2013 December Katalyst

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Reconciling Ministries Network tri-annual magazine

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<ul><li><p>r e c o n c i l i n g m i n i s t r i e s n e t w o r k d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 3</p><p>katalyst</p><p> preparing room for Messiah</p><p>50+ pastors co-officiate a same-sex wed</p></li><li><p>*images from Frank Schaefer trial</p><p>CONTENTS 3. And all flesh shall see it togetherRachel Harvey</p><p>4. The glory of the Lord: justice made fleshMatt Berryman</p><p>6. Valleys exalted, mountains made lowRMN regional organizers</p><p>8. How beautiful the feet of those who bring Biblical Obedience!Joe Openshaw and Bobby Prince</p><p>10. Her glory shall be seenRev. Vicki Flippin</p><p>12.Good tidings of great joy to all peoplenew Reconciling communities</p><p>*Cover: 50+ pastors co-officiate a same-sex wedding in Eastern Pennsylvania in solidarity with Rev. Frank Schaefer who was put on trial for officiating his sons wedding. </p><p>katalysta publication ofReconciling Ministries Network</p><p>EDITORRev. Andy Oliver - andy@rmnetwork.org</p><p>RMN STAFFMatt Berryman, executive directorRachel Harvey, Deaconess, program directorDavid Braden, director of developmentMeg Carey, business managerDr. Ted Jackson, office and database managerRev. Andy Oliver, director of communicationsRev. Izzy Alvaran, WJ regional organizerRobyn Henderson-Espinoza, NCJ regional organizerHelen Ryde, NEJ regional organizerRev. Laura Rossbert, director &amp; SEJ regional organizerLaura Young, SCJ regional organizerDoug Clement, program internTC Cassidy, SCJ organizer internRev. Cherri Holdridge, Ohio field coordinatorRolly Loomis, Central Conference coordinatorDebra Peevey, IWR process coach trainer</p><p>2 | katalyst</p></li><li><p> And all flesh shall see it together </p><p>by Rachel Harvey, Deaconess | program director</p><p>I grew up on a lot of teams. From elementary through high school, I played a sport in every season often double-dipping school and church leagues sprinkled with choir, band, and eight years in an evangelical Milli Vanilli style puppet troupe. </p><p>voices and whole bodied singing. I still remember the way the song and sound was transformed by the new voices around me. It was a beautiful moment. </p><p>In the past four years from my second chair position at RMN Ive witnessed many beautiful moments. Moments where our voices, large and small, known and new, rose up together to join the long line of the movements call for justice. We rose to speak truth to power, build relationships across theological divides, comfort our community, and enflesh acts of solidarityand still we rise. </p><p>As an organizer, I am daily inspired by the stories of faithful Reconciling United Methodists living and loving through acts of Biblical Obedience. Most of these arent considered front page news-worthy, but isnt that what Advent is all about? Preparing to make room for new hope to be born from a seemingly lowly place and people, for new voices to rise up in unexpected places and for a new awareness to take shape that forces us to take a new path forward? Whether you feel like youre a lone voice crying out </p><p>in the wilderness or lost in the choir know that youre not alone. God calls each of us to take part in the great company of heaven and earth, proclaiming the Good News that a child is born, love is stronger than fear and God journeys with us. Join me, take your part, and lets co-create a world of love, peace, and justice for all people together!</p><p>. . .</p><p>Rachel Harvey is a United Methodist Deaconess appointed to serve RMN as program director. </p><p>While I dreaded the individualized competition of the batters box, starting block, and solos, I loved being part of something bigger than myself. Ive never held a first chair position musically (in choir I was seated on the floor while the risers were reserved for our strongest singers) but I never cared. I was happy to be a part of making something beautiful. </p><p>One of my favorite Advent memories comes from high school choir. Each fall as we peeled open battered sheet music, Mr. Eck, our choir director, shared the Lebanon High School (LHS) tradition of ending the winter concert singing selections from Handels Messiah by making space for anyone who wanted to join in. We spent a significant amount of time practicing our collective and seemingly divergent parts. When the time came, Mr. Eck turned around and invited all LHS alumni to the stage to help sing our final selections from Messiah. I was skeptical but people of all ages held mini-reunions in the aisles as they flowed forward to join our ranks. My former spot on the margin was filled by former riser members who rounded out our sound in their full </p><p>www.rmnetwork.org | 3</p></li><li><p>And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. This is the prophetic announcement of Advent set to music in Handels magnum opus, Messiah. Much like Isaiah, Handels musical herald is confident, declaratory, and strong. The cascading vocal parts are woven finally into one single garland of praise at the conclusion of the chorus leaving the listener consoled, convicted, and challenged. The music incarnates the glory of Gods reign of justice announced by the prophet and delivered in a barn in Bethlehem.