All Are Welcome Here
At First Church, we welcome all people to join us to worship, serve, and connect with others on their faith journey. We are a Reconciling Congregation that celebrates the diversity of race, gender, national origin, religious background and sexual orientation.
- April 1991 - Rev. David Lyons preaches a sermon urging denomination to move from condemnation and judgement to love and full acceptance of gay persons.
- Mid-1990's - Gatherings held to inform congregation of denomination's position on homosexuality and propose that FUMC offer a statement of inclusion.
- November 1999 - FUMC's Church Conference adopts the following statement of inclusion "Welcoming all without regard to race, gender, economic status, or sexual orientation."
- November 2005 - Rev. Keith Schroerlucke writes a pastoral letter expressing pain over UMC's discrimination of LGBT persons. SPRC supports letter and reaffirms full inclusion of LGBT membership and ministry within FUMC.
- Fall 2006 - FUMC's Church and Society Committee began discernment about officially affiliating with Reconciling Ministries.
- 2008-2009 - Reconciling Ministries team formed and Rev. Amy DeLong leads classes, book studies, meals, and film series focused on inclusion.
- December 2009 - Reconciling Ministries Team offers Reconciling resolution at FUMC's Church Conference. Resolution passes by unanimous vote.
- 2010-2011 - Large contingent from FUMC supports Rev. DeLong in preparation and throughout church trial.
- January 2014 - FUMC forms and hosts Madison Area Reconciling Group to include Trinity UMC, Bethany UMC, and Sun Prairie UMC.
- March 2014 - Over 400 signatures are collected by Madison Area Reconciling Group in support of letter asking Bishop Jung not to initiate trials or defrocking of clergy who perform same-sex marriages.
- Summer 2014 - FUMC members participate in discussions and Governing Board adopts "A Resolution Regarding Marriage Equality."
- October 2014 - Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Wisconsin. Rev. Carly Kuntz, Rev. Tina Lang, and seven other UM clergy officiate the first same-sex marriage in FUMC's sanctuary.
- June 2017 – TRANSforming Faith Event: a day-long conference for Trans youth, parents, faith communities, and the public to learn, heal, and make safe space together.
- August 2018 – 2nd Annual TRANSforming Faith Event featuring keynote speaker, Sarah McBride, the National Press Secretary for Human Rights Campaign. McBride was the first openly transgender person to address a major party convention in American history, speaking at the Democratic National Convention in 2016.
- May 20, 2019 — Proposed and passed resolution by Church Council
Resolution on Apportionment Payments: This resolution is in response to the adoption of restrictive and punitive language by the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church and major portions which were affirmed and strengthened by the Judicial Council to become part of the Book of Discipline and active in January, 2020. Read full version of resolution (pdf).
Proposed Change to Conference Policy
- General Conference Apportionments (Finance Policy 10.3.0)
The Conference Treasurer shall notify local churches annually of their share of apportionments, separated into two categories: 1) General Conference Apportionments, and 2) the Wisconsin Conference Apportionment. Local churches submitting apportionment payments shall indicate on remittances how much is designated for the various General Conference Apportionments and how much for the Wisconsin Conference Apportionment. The Conference Treasurer shall pay General Conference Apportionments in twelve monthly installments of equal amount on or about the last day of the month. within thirty days of receipt of funds so designated. This policy shall go into effect July 1, 2019.
Currently churches must combine support of General Conference and Wisconsin Conference apportioned ministries into the same payment. The proposed language will align support of General Conference ministries with the amount that the local churches actually contribute toward these ministries.
In 2018, the Council on Finance & Administration ordered emergency budget cuts in the middle of the year. Numerous ministries within the Wisconsin Conference were forced to implement severe cutbacks, and several employees of the Wisconsin Conference lost their jobs. However, because of how Finance Policy 10.3.0 is currently written, General Conference ministries were supported at 100%, while Wisconsin Conference ministries received far less than 80%.
More recently, churches have begun withholding apportionment payments, as a protest to the General Conference for its decisions on LGBTQ issues. Although these protests are directed at the General Conference, they will have the unintended effect of significantly curtailing support for local Wisconsin Conference ministries, unless the policy language is changed.
Reconciliation Statement of Church
The Church Council of First United Methodist Church refuses to accept the United Methodist stance that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. We affirm the rich diversity of sexual orientations and gender expression as part of God's good creation. All people are beloved children of God embraced by God's prevenient, justifying and sanctifying grace. We are seeking to embody grace and hospitality in the manner of Jesus that will ensure the full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in the life of the UMC.
Want to know more about Reconciling Ministries within the United Methodist Church?