Reconciling Congregation

The Reconciling Ministry Team is committed to resisting oppression in all its forms.  This is a ministry that is evolving as we recognize the harm that has been visited upon marginalized communities. We seek ways to become credible and active witnesses for peace, equity and justice.

This work began in 2005 when the leadership of First Church voted to work towards increasing hospitality to all based on the denominations’ motto “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors.”  A primary goal was to have the congregation consider joining the nationwide Reconciling Ministries Network. This is a worldwide advocacy group organized to end the United Methodist Church’s limits on the full inclusion of those from the LGBTQIA+ community.

The congregation began a 2-year study that included Bible study, panel discussion, small group dialog, and more.  This led to an all-congregation vote to issue a Reconciling Statement and become a part of the Reconciling Network, a decision based on 90% approval from those attending the meeting.

Throughout the process, we asked the question “If we do this, so what?”  The conclusion from the beginning was that voting to welcome all people, including those from the  LGBTQIA+ community, was only the beginning.

The work continues as we recognize our complicity is systemic racism, recognize and condemn white supremacy as sin, and seek a deep knowing of what God calls us to do. We make these vows so that every person, especially Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, can live in safety, health and freedom.

Learn more about our upcoming event: The Big Deal Weekend at FUMC Kalamazoo from March 18-20, 2022