Eighteen months ago our congregation began a series of conversations, prayer, and study on topics of human sexuality and the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons in the life of the church, which includes ordination and marriage. Led by lay members of our church family, this process birthed our Reconciling Ministries Task Force, a Bible study on human sexuality, a series of speakers from local LGBTQ+ groups, and First Olympia’s first official participation in Capital Pride. The result of our ongoing sacred discernment was an all-church advisory vote on whether our church should affiliate with the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN). For the first three weeks of May church members were invited to cast a ballot answering the question of affiliation.
The vote concluded on Sunday, May 21. The votes were counted by our tellers (those who count our weekly tithes and offerings) on May 22 and the results were reported to the pastoral staff. The pastoral staff brought these results to a full meeting of the Church Council on Tuesday, May 23. Of the 610 eligible voters, 60% cast a ballot (345 ballots cast). The results were 302 in favor, 42 against, and one abstention. To put it another way, 88% of those who voted were in favor of affiliation and 12% were against. After conversation and prayer the Church Council voted unanimously to approve the affiliation. This news is being shared here, in The Courier, and on the church’s website and social media presence. A verbal announcement will be made at both worship services on Sunday, May 28. The pastoral staff is incredibly proud of our church family; this process is a clear example that our community is willing to take on difficult issues and discern together how to respond in a spirit of love.
What can you expect now that we are a Reconciling Congregation?
By affiliating with the RMN we will now be known in some circles as a reconciling congregation. The name of our church will be listed on the Reconciling Ministries Network website. You may see some signage around the church using the RMN logo and it will be on our website. Our Reconciling Ministries task force will transition into something new, but will continue to focus on the full inclusion of all God’s children in the life of the church. Most importantly, we will continue to live in community as we always have, striving to welcome all people into the transforming experience of life in Christ.