Walnut Creek Journal Article Highlights Progressive Social Outreach of an East Bay UMC

February 14, 2019

United Methodist Church to mark 150th anniversary

House of worship known for progressive social outreach, welcomes LGBTQ community 

Instant Connection editor’s note: As The United Methodist Church prepares to debate its position on LGBTQ rights in a special session of General Conference next week, a California-Nevada congregation has been recognized in a secular media article for its progressive stance. An excerpt of the excellent article appears below, with a link to the full version.
By Lou Fancher, Correspondent 
Walnut Creek Journal 
February 8, 2019 
Page 3 

On Sunday, when staff, the congregation and visitors celebrate the 150th anniversary of Walnut Creek United Methodist Church — the actual anniversary is Tuesday — a mandate to love all people will be foremost.
“The first thing we pride ourselves in is that we are an open church,” says the Rev. Colin Kerr-Carpenter, or Pastor Colin, as he is known by church members. [at right]
He was appointed senior pastor in 2017, arriving from a position in Orland, California, near Chico. As a sixth- generation Californian with 30 years in ministry and degrees from University of the Pacific and the Boston University School of Theology, Kerr-Carpenter most appreciates the church’s progressive social outreach.
“Theologically, we believe the No. 1 understanding of the gospel is that we’re called to love and to love all people.”
That core principle, affirmed by a 79 percent favorable vote taken June 5, 1994, designates the church as a “Reconciling Congregation,” which means all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are welcome to participate fully in church operations, missions and life.
Joining a movement begun in 1982 by a church in New York City — and adhering to policies that continue to roil the United Methodist denomination — Kerr-Carpenter says his reading of church history shows the decision was not made “willy-nilly.” A careful study of the issues involved, regular meetings to educate the congregation and other preparations over three years preceded the final vote.  Read complete article here.