Thank you thank you to all the folks who helped to make the church grounds – inside and out – more beautiful this past Levi Sunday! God graced us with a beautiful day. And two weeks in a row the church hosted beautiful concerts. So much wonderful talent in so many ways!!!!!
And guess what? The HOPEFEST Website is up and running and WonDerFuL! Check it out: www.hopefestnh.org. YAHOO! (thanks Rudy!)
I also wanted you to know that since the May newsletter has been mailed there have been questions about why a vote will be taken to be a Reconciling Church, why church members are being asked to comment, and what it would mean. Here is the explanation:
In the United Methodist Book of Discipline (the “rule book” for the world wide denomination), in the late 60’s were added the words, “Homosexuality is incompatible with the Christian religion.” With this addition, the LGB community became the only group discriminated against in the Discipline which is why UM churches all over the world have spoken up about removing these words. A Reconciling United Methodist Church declares that it does not believe that part of the Discipline, realizing that everyone is a child of God, wanting LGB folks to know that they are safe, siblings in Christ, and will not be judged in that particular UMC. As pastor, based on the current language of the discipline, it would be within my rights to deny membership at MUMC to an LGB person.
The book of Discipline has the capability to be changed every 4 years at General Conference (which is happening next month in Oregon). If it was just the USA, most believe the discriminatory words would be removed. In much of the African continent for example, it is legal to kill LGB people. This large area has an equally large number of voting delegates to General Conference who, along with conservative churches elsewhere, oppose removing them.
It is perfectly legal in the denomination for individual churches to be Reconciling. There are many of them in the world including NH and New England and throughout the USA (there is a list of Reconciling churches in New England in the office if you want one). Although having to uphold the Discipline, the New England Bishop has publicly said that he supports LGB and supports having the words removed from the Discipline at General Conference. MUMC’s District Superintendent and other District Superintendents within this Conference have said the same.
At the upcoming Administrative Council meeting on May 18 the group will be looking at the comments MUMC members have made concerning becoming a Reconciling congregation, praying, and discerning the will of the church to publicly say (or not) that MUMC is a safe place for the LGB community and for all of God’s children.
I hope that’s helpful!
I’ve been loving the warm days – not so much the cold nights. I want to put my tomatoes in the ground soon!!
Rev. Casey Collins