Tuesday, July 12, 2016

When a straight guy got saved by a LGBTQ church


One of the realities and gifts of performing music or theatre or dance is that you may never know how you will affect someone with your performance. It will give some people something to think about for the rest of the week. For others the reaction is more immediate. Many never say anything to the performer but still are appreciative. I'm sure this is true for preachers as well. Being a Reconciling Congregation allows us to share God's love in some unexpected ways and in some ways we will never know.

In a shoe-on-the-other-foot blog the author talks about how a United Methodist Church full of LGBTQ people helped a heterosexual man steeped in evangelicalism see his own worth and save him from a spiraling path of self-destructive behavior, because they modeled for him the concept that God loves us, just as we are, right now. Click the link above to read the article. - Kerm Towler

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Our Metropolitan Church's Response to Flooding in West Virginia

Dear Friends:

The recent flooding in West Virginia has been devastating; and, as we have done so many times over many decades, our United Methodist connectional system is responding.  In addition to offering your prayers, here is how you can help in being part of the response:

There will be collections at Wesley United Methodist Church (5312 Connecticut Avenue, NW) in the back of the Sanctuary and Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church (3401 Nebraska Avenue, NW) in the church office between now and Tuesday, July 6, at noon.  Wonderful Metropolitan members have volunteered to transport all of the donations to our Baltimore Washington Conference Center from which they will be delivered to a newly opened warehouse in Beaver, West Virginia.

The specific items that have been requested by the folks in West Virginia are:
  • Bottled water
  • Shovels
  • Mops
  • Brooms
  • Baby diapers
  • Baby formula
  • Baby wipes
If you prefer to make a monetary donation to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR),  please make your check out to Metropolitan Memorial, and in the memo line, write “UMCOR Advance #901670”.  You can either place it in the collection plates on Sunday or mail to the church office at 3401 Nebraska Avenue, NW, Washington, DC  20016. UMCOR has been responding to areas of need since 1940, and 100% of your donations go to the project you specify.

Charlie Parker

Monday, June 27, 2016

July Sermon Series - Mental Health in the Movies

July Sermon Series
Metropolitan Memorial - One Service at 10am in July and August
Wesley - 11am
For the last several summers, our sermon series have focused on Gospel messages running through movies. This July, we will explore films with themes around mental and emotional health. There are several reasons to spend some time with this issue, one of which is the way in which we continue to stigmatize those who wrestle with mental health issues. Depression, substance abuse, and any number of illnesses plague many members of our church community and our family, friends, and neighbors; and by stigmatizing these conditions, we often make it harder for people to get the help that they need. Additionally, mental and emotional health happens primarily through life in the community: when we build life-giving relationships and engage in transformative work. Come join us for “Peace of Mind: Mental Health in the Movies” during the Sundays in July!

On the Friday evening before each of these sermons, come watch the movie in the Youth Room (Room 206) at Metropolitan Memorial – with popcorn, of course!

  • July 1 at 7pm: the film Inside Out will be shown
  • July 8 at 7pm: the film The Soloist will be shown
  • July 15 at 7pm: the film A Beautiful Mind will be shown
  • July 22 at 7pm: the film Dead Poets Society will be shown
  • July 29 at 7pm: the film Birdman will be shown

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Litany for Orlando

On Sunday, June 19 our congregations planted rainbow flags
in honor of the 49 who were slain in Orlando.

Litany for Orlando

adapted from the UCC, Florida
Today we stand with the LGBTQ community in Orlando, Florida, and with all who are grieving for the victims of the massacre at a gay nightclub in the early hours of last Sunday morning.

Their grief is our grief.

We pray for the families and friends of the 50 who were killed.
We pray for the many injured and for their doctors and care-givers.

We renew our resolve as a church to work in Florida and in communities across America for the safety, dignity and freedom of our LGBTQ members and neighbors.

We renew our resolve as a church to work for sane laws that will curb the epidemic of gun violence in this country.

We now know the assailant was a U.S. citizen and a Muslim. We join with the leaders of Muslim communities in the United States who have denounced the attack in Orlando and the unreasoning hatred that motivated it.

The time has come for churches to end the spiritual violence they perpetrate against their LGBTQ members and neighbors. Preaching hate against others because of their sexual orientation or gender identity has taken a terrible toll of lives lost to suicide, and is incompatible with the teachings of Jesus Christ. We call on every church to stand with, and not against, the LGBTQ community.

We are angry, but we will not return hate for hate. Hate will not stop the cycle of violence--not in this country, or anywhere in the world. And so we remember at this time the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

- Patrisha House

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Bishop Matthews responds to Orlando tragedy


While in Zimbabwe, the news of the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., reached us. Like you, I am devastated by this act of hatred and struggling to make sense of the horrific tragedy. In times like this, we, as the body of Christ, must lift our voices in prayer for the friends and families of the 50 people killed and the 53 wounded. We must also expand our efforts to combat future such incidents of soul-shattering violence.

During our Annual Conference Session earlier this month, many members wore orange one day as a symbol of our support to end gun violence. It was a strong witness, but in the wake of the shooting, I can’t help but think that our church can do more. I invite you and your congregation to pray for discernment about how you might become advocates for this struggle.

I also believe we all must repent for any harm that our collective actions or words might have on the LGBTQ community, in this tragedy, and beyond. That is why all God-loving people must condemn this tragedy for what it was: a hate crime against the LGBTQ community. As people of faith, we are called not to judge people, but to love them. I pray this love will begin to offer healing in all the forms it is needed.

