CHUMC is proud to be a member of the Reconciling Ministry Network. All are welcome!
What That Means Here at CHUMC. . .
In 1999 a dialogue began within this congregation about the meaning of Christian community within the church – particularly in relation to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons. After six years of research, discussion, witness, and prayer, that dialogue culminated with a “Day of Consensus” on May 21, 2005.
On this day CHUMC declared itself in solidarity with GLBT persons and decided to affiliate with the Reconciling Ministry Network
, a group of United Methodist Churches across the country that affirms and supports the right of GLBT persons:
“We have declared our belief that being a Reconciling Congregation is how God has called us to be the church in this place. We have affirmed our desire to be known as a safe space in which all people—including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) persons—are welcomed and supported in their faith journey.”
“We have declared our disagreement with the United Methodist Church’s policies that prohibit ordination of GLBT persons and the claim that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”
“Therefore, in response to Paul’s exhortation in his second letter to the Corinthians (2 Cor 5:18-20), let us boldly claim that as Christ Jesus reconciled himself to us so that we might know God, so we too do here today respond with a resounding YES to Christ’s charge that we become a ministry of reconciliation, which includes full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons, so that we might be a light unto the Lord.”
Leading up to the Day of Consensus, our congregation participated in an extended period of discussion, study and prayer. An eight-week Bible study, Claiming the Promise, was offered and four panel discussions that included pastors and lay persons from Reconciling Congregations in the Baltimore-Washington area were held.
This six-year journey was incredible for our congregation with many opportunities like an eight-week Bible study, Claiming the Promise, was offered and four panel discussions that included pastors and lay persons from Reconciling Congregations in the Baltimore-Washington area were held. We learned a lot as we shared our personal stories, cried together, laughed with one another, and we held each other up. We don’t all agree, however, and there are those among us who mourn this decision. But even as we recognize our disagreements and wonder at how long the journey took, we know that the journey toward this decision was every bit as important as the final decision.
Same Sex Marriage
Today, as a member of nationwide network of over 270 reconciling United Methodist churches, CHUMC’s journey continues as it seeks to live out its reconciling identity in response to issues of marriage equality.
In April 2010, following the D.C. City Council’s vote to legalize same sex marriage in the District of Columbia, the church embarked on another process of discernment over the issue of same sex marriage. Discussions proceeded within the church about the differences between the legal, contractual institution of marriage as facilitated by the courts and the sacred, covenantal relationship between a couple and God as witnessed by the church.
The discussion within CHUMC recognizes that marriage has become the latest feature in the ongoing debate over the civil rights of GLBT persons. Despite tremendous certainty and conviction pulled down on both sides of the marriage debate, how much do people really know and understand about the history of marriage as a social institution? How much has marriage been a topic of study within churches themselves? What does the Bible say about marriage?
In search of answers to these questions, and as the start of further discernment on CHUMC’s response to same sex marriage, we began on a study of marriage with a Sunday sermon and Monday lecture and discussion.
*Audio recordings of the Monday Night Marriage Seminars and Sermons are available here
The next steps for CHUMC involve a discussion of what was learned through this series of sermons and lectures, and through research, review of scripture, and prayerful inquiry, in anticipation of a decision of whether and how, in disobedience of United Methodist doctrine, the church will proceed as witness to the sacred exchange of marriage vows between same sex couples.
We will also continue to seek out other ways to be a light unto the Lord as we tell our community, both local and global, that are our congregation is truly living out the open arms of Jesus Christ, as reflected in the stained glass window that marks the front of our church.
Baltimore/Washington Area Reconciling United Methodists
CHUMC is also involved with the B-WARM Network, the Baltimore/Washington Area Reconciling United Methodists. B-WARM works to encourage dialogue and education about LGBT issues, increase the number of reconciling congregations, and stand in solidarity with all who have been excluded or marginalized by the Church. Members come from United Methodist churches from across the Baltimore-Washington Conference. Some of us are members of reconciling congregations; many of us are not. We are LGBT and straight people. (Wording adapted from the B-WARM website
If you are interested in getting involved with CHUMC’s Reconciling Ministry, please don’t hesitate to contact Pastor Alisa (firstname.lastname@example.org
or 202-546-1000, x222).