Another United Methodist church in South Carolina has made the decision to join the Reconciling Ministries Network.
St. Mark UMC, Columbia, is now the second UMC church in the state to pass a statement of affirmation and join the network, an unofficial caucus of United Methodists that promotes full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and other individuals in the life of the church.
According to the Rev. John Adams, pastor, on March 11, the St. Mark Administrative Council adopted the following statement of affirmation:
“In response to God’s unconditional love for all people, we are called to be a welcoming and affirming church. We welcome, affirm and accept in the full life of the church all those whom God sends us including young and old, families, couples and singles, rich and poor, persons of various races, ethnicities, backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender identities, differing physical and mental abilities, believers and seekers. Centered in Christ, we commit ourselves to breaking down dividing walls and building a community where all are loved.”
St. Mark Discernment Committee Chair Beth Barry said, “The committee and church family gave this issue thoughtful and prayerful consideration. We are so pleased that through this process we have confirmed what St. Mark UMC has always professed, that all are welcome here.”
Washington Street UMC, Columbia, is the other reconciling congregation in the South Carolina Conference, joining the RMN in July 2019, though there are at least 13 additional reconciling Sunday school classes and other communities in various UMCs across the state. Another church, Dunean UMC, a tiny mill church in Greenville, had voted to affiliate with RMN in 2012, but that church closed in 2017.