Believe Out Loud service open to everyone

Jennie Kushner

For students who may not feel welcomed by the church due to gender or sexual orientation, the Wesley Foundation is hosting a Reconciling Ministries Network Believe Out Loud Service on Saturday.

Reconciling Ministries Network is a non-profit organization that works within the Methodist church to change attitudes and doctrine beliefs regarding lesbians, bisexuals, gays, transvestites and queer people, said junior James Glass, a junior majoring in Spanish and international relations and the host of Saturday’s event.

“I would be happy if there are only 10 people there because those 10 people will leave the event educated,” Glass said.

Glass said the goal of the two-hour event is to facilitate the welcome of those of different sexual orientation or gender to the church.

“There are some people who are very strict in thinking that being different is a sin,” Glass said. “It only takes one negative experience for a person to be turned completely off of going to church.”

The event will begin 1 p.m. Saturday at the Methodist Student Center on Hackberry Lane, and there will be a small worship service led by a pastor from Birmingham.

“A lot of people see the church as something that can’t be fixed,” Glass said. “We want to get more people active in changing that idea.”

While the movement is based out of the Methodist church, the event is open to everyone, Glass said, as equality in the church is a concern for everyone.

“This goes beyond discrimination, it’s about people being welcomed in their religion and being able to express it without reproach,” said Martha Gravlee, a political science major.

Glass said he got involved with the Reconciling Ministries Network last year after attending a Human rights campaign event led by the RMN. Glass said he is the only college student currently involved with the group.

“God loves everyone. We need to show the world that,” he said.

Gravlