After listening to comments and questions from church members, our Administrative Council has unanimously voted for our church to become a Reconciling Congregation!
Our church’s decision to become “reconciling” follows a growing trend of United Methodist churches here in Maine and across the country because of decisions made by the global United Methodist Church to strictly enforce not allowing the ordination of LGBTQ clergy, forbidding Methodist churches to be used for same-sex weddings, and to remove the credentials of clergy who perform same-sex marriages.
“In becoming a Reconciling Congregation, Cape Elizabeth UMC by unanimous vote has professed lawfully by word and deed, as a church in defiance of the global United Methodist Church’s judgmental stand of exclusion of the LGBTQ community,” said Pastor Casey Collins after the Administrative Council vote. “Cape Elizabeth UMC affirms that we are all God’s children, wonderful and beautifully made, no exceptions.”
Steve Hill, lay leader and co-chair of the Administrative Council, asked the Council on April 7 to consider taking the steps necessary for our church to become a Reconciling Congregation. One of those steps was to listen to concerns and questions from the congregation.
After receiving nothing but positive feedback, the Council voted on May 5 for our church to officially becoming reconciling in words and actions.
“I am pleased that the Administrative Council adopted the new mission statement for CEUMC which reflects the fact that we are a Reconciling Congregation,” Steve Hill said after the unanimous vote. “It has always been my feeling going way back as a boy in the old CEUMC down the road that we welcomed everyone to be part of our church family. While the issues and vocabulary were different then, that little faith community was welcoming to all. When we moved into our existing church the spirit of welcome to all continued and we flourished by welcoming everyone.
“In recent years the governing body of the global United Methodist Church has chosen to single out certain groups of people and make them feel somehow different and less welcomed to be part of the United Methodist Church. In our last welcoming statement we tried to be clear that the CEUMC is welcoming and open to all and I believe that is how we operated.
“In retrospect, we did not go far enough and in light of more hurtful and discriminatory statements by some bodies in the UMC I believe it was important to speak clearly concerning who we are as the Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church.
“By adding to our welcome statement and stating clearly that we ‘proclaim ourselves to be an Open and Affirming Reconciling Congregation and invite all to find a spiritual home here’, boldly indicates who we are and what we stand for.
“Doesn’t this reflect who we understand Jesus to be? Someone who traveled in his world offering understanding, acceptance, peace, and the love of God to all and frequently those who were people others judged to be unworthy of that kind of love and acceptance.
“I am proud that our little church has spoken clearly that all are welcomed to find a spiritual home here among caring Christians at the Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church.”