Reconciling Statement

We affirm the full participation in all aspects of our church life of all who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, regardless of their race, color, physical challenge, sexual orientation and/or affectional orientation.

Union's Full Statement as a Reconciling and Inclusive Church

Adopted by unanimous resolution of the Union Church Council, February 15, 2000

1. Union United Methodist Church is a predominantly African-American congregation within the church universal, The Body of Christ. We aspire to follow Jesus, who welcomed, received and stood with the oppressed, the disinherited and scorned persons of his day. He did likewise in relation to persons with physical challenges and those born of an ethnic, racial, or cultural parentage different from his. His was a walk of compassion showing who was included around "the welcome table of the Lord" on earth. That same walk of the Compassionate Jesus sustains the conviction expressed in a Negro Spiritual: "There's plenty good room, plenty good room in ma Father's Kingdom, plenty good room, plenty good room - just choose your seat and sit down".

2. We therefore welcome in Christian hospitality all persons as fellow human beings whom we recognize as having been created in the image of God and are offered God's grace and love. We affirm that all persons irrespective of their "race, color, national origin, status, economic condition," physical challenge, gender, sexual or affectional orientation are welcome "to attend [Union's] worship services, to participate in [Union's] programs, and when they take the appropriate vows, to be admitted into the membership"* of Union UMC, with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that pertain thereto - including recruitment or election to leadership positions within Union UMC.

3. We affirm the full participation in all aspects of our church life of all who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, regardless of their race, color, physical challenge, sexual orientation and/or affectional orientation.

4. Given their particular invisibility within the African-American community, we further affirm the full participation of all Black lesbians and gay men, and all other homosexual persons who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour in all aspects of our life together as a congregation.

5. We strive to affirm and utilize the God-given gifts and talents of all persons without regard to their race, gender or sexual/affectional orientation.

6. We seek to address and advocate the rights, needs and concerns of gay men and lesbians in our church and society.

7. As stated in our Social Principles; "Certain basic rights and civil liberties are due all persons. We are committed to supporting those rights and liberties for homosexual persons. We see a clear issue of simple justice in protecting their rightful claims where they have shared material resources, pensions, guardian relationships, mutual powers of attorney and other such lawful claims, typically attendant to contractual relationships that involve shared contributions, responsibilities and liabilities, and equal protection before the law. Moreover, we support efforts to stop violence and other forms of coercion against gays and lesbians".**

8. We hope with God's grace to be instruments of reconciliation to all persons who, because of prejudice, racism, homophobia or ignorance, find themselves in exile from the family of God and the household of Christian faith and service.

* The 1996 United Methodist Book Of Discipline, "The Constitution, Article IV, Inclusiveness of the Church," p. 22.

** The 1996 United Methodist Book Of Discipline, "Equal Rights Regardless of Sexual Orientation," p.94.