The United Methodist Church is in the news these days.
We are not in the news for the ways we reach into places where typhoons decimate and poverty gnarls, though we could be.
We are not in the news for the ways we have fought for justice through a conviction that we are called to “be in ministry for and with all persons” (Para. 161F, Book of Discipline), though we long to be.
Instead we are in the news for the ways our church polity trumps gospel imperative.
At Richfield United Methodist Church we have sought to listen deeply to the heart of the Holy. In our discernment we have turned to scripture, tradition, reason and experience to lead us to the recognition that we cannot collude with the barricading of grace. We desire to welcome all families into a transformational relationship with Jesus the Christ. We want to provide a church community through which people are held and known as they move ever deeper into communion with a God who welcomes and sustains love in all its manifestations.
Jesus welcomed all to the table of grace. We believe we are called to do the same; in fact, we feel powerfully blessed to be able to do the same.
Our conversations, prayers and deep listening prompted us to adopt the statement shared below*.
We pray that through this United Methodist Church the wildly inclusive love of God in Christ will be proclaimed, lived, shared and celebrated by all.
We would like for that to be good news of great joy.
How else would we live the gospel of Jesus?
RICHFIELD UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Commitment to Marriage Equality
As a church in the Methodist tradition since 1854, Richfield United Methodist Church’s ministries are grounded in Jesus’ call to love both God and neighbor. We acknowledge that we have often failed to extend the radical hospitality that God asks of us, even as we continually strive to do so.
In 2007—seeking to open our hearts, minds, and doors—we publicly welcomed lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families into full participation in the life and ministries of the congregation, and we continue to do so today.
We recognize that when two people come together to form a primary committed relationship, they often ask the church to bless their wedding. With due consideration, the church responds by celebrating, in the presence of their families and friends, the work of God’s Spirit in their lives.
We lament that in our time, so many courts, legislatures, and religious institutions still deny same-gender and transgender couples equal access to marriage and all the blessings, rights, and responsibilities thereof.
We rejoice that at this point in history, the arc of justice now bends toward equal recognition of marriage for all couples.
Today we afﬁrm that God’s grace is open to all, and we witness to that grace through our commitment to justice and equality in our congregation, the state of Minnesota, the United Methodist Church, and the world. We will honor and celebrate the wedding of any couple, licensed in Minnesota, who seek to commit their lives to one another in marriage.
Approved by the Administrative Board of Richfield UMC
Signed on September 17, 2013 by
Sue Restemayer, Ad Board Chair, Nick Dewey, Trustees Chair, David Couillard, Lay Leader, and Rev. Elizabeth Macaulay, Pastor
*We are grateful for the work of Dumbarton UMC. Our statement is patterned after theirs.