Edmonds United Methodist Church sent out an announcement Tuesday that its church council voted unanimously earlier this summer to become a Reconciling Congregation. “The congregation has committed itself to be a place of worship that accepts and affirms all members and guests who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ), and has become part of the Reconciling Ministries Network,” the church said.
Here’s more from the church news release:
The road to reconciliation wasn’t always smooth. It began more than a decade ago during a Sunday sermon when a church staff member spoke openly of being gay. It was a difficult moment in the congregation’s history; many applauded the bravery, while others left the church entirely.
It wasn’t an auspicious start on the congregation’s journey. Over the years, the minds and hearts of the congregation shifted. “This move to become a ‘Reconciling Congregation’ is just a public announcement of what we have striven for over the last 10 years,” said Kurt Schaurmann, long-time Edmonds UMC member. “I am proud that our congregation’s leadership has chosen to embrace Jesus’s two great commandments- to Love God and to Love our neighbor. To be a disciple today can be daunting but we have welcomed into our family ALL those who claim these two commands.”
EUMC has been the church home to individuals, couples, and families of LGBTQ backgrounds for years. However, during the Reconciling process, the church has welcomed new members who had previously been turned away from their communities of faith. EUMC members believe that making its welcome known to all is acting out the teachings of Jesus, and new LGBTQ members and guests have felt the out-pouring of love. “Knowing that I am accepted for who I am, and where I am on my faith journey; without judgment or question, but unending support and encouragement from my church community is the true sense of belonging,” remarked Tammy Stacey.
Rev. Dr. Kathlyn James, Edmonds UMC’s Senior Pastor, is a participant in the Altar for All registry for clergy who will officiate same-sex marriages. Lay leaders and congregational members who are supportive of same-sex marriages are also listed in the registry.