Archive for October, 2013

Churchquake ~ A Month Late, But Still Important

Posted in Uncategorized on October 14, 2013 by scottsteaux63

I have been meaning to post about Churchquake, the Reconciling Ministries Network Convocation that John and I went to over the Labor Day weekend, ever since we returned.  Unfortunately I’ve been sick, first with a sinus infection and bronchitis combined, and now with colitis that apparently was caused by the antibiotics I took last month (the wonders of modern medicine).

The Reconciling Ministries Network is a group of congregations within the United Methodist Church that is working towards full inclusion of LGBT persons in the life of the Church.  The United Methodist Book of Discipline, while it does call homosexual persons “persons of sacred worth,” also says that the “practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”  This is what we in the RMN are working to change.  The church I attend, and where my husband works, became the first Reconciling Congregation in what is now the Upper New York Annual Conference (formerly the Wyoming Conference, don’t ask me why lol).  That was more than thirty years ago.

I have only been to one previous convocation, back in 2005.  They are held every two years.  2007 and 2009 were too far to travel, I did go in 2011 but went down sick the second morning and missed almost all of it, so when Churchquake came along and we discovered it was to be held in Chevy Chase, MD, a little over five hours’ drive away, we jumped at the chance.

How to describe a church convocation…worship service every morning (lots of music and of course we both joined the choir), workshops and focus groups on different issues which one may attend or not as one chooses, Bible studies (on this occasion led by the great Peterson Toscano, a performance artist whose theology has a distinct LGBTQ twist and whose Bible studies were provoking, energizing, and exhilarating), and on one day a series of trips to the local sights of one’s choice:  we chose the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and it was a deeply moving and sobering experience; our only regret was that the visit was only two hours long, because one really needs a couple of days to do justice to that museum.

The final event of the last day was the worship service, with a brief but fiery sermon and music that left us literally soaring out of there on eagle’s wings.

I will take a great deal away from that weekend, but the one thing I will remember the most is the love.  There were some familiar faces there, and more that we probably had met before but did not remember, and naturally some we did not know at all, but I cannot describe the feeling of love for everyone there that I experienced.  Perhaps it was partly being in a Safe Zone.  But I think it was more close to this:  for those few days we were very nearly the Beloved Community that Jesus spoke of so often.  A disparate gathering of souls, committed to one idea:  that in God’s kingdom no one is unwelcome.

Amen and Amen.