And for this moment, let us also just lift our broken hearts to God. Let us, together, seek the peace that passes all understanding, healing for our nation that seems too often divided, and acceptance for all of God’s children. We cry out in pain and disbelief. We mourn. We lift our hearts unto the Lord, and pray, confident that God hears each of our prayers, certain that God can overcome the hatred and the darkness that threatens. Let us be God’s light to the world as we find our hope in Christ, our Lord and our Redeemer.

Grace and peace,
Bishop Marcus Matthews
Baltimore-Washington Conference
United Methodist Church

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

8th Annual Reconciling Sunday Celebration

Matt Berryman Preaches on
Reconciling Sunday.

Photo by Kevin Walter
Metropolitan Memorial and Wesley congregations welcomed Matt Berryman, Executive Director of the Reconciling Ministries Network on Sunday, June 5, as we celebrated our commitment to inclusion of LGBTQ persons in our community, as Reconciling Congregations. Matt preached at Metropolitan Memorial, drawing on Jeremiah 29: 1-2 and 4-7 in his reflection on being "Home in Exile." We are not where we want to be in our denomination, and yet we go forward, living into the faith and action we want for our church and for the world, claiming God’s loving grace and welcome for all people, and teaching our children that everyone is part of God’s world.  

Hear Matt Berryman's Sermon Here!

In addition, Matt shared reflections on actions taken (and not taken) at General Conference at both the Metropolitan Memorial Great Hall session between services, and at Wesley’s More Than Coffee following their worship service. Although many are discouraged at the initiatives that failed to become policy at General Conference, Matt takes hope that the Bishops have been challenged to take leadership and find ways of permitting conservative churches to leave the denomination, and to find ways of allowing North American Methodists to enact rules consistent with application of Wesley’s Quadrilateral (Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience), with freedom similar to that enjoyed by the international Central Conferences.
The Reconciling Leadership team will continue to share information on actions we can take to advocate for the work of the Commission which will be established to negotiate a way forward. Charlie Parker will present a briefing and question and answer time on the recent United Methodist Church’s General Conference. Charlie served as a delegate and will share his thoughts of the highs and the lows, and answer questions that you might have about the process and the implications of some of the actions taken at General Conference.We have planned two opportunities for you to hear Charlie’s reports and ask your questions:
  • June 19 - 10:10am, Great Hall, Metropolitan Memorial (3401 Nebraska Ave., NW)
  • June 19 - 1pm, Fellowship Hall, Wesley (5312 Connecticut Ave., NW)
Capital Pride Parade
Saturday, June 11, 3:45pm, N St. NW
(btw 22nd and 21st Streets)
It's time to get our Pride on! Join with United Methodist from the National Capital Area to show our welcome and support of LGBTQ inclusion in our congregations. The parade begins at 4:30pm in the Dupont Circle area, though our contingent will step off later. Those interested in helping decorate the float are invited to gather at 2pm at our staging area. Join our GroupMe text group by sending an e-mail to Jim Early. Click here for more information.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Reconciling Sunday - Sunday, June 5

Reconciling Sunday - Sunday, June 5
Featuring Guest Preacher, Rev. Matthew Berryman
Reconciling Sunday is our yearly celebration of having joined the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN). On June 1, 2008, Metropolitan Memorial proclaimed its commitment to welcome and include LGBT persons stating, “Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church affirms that all individuals are of sacred worth without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, education, marital circumstances, economic status, physical and mental condition, or criminal history. We declare ourselves in support of the reconciling movement and welcome the full participation in the church of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered persons and their families, as a reflection of God’s unconditional love.” In so doing, Metropolitan became a part of RMN, which was founded in 1982 to “develop a program in which local churches will declare their support for the concerns of lesbians and gay men.”

The need for such an organization in the United Methodist Church developed both from the emerging gay rights movement, and from opposition many in the denomination had to the language adopted at the 1972 General Conference stating, “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian Teaching.” In the intervening years, additions were made to the Discipline that flowed from this statement, specifically, denying ordination of “practicing homosexuals” and restricting clergy from conducting same gender marriage ceremonies, or permitting their sanctuaries to be used for such ceremonies. Both Metropolitan Memorial and Wesley congregations joined RMN to affirm the sacred worth of all persons, and to commit to undoing the harm caused by the denomination’s policies in regard to human sexuality. Our commitment to RMN intensified with Frank Schaefer’s trial in the fall of 2013, and our adoption of the “Stop the Trials” motto, which was proclaimed on banners at United Methodist churches across the city. Reconciling Methodists at Metropolitan Memorial and Foundry then spearheaded Catching Fire, a benefit concert hosted at Metropolitan Memorial that raised over $25,000 for RMN.

This year, we welcome guest preacher, Rev. Matthew Berryman, Executive Director of RMN. Rev. Berryman received a B.A. from the University of South Carolina and a M.Div. from Emory University, and studied law at Florida Coastal School. Since becoming Executive Director, Rev. Berryman has led the organization through a period of intense growth, galvanized by dismay as clergy were defrocked after being tried for being gay or for conducting same gender marriage ceremonies. The strategic decision to focus organizing effort in the South East and South Central Jurisdictions has resulted in massive growth in the number of Reconciling Congregations, Campus Ministries and Communities which have committed to this work. There are now over 700 congregations supporting RMN, including 12 who joined in April, 2016!

Rev. Berryman’s visit with us will be within weeks of the conclusion of the 2016 General Conference (GC). So, we can be sure that Matt will have much to share with us about the progress made at GC, and will celebrate our history together, while challenging us to the continued work ahead, as we seek to “transform the world by living out the Gospel’s teachings of grace, love, justice and inclusion for all of God’s children.” See you there!

Ellen Bachman