Our welcome knows no boundaries of race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic reality, education, faith background, family status, physical or mental ability. We welcome all into full participation in the life of our congregation. Northbrook United Methodist Church is an active member of the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) which is a grass roots movement of United Methodists working for the full inclusion of all people in the United Methodist Church. Well over 700 faith communities nation-wide have voted to become Reconciling.
We are also an active member of the Chicago Coalition of Welcoming Churches (CCWC) which is a large group of churches of all denominations that are committed to being fully inclusive. Our members marched on Springfield for marriage equality and in the Chicago Gay Pride parade.
This stained glass window was created specifically for Northbrook United Methodist Church by the artist, Paul Holzman, in celebration of Northbrook UMC becoming a Reconciling Congregation.
The Chicago Coalition of Welcoming Churches
“We do… Have Pride!”
NUMC RECONCILING SERVICE – SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28
We are extremely pleased that M Barclay, a transgender Deacon, will be preaching at our Reconciling Service on October 28. M uses the pronouns “they”, “their” and “them” and is a powerful speaker who can explain very clearly in a worship setting some of the issues relating to being transgender within the UMC. We do not know what specifically their topic will be, bu they have agreed to stay after worship for a Q&A session in our Library. Please plan to come and welcome M into our midst.
We are currently in discussions with the Youth Program Manager of Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook in the hopes that they will co-sponsor a program about LGBTQIA issues on a Sunday evening in mid-November. Watch for more information. Their last program at the Glenview library was truly enlightening.
WARNING! The following article comes with a lot of United Methodist Church politics and in-house speak. Read at your own risk! And know that we’re all in this together.
Every four years the international United Methodist Church holds a General Conference with elected delegates coming from each area of the United States (called Annual Conferences) and each area of other countries (called Central Conferences). The General Conference is the top law-making assembly of the United Methodist Church. For the past 40 years, each General Conference has voted on petitions related to LGBTQIA+ persons. Over those 40 years, the General Conference and the UMC have become increasingly divided on such petitions. The division includes many other intersectional issues: how to interpret the Bible, how to understand human sexuality, gender, “otherness,”; issues of colonialism, how to understand the mission of the church, and more. General Conference 2016 came to an impasse and the Council of Bishops were tasked to find a way forward. The Bishops appointed a 32-member commission titled Commission on a Way Forward and charged the commission with the task of finding ways through the denomination’s deep divide.
The Commission on a Way Forward has met and presented three plans for a way forward in ministry with all. Those are:
- The Traditionalist Plan, which would increase enforcement of the denomination’s current prohibitions against same-gender weddings and “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy.
- The Connectional Conference Plan, which would restructure the denomination to have churches and conferences align into different connectional conferences based on theological outlook.
- The One Church Plan, which would remove discriminatory language from the Book of Discipline and leave questions of marriage and ordination closer to the local church and conference level.
The Council of Bishops received the report from the Commission and met in May 2018. The Bishops are recommending the One Church Plan to a Special Session of General Conference scheduled February 23 – 26, 2019. The plan for the special session is to vote on the proposals presented by the Commission on the Way Forward as well as other proposals that have to do with a way to move forward for the United Methodist Church.
Here are links to related videos;
From the Council of Bishops Facebook page on The One Church Plan; https://www.facebook.com/pg/umcbishops/videos/?ref=page_internal
And the other of the Bishop from North Georgia Conference speaking with her Annual Conference on the work of the way forward. https://vimeo.com/276351658?ref=fb-share
As your Pastor, I wish to share a few reflections on the state of the United Methodist Church and our place in it. I’m not good at writing in lists, but I’m going to try.
- Northbrook United Methodist Church is in a good position to engage the work of rebuilding the church after February 2019. NUMC has already participated in the work and process of identifying as a Reconciling Congregation and joining the movement to stop the harm of LGBTQIA+ persons and create a church that welcomes all.
- We plan to engage this fall in the work of clarifying NUMC’s mission, goals, and strategic plan, building on the plan that was guiding the church from 2013 – 2017.
- Building relationships, engaging in difficult conversations across multi-generations, organizing together, education and spiritual formation, willing to experiment and try new things, listening to and caring for each other—these are a few of the gifts that NUMC is good at and these are the gifts of the Spirit that will be needed.
- The United Methodist Church has a long history of dissenting, uniting, dividing, and reconciling around the core beliefs and values of grace, justice, and in all things, love that is God.
Please join with me in praying for the United Methodist Church and for Northbrook United Methodist Church. Our way forward is to keep listening closely to where the Holy Spirit of God is moving.
Our Northern Illinois Conference delegates to General Conference have scheduled Listening Sessions to hear and discuss more of the work of the Commission on the Way Forward. All are welcome to attend any one of these sessions.
9:00 am Rockford District (Freeport: First)
1:00 pm Dekalb District (Sterling: Wesley)
9:00 am Chicago NW District (Park Ridge)
1:00 pm Chicago Southern District (Chicago: St. Mark)
9:00 am Elgin District (Barrington)
1:00 pm Aurora District (Bethany Fox Valley) *note new location