The people of Nevada City United Methodist Church voted almost unanimously on February 26, 2023 to join with a growing number of Methodist churches around the country to publicly align itself with a Reconciling Ministries Network statement and pledge of welcome and inclusion.
Firstly, the pledge is to reach out to welcome all persons, especially those who have felt excluded from full participation and acceptance when seeking a church home. We want the Nevada City community to recognize our church and its congregation as safe and inclusive regardless of what any of our differences are.
Secondly, the pledge commits to voice opposition to and promote change to official United Methodist biblical and social interpretations that still codify restrictive policies and practices expected of local churches and clergy, and which have excluded certain groups from full participation, especially LGBTQ+ persons. Choosing to become a “reconciling congregation” also acknowledges other persons who have suffered discrimination or exclusion or mistreatment by the Methodist church historically and currently, such as Blacks, Indigenous, and other people of color, ethnicity, wealth or social standing.
The vote at the Nevada City United Methodist congregation took place only after several years of study, explanation, conversations, polling, and other preparations to ensure members understood what they were voting for. Members of the committee which shepherded this process for the past two years confirm that “While it feels like a major step, the congregational vote is not the culmination, but rather the starting point in a process to better understand how persons have been marginalized by the church in the past as well as in the present, and what is going to be needed for healing in the future.”
The actual statement for which the congregation voted reads: “We celebrate God’s gift of diversity and value the wholeness made possible in community equally shared and shepherded by all. We welcome and affirm people of every gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, who are also of every age, race, ethnicity, physical and mental ability, level of education, and family structure, and of every economic, immigration, marital, and social status, and so much more. We acknowledge that we live in a world of profound social, economic, and political inequities. As followers of Jesus, we commit ourselves to the pursuit of justice and pledge to stand in solidarity with all who are marginalized and oppressed.”