“Welcome, friend.”
“Welcome to this ever-growing family.”
“Welcome to the great cloud of reconciling churches.”

News that Sewickley United Methodist Church had been accepted into the national Reconciling Ministries Network of LGBTQ inclusive Methodist communities drew nearly 400 “likes” and positive responses from across the country when it was posted on the RMN Facebook page in early June.

SUMC was accepted in the same week as churches from St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Wilmington, DE, and Shoreline, WA.

Facebook encouragement came from people in California, Florida, Louisiana, Virginia, Minnesota, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

“Thank you for embracing (the truth that) loving all means ALL.”

SUMC is now listed on RMN’s registry of more than 1,000 inclusive faith communities, and the RMN rainbow emblem is now prominent on the SUMC website and Facebook page. We can use the emblem on SUMC signs, publications and advertisements.

The RMN vision statement says, “As committed disciples of Jesus Christ, we strive to transform ourselves and the world by living out the Gospel’s teachings of grace, love, justice, and celebration of all of God’s children.”

The organization’s mission statement vows “Reconciling Ministries Network equips and mobilizes United Methodists to resist evil, injustice, and oppression as we seek justice for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.”

The SUMC application came after more than a year of Bible studies and informational events, a visit from RMN executive director Jan Lawrence in March, and a formal vote to apply for RMN recognition by administrative council later in March.

The foundation for RMN recognition was provided by Jack Moffett and Mike Pedee and the Marketing Committee, Susie Moffett and Mitchell Hortert and the Witness Committee, Rev. Marilyn Evans and Pastor Russel Shuluga in support of the ministry of Jesus and the writers of the Gospel.

The SUMC welcoming statement, which required approval from RMN, states that “We celebrate human diversity and all persons as children of God. Our church adamantly and enthusiastically welcomes persons of all ages, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations (the entire LGBTQ community), family configuration, economic conditions, marital status, and mental or physical abilities to attend, join, and participate fully in the life of our congregation.”