On November 4, 2012, at our annual Charge Conference, what was then Silver Spring Cooperative Parish adopted this Welcome Statement (the language has been updated since the merger of the churches in 2013):
Silver Spring United Methodist Church believes that having open hearts, open minds and open doors means we are called to share God’s welcome with all people. We are a community where believers, seekers and doubters of every race, ethnicity, age, ability, socioeconomic status, gender identity and sexual orientation are valued as beloved children of God. We believe that Jesus taught of God’s love and acceptance for all, which we seek to embody through our actions, prayers, service, witness and discipleship. All are welcome here.
When we adopted this Statement, we also became a Reconciling Congregation, joining a movement of United Methodist churches that aims to open the church to our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQ+) siblings in Christ.
The Reconciling movement formed in response to the United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline, which contains a clause that states that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching” and forbids same-sex marriage in our churches or officiated by our clergy, and also prohibits “self-avowed, practicing” homosexuals from being ordained as clergy. At the same time, our Book of Discipline also maintains “homosexual persons no less than heterosexual persons are individuals of sacred worth.”
Believing that these statements are in conflict, a group of clergy and lay people came together to challenge the policies that prevent the church from serving its LGBTQ+ members. Decades after its beginning, the movement now consists of over 500 United Methodist communities throughout the United States working together to change the church and to share the welcome Christ offers to all people.
SSUMC participates in events and meetings led by Baltimore Washington Area Reconciling Methodists, a local advocacy chapter working for LGBTQ+ justice within our United Methodist Conference. Learn more about the Reconciling Ministries Network, an organization working for justice for LGBTQ+ folks in the United Methodist Church and beyond.
Want to get involved? We host monthly “LGBTQ+ Justice: Beyond Reconciling” meetings on Second Sundays. Here, members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies meet to study scripture, share our experiences, and keep up to date with the developments in this area within the UMC. For more information about this group, contact Rev. Michele Johns or Sarah Hassmer.
Check out our LGBTQ+ Justice Ministry: Beyond Reconciling mission statement and plan to join us soon:
LGBTQ+ Justice Ministry: Beyond Reconciling
Silver Spring United Methodist Church
Challenge: A world, community, and church confounded by divisiveness and profound and systemic discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, differing abilities, and disabilities.
Vision: A grace-filled world, community, and church in which God’s gift of diversity is celebrated through the wholeness made possible in community equally shared and shepherded by all.
Mission: As followers of Jesus, we commit ourselves to the pursuit of LGBTQ+ justice and equity and celebration of diversity more broadly, and we pledge to be in solidarity with all who are marginalized and oppressed.
Values: We, the SSUMC LGBTQ+ Justice Ministry, follow scriptural guidance to love God, ourselves, and our neighbor and to do justice by:
Welcoming and affirming all God’s people – of every sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, who are also of every belief, doubt, age, race, ethnicity, differing abilities and disabilities, social, educational, economic, immigration, marital, and family structure status.
Resisting evil, injustice, and oppression against LGBTQ+ people and all who face marginalization.
Listening, celebrating, and supporting all God’s people, recognizing each person as a beloved Child of God who is created and wanted by God.
Striving to build community within SSUMC, within The United Methodist Church, and in our broader community, nation, and world that embodies God’s love and grace as expressed through Christ’s acceptance and the transformative power of the Holy Spirit.