At Seabold UMC, we strive to include and accept people from all walks of life without judgment and with Christian love. Regarding LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer) persons, this means that we affirm and accept them as they are. However, we as Christians have regularly told LGBTQ people that they are in fact not children of God, that they are abominations, and that they will rot in Hell for who they are. We at Seabold UMC join in a growing chorus of voices who insist that this is not the gospel message. This is what it means that we are a Reconciling church: we are attempting to reconcile Christianity from its toxic form that it has taken (regarding LGBTQ people) into a life-giving form. We do not see LGBTQ people as sinners except to the degree to which we all are. They are beloved creations of God and of infinite worth.
We at Seabold UMC strive to support LGBTQ persons in their life of faith. We, like everyone else, are imperfect. We are not all on the same page all of the time, including around these issues. And we cannot claim that LGBTQ people will never get hurt in our congregation. But having the Reconciling label attached to our congregation means that we will never let that stand. We as a congregation as a whole have taken this position and will work to that end.
The Welcome Statement below shows the statement that we, as a whole congregation, have agreed on as our policy of non-exclusion. The Press Release below that is our public statement upon the event of becoming a Reconciling Congregation.
Seabold United Methodist Church believes that everyone is a child of God. We welcome and affirm all persons without regard to gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation, national origin, faith tradition, age, diverse ability, marital status, economic condition, or anything else which threatens to divide God’s family. We recognize that there are differences among us, but believe that we can love alike even though we may not think alike. In our quest to follow the example of Christ, we will employ no circles of exclusion and we commit ourselves to loving acts of invitation, hospitality, and reconciliation, providing ministry to, for, and with all persons without exception.
The Problem (in brief)
Throughout Christian history, the Church has largely rejected homosexuality as "sinful behavior." The "unnatural lust" for someone of the same sex was claimed to be a sign of depravity and an "abomination." To them, same-sex love was clearly offensive to God, and thus to be forcefully shunned. Many churches still hold these beliefs, either in their traditional, stronger form or in the masked idea of "hate the sin, love the sinner."
However, this is not the only way to think as a Christian. There are many elements of Christian thought that can allow for same-sex attraction. For example, Jesus never addresses homosexuality at all. And Christianity has the rich tradition of imago Dei—human beings are made in the image of God, and thus (as the Creation story says) are created "very good." Each human in their unique diversity (including diversity of sexualities) is of sacred worth.
Moreover, all throughout Christian history, there are numerous examples of people of God, revered through the ages, who can be understood as queer: David and Jonathan, eunichs, Ruth and Naomi, Saints Sergius and Bacchus, Perpetua and Felicity, to name a few.
At this point in America, there are many faithful Christians, including Christian pastors, who accept LGBTQ people wholeheartedly into their congregations. This explicit welcome is necessary when LGBTQ people are so deliberately excluded from so much of Christianity in such harmful ways.
2014 Press Release
For Immediate Release:
Seabold United Methodist Church: A Place Where all means ALL!
Bainbridge Island, October 28, 2014: Seabold UMC became an all-inclusive church with the approval of their Welcome Statement at the annual All Church meeting held Sunday, October 26, 2014. After the approval of the Welcome Statement, Seabold UMC also chose to join the Pacific Northwest and National Reconciling Ministries Network.
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. RMN is committed to the justice imperative of the Gospel and grounding its ministries in the Wesleyan practice of personal and social holiness; and is committed to utilizing inclusive language and respectfully recognizing the diverse approaches to scripture, tradition, reason, and experience of the congregations and communities with whom it relates.
Seabold UMC believes, as Reconciling Ministries Network believes, that human sexuality is a good gift from God. RMN is committed to supporting the integration of healthy, loving expressions of sexuality and spirituality for everyone. We celebrate the sexuality and spirituality of all persons and pledge to provide resources that lead to a deeper understanding of God’s precious gift.