</p><p>It was Justice that crept in beside us, took on our flesh, and was born among us in Christ. It was Justice that brought good news to the poor, proclaimed release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind; that let the oppressed go free, proclaiming the year of the Lords favor. It was Justice that was silenced and killed, that overcame evil, injustice, and oppression and rose to new life. </p><p>Let it be to me, according to your Word said one prominent disciple whose yes gave birth to Justice in the flesh. Like Mary, we must be willing to speak truth to power and </p><p>IN ACCORDANCE WITH </p><p>BIBLICAL OBEDIENCE, </p><p>RMN WILL CONTINUE TO </p><p>DEFY THE UNJUST AND </p><p>DISCRIMINATORY POLICIES </p><p>IN THE BOOK OF DISCIPLINE.</p><p>The g</p><p>lory </p><p>of th</p><p>e Lord</p><p>: ju</p><p>stice </p><p>made</p><p> flesh</p><p>AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHALL BE REVEALED, AND ALL FLESH SHALL SEE IT TOGETHER: FOR THE MOUTH OF THE LORD HATH SPOKEN IT. </p><p>THUS SAITH THE LORD OF HOSTS; YET ONCE, A L IT TLE WHILE AND I WILL SHAKE THE HEAVENS, AND THE EARTH, THE SEA, AND THE DRY LAND; AND I WILL SHAKE ALL NATIONS, AND THE DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS SHALL COME.</p><p>by </p><p>Mat</p><p>t B</p><p>erry</p><p>man</p><p> | ex</p><p>ecut</p><p>ive </p><p>dire</p><p>ctor</p><p>4 | katalyst</p></li><li><p>Frank Schaefer tells reporters that he refuses to renounce offering ministry to all persons. </p><p>Frank Schaefer serves communion to gathered witnesses following his trial.</p><p>foundation already established by them and many others, RMN will intensify our work and presence in the South Central and Southeastern jurisdictionsregions of challenge and opportunity. By placing new organizers in strategic groupings of Annual Conferences in the South, we want to deepen our impact so that more and more individuals and communities may know the year of the Lords favor.</p><p>In accordance with Biblical Obedience, RMN will continue to defy the unjust and discriminatory policies in the Book of Discipline. Anything less than full inclusion of LGBTQ persons is shot through with sin, runs counter to the gospel of Christ, and perpetuates a lie. Therefore, we will bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind; we will let the oppressed go free and we will proclaim the year of the Lords favor. Further, we will continue organizing with boldness and prophetic urgency to provide the ministries of the church to LGBTQ persons. Come what may, we will bring Justice to bear with joy, with courage, and with assurance, knowing that God has already settled this matter. </p><p>For same-sex couples called to the vocation of Christian marriage, we will implement tactics designed to create opportunities for such celebrations by organizing Reconciling clergy around the country to perform their weddings. In addition, RMN will work to empower LGBTQ clergy to claim their ordination with courage and authenticity. Moreover, we will organize to speak and act truthfully for the sake of LGBTQ persons called to ordained ministry so that they may obey the call of God. </p><p>Moving forward, we will strategically engage active and retired bishops, United Methodist seminaries, United Methodist theologians, and campus ministries to grace-filled resistance. The movement for inclusion will grow from strength to strength for the well-being of all that is.</p><p>The advent of justice is upon us. The time is now. Therefore, let us unite together in bold acts and prophetic words so that the glory of the Lord will be revealed and ALL flesh will see it together.</p><p>. . .Matt Berryman has served as executive </p><p>director for RMN since April 2013.</p><p>act with courage for the sake of all who continue to wait and watch for the coming of Justice. </p><p>Reconciling Ministries Network is committed to the birth of justice through words and acts of Biblical Obedience for the sake of our movement, church, and world. Together, we will bring more and more United Methodist individuals and communities into the network through the strong grassroots Reconciling work of our five jurisdictional organizers, so that those who have yet to experience the fullness of justice in The United Methodist Church may know the glory of the Lord. Building on the strong </p><p>www.rmnetwork.org | 5</p></li><li><p>In July 2012, the Western Jurisdictional Conference affirmed that Gods grace and love is available to all persons and asserted that The UMC is in error on its stance on sexual orientation. The conferences of the Jurisdiction were invited to operate as if the incompatible statement in 161F does not exist. </p><p> Reconciling congregations in the Sacramento, CA area took this to heart and have agreed to jointly adopt a declaration of inclusion affirming that their churches will deny neither their services nor facilities to anyone because of sexual orientation: We must unshackle ourselves from rules reflecting the cultures where same sex marriages are forbidden. We can no longer, in good conscience, deny use of our property to our members and friends at the precious time of marriage requiring them to go somewhere else other than a United Methodist Church to receive ministry. </p><p>This is a courageous step rooted in Biblical Obedience. These churches (St. Marks UMC, Fair Oaks UMC, and Elk Grove UMC) are inviting other United Methodist congregations to join with them by doing the same with the challenge that it is time that the voice of the laity be heard in the current debate on full inclusion of the LGBTQI community in our denomination. They envision 50 churches joining them by Spring 2014.</p><p>Rev. Izzy Alvaran - RMN Western Regional Organizer - izzy@rmnetwork.org</p><p>Valleys exalted, mountains made low </p><p>Radical feminist theologian Mary Daly said that the bible was irredeemably patriarchal and could not ever serve as a tool for liberation. I ask a similar question: is the church irredeemably homophobic? Can the community of faithful witnesses who are seeking to live out their faith become something other than an irredeemably homophobic community? I think they can, and the call to live out Biblical Obedience is one such way that we can come together across radical differences and become the community that creates a place for those wishing to journey in The United Methodist </p><p>Church. North United Methodist Church in Indiana members attended an event with Bishop Gene Robinson which motivated them to be a welcoming presence for the upcoming process coach training, scheduled for April 4-5, 2014. As a community of faithful followers, we are not irredeemably homophobic. We are seeking to become radically hospitable by following the call to live into Biblical Obedience, and we answer this call collectively as faithful witnesses to the gospel, whose overwhelming message is to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and give shelter to your neighbor. Let us find tangible ways to be inspired by our communities to be a radically welcomed presence in the face of great difficulty and challenge.</p><p>Robyn Henderson-Espinoza - RMN North Central Regional Organizer - robyn@rmnetwork.org</p><p>The people who once walked in darkness have now seen a great light. For there is born a child who will drive out the night. - Isaiah 9:2 </p><p>Darkness comes in many forms, one of which is isolation. As we prepare for the birth of Christ, the SCJ is also preparing for new light the kind of light that lifts communities out of isolation. New light is dawning in each of our thirteen conferences. One example is an intentional movement across the nine districts of </p><p>the Texas Conference. Breaking the Silence (BTS), the Texas leadership team, recently offered an educational event led by a panel of folks who currently host area LGBT support groups. In order to bridge the many miles across the conference, and following the model used by the BTS board for monthly meetings, the panel was physically present in Houston while another group gathered 4 hours north and participated in real time via Skype conference on a large screen. Folks in both locations heard the presentation, engaged in Q &amp; A, discussed the needs of their setting, and began to dream about plans by district. Things are happening. Existing groups are mentoring new groups and the light is growing. It is my hope that at least one leader from each district will be present at the March 28th-29th Process Coach training. Light! Light overcoming the darkness of isolation and paving the way for love, justice, and joy. </p><p>Laura Young - RMN South Central Regional Organizer - laura@rmnetwork.org</p><p>BE TRAINED TO CHANGE THE UMC!FEB 7-8, 2014 TULSA, OKLAHOMA</p><p>FEB 21-22, 2014 - CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA</p><p>FEB 28-MAR 1, 2014 ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI</p><p>MAR 7-8, 2014 NEW YORK CONFERENCE</p><p>MAR 14-15 NORTHERN ILLINOIS CONFERENCE</p><p>MAR 28-29, 2014 HOUSTON, TEXAS</p><p>APR 4-5, 2014 INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA</p><p>APR 4-5, 2014 NEW ENGLAND CONFERENCE</p><p>SPRING 2014: EASTERN PA, FLA, &amp; ROCKY MTN</p><p>WWW.RMNETWORK.ORG/COACH</p><p>6 | katalyst</p></li><li><p>Valleys exalted, mountains made low </p><p>Radical feminist theologian Mary Daly said that the bible was irredeemably patriarchal and could not ever serve as a tool for liberation. I ask a similar question: is the church irredeemably homophobic? Can the community of faithful witnesses who are seeking to live out their faith become something other than an irredeemably homophobic community? I think they can, and the call to live out Biblical Obedience is one such way that we can come together across radical differences and become the community that creates a place for those wishing to journey in The United Methodist </p><p>Church. North United Methodist Church in Indiana members attended an event with Bishop Gene Robinson which motivated them to be a welcoming presence for the upcoming process coach training, scheduled for April 4-5, 2014. As a community of faithful followers, we are not irredeemably homophobic. We are seeking to become radically hospitable by following the call to live into Biblical Obedience, and we answer this call collectively as faithful witnesses to the gospel, whose overwhelming message is to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and give shelter to your neighbor. Let us find ta...</p></li></ul>