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An RMN Message From Doug Lacy-Roberts

Upholding the Principles of Being a Reconciling Church & Removing
Bias Thoughts and Discriminatory Actions from Our Lives

By Doug Lacy-Roberts

On Saturday, March 4, 2023, Rev., Dr. Izzy Alvaran, in conjunction with the Pacific
to Coast United Methodist Church District, provided two hours of training on
reconciling ministries and on being a reconciling church. Dr. Alvaran is a leader of
the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), which FUMCO is a member of. I
enjoyed the training and found it to be meaningful and very worthwhile.
The most important lesson I learned from Dr. Alvaran’s presentation is you can’t
be an effective reconciling church, minister or individual, if you don’t diligently
work to eliminate discriminatory actions and biased thoughts in all areas of your
life. Principally, how can a church or individual justify being unbiased and non-
discriminatory in some areas of their life, when they are biased and discriminatory
in other areas of their life. This is hypocritical and goes against what Jesus and
the Bible teaches us!! Jesus stressed the importance of being non-discriminatory
and unbiased in all areas and aspects of our lives and being humble and treating
others with dignity and respect. These themes are consistent throughout all four
Gospels of the Bible.

Dr. Alvaran stated that for us to effectuate positive change in the world, we must
strive to eliminate all discrimination and bias from our actions, thoughts, and
beliefs. He further stated that if we are unbiased and non-discriminatory in some
areas of our lives, but not in others, others will uncover these inconsistencies and
hold us accountable for our bias and discriminatory beliefs and actions.
I applaud our church for being a reconciling church. Reconciling churches
embrace and are committed to achieving LGBTQ+ justice and full inclusion in the
life and leadership of The United Methodist Church, both in policy and in practice.
FUMCO became a Reconciling Church through the Reconciling Ministries Network
(RMN) in May 2017 with an affirmative vote of 87% of the FUMCO congregation
(members and active participants). Approximately 400 individuals (congregants)
voted in favor of becoming a Reconciling Church.

The process of becoming a Reconciling Church took approximately eighteen
months, starting in November 2015 and concluding with the vote in May 2017. As
with any strong resolution passed by a church, some of FUMCO’s members
decided to leave. However, significantly less than ten percent of FUMCO’s
members and active participants left the church because of the vote.
I believe our church (FUMCO) identifies strongly with the following statement
taken from the RMN website and this statement is fundamental and foundation
to our church’s beliefs.

“We celebrate God’s gift of diversity and value the wholeness made possible in
community equally shared and shepherded by all. We welcome and affirm people
of every gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, who are also
of every age, race, ethnicity, physical and mental ability, level of education, and
family structure, and of every economic, immigration, marital, and social status,
and so much more. We acknowledge that we live in a world of profound social,
economic, and political inequities. As followers of Jesus, we commit ourselves to
the pursuit of justice and pledge to stand in solidarity with all who are
marginalized and oppressed.”

Lastly, I draw your attention to FUMCO’S Welcoming Statement which reads,
“First United Methodist Church of Olympia welcomes people of all ages, all
abilities, all sexual orientations and gender identities, all nationalities and
ethnicities, the poor and the rich, single people, and the many forms of family.”
We are a diverse community who welcome all into the church. I believe this is
just what Jesus would want us to do. Let’s be proud of our Reconciling Church
designation and do our best to uphold its principles.

Reconciling Ministries Network Website:

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