondered if we become reconciling if that is all we will talk about.
A few answers to those questions were offered.
1. This is a continuing dialogue for Mountain View.
2. The Inclusivity Team was chartered to address controversy locally and in the larger UMC community surrounding gender identity and the role and status of LGBTQ individuals in the church through the framework of the Wesley Quadrilateral.
3. The Inclusivity Team offered many opportunities for study and discussion. This information is all available on the church website: mtview.org/inclusivity
4. The Inclusivity Team worked with an independent consultant to moderate crafting a welcoming statement. This is there end goal. The second part of this creation was postponed until after the arrival of the new pastor. A meeting to finish this statement has been set for August 25. The meeting is to create the statement and form next steps.
5. One of the new steps might be to become a Reconciling Church. This is not necessarily the next step, but was mentioned at the July 21 question session.
6. A Reconciling Congregation commits to full inclusion of all people in the UMC. Reconciling Ministry has five core principles: spiritual grounding, reconciliation, naming privilege and ending oppression, integrating sexuality with spirituality, relationships, systems change, stewardship, organizational authenticity, and a commitment to intersectional justice. https://rmnetwork.org/who-we-are/mission/
7. Churches the join RMN create a welcoming statement and agree to support LGBTQ people. They also agree to support other groups of marginalized people.
8. Churches who are reconciling discuss many things in church and sermons are about a wide variety of topics.
9. There is not a penalty the general church can place on Mountain View or the pastor. All disciplinary actions come from the Mountain Sky Conference led by Bishop Karen Oliveto. The conference has many reconciling congregations and there are no sanctions.
Mountain View has done a thorough job of discussion LGBTQ inclusion, and will be drafting a welcoming statement on August 25. At that meeting we will finish the statement and continue the dialogue. All questions will be welcomed.