As a United Methodist Church,
Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
As a Reconciling Congregation,
We Value Inclusiveness and Diversity We celebrate God’s gifts as a faith community built upon the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. We believe God calls us to
- be an open, loving, and caring congregation,
- proclaim Jesus’ love and justice to all;
- live out God’s unending love through the inclusiveness and welcoming of all persons, including those of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
- We value inclusiveness and diversity, which includes tolerance, compassion, civility, working for social justice, and regarding everyone as sacred and precious.
- We value God-centered, inclusive worship.
- We value Christian education.
- We value reaching out to and serving the community and world.
- We value a faith community that is a nurturing fellowship.
- We value sharing God’s love.
- We value ministries to children and youth.
- We value faith study & discussion.
- We value openness, which means being a safe place for people and ideas.
- We value hospitality, which includes welcoming visitors and attracting new members.
- We value spirituality, spiritual formation, and prayer.
Regarding all children of God
Each child of God is a unique creation. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ face public and private rejection by their families and communities of Christians. Fellow Christians are judged by their peers and not always accepted and welcomed into faith communities because of their individuality.
The congregation of St. Timothys United Methodist Church believes in celebrating God’s gifts. We do not all have the same gifts, nor do we all wish to be the same. We do, however, feel it is important to respect all brothers and sisters in Christ, and in doing so respect their individualities even though they may differ from our personal ideology. We feel that our Lord is the only one who has the right to judge our fellow human beings.
Because we are a congregation built upon the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, we embrace the opportunities to live as courageously and lovingly as He instructed. We are, therefore, committed to recognizing and responding to the needs of all God’s children in our community, particularly those who seek a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We love them no less than we would love our Lord and Savior, were He to come and walk among us. In this endeavor, we make a conscious decision to reject our own fears and any public condemnation. Our house is a Christian lighthouse. As such, we provide a beacon of love and acceptance to all persons, including those who have encountered impassable storms in their efforts to navigate to God. This calling is our holy challenge and privilege, and shall be a blessing upon us all.
We feel that St. Timothys UMC is an open, loving, and caring congregation, ready to accept all who wish to celebrate and grow in God’s love. With this statement we will proclaim this unending love to the community, reaching out to all, even those who have not always been accepted in other places of worship. We intend this to not be an idle statement, but one that is actively lived out in our everyday lives. SPECIFICALLY In addition to fulfilling other commitments of our mission, the congregation of St. Timothys United Methodist Church will:
- Incorporate into our programs and policies – to the degree allowed by United Methodist discipline–inclusive language and practices that affirm our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.
- Make clear to the community at large that we welcome all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, as loved and loving members of our congregation.
- Educate ourselves about the lives and issues of gay and lesbian persons.
- Support the same guaranteed civil protections for homosexuals as for heterosexuals.
- Educate ourselves about our own gifts of loving sexuality.
“Reconciling” is the term used by many in the United Methodist Church to describe their welcome and inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons into the full life of the church. St. Timothys is a member of the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), a growing movement of United Methodist individuals, congregations, campus ministries, and other groups working for the full participation of all people in the Church.
Affiliation with Reconciling Ministries Network
PRESS RELEASE FOR DECEMBER 5, 2007
The Leadership Council of St. Timothys United Methodist Church of Cedar Falls decided at a recent meeting to affiliate with the Reconciling Ministries Network. After more than a year of serious consideration, the Church and Society Committee of St. Timothys proposed that the church affiliate with the Network and adopt a statement of inclusion as follows:
The congregation of St. Timothys United Methodist Church in Cedar Falls celebrates God’s gifts as a faith community built upon the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. We are called and strive to be an open, loving, and caring congregation; to proclaim Jesus’ love and justice to all; and to live out God’s unending love through the inclusiveness and welcoming of all persons, including those of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
The Church & Society Committee noted the importance of making this kind of witness in the church and community as an affirmation of the United Methodist Church’s core values, “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors.” They also noted that within the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender) community, the widely held assumption is that they are not welcome in churches unless a congregation states specifically that they are welcome.
Leading up to the Council’s decision, a study on the Bible and homosexuality was offered, and in separate worship services the congregation listened as four members of the church shared personal stories of how their being gay or having a gay friend or sibling affected their lives.
The Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) is a growing movement of United Methodist individuals, congregations, campus ministries, and other groups working for the full participation of all people in the United Methodist Church. As of December 2006, the RMN encompasses 227 Reconciling Congregations, 28 Reconciling Campus Ministries, and 39 other Reconciling Communities and Ministries. There are over 18,000 Reconciling United Methodists.
The video “Ears Wide Open?” is a Public Service Announcement for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The exclusively nonprofit film, produced by Evincery Films, delivers a poignant message of love and acceptance. Our hope is to reach out to others who are struggling. Together, we can spread the word that life is worth living and that it’s okay to be who you are. At the end of the day, if the video reaches just one person and causes them to choose to live and to understand that it really does get better … well … that’s what I would call an awesome day indeed.
Terrie Johnson tells her story in the video, and on her website at http://www.terriedjohnson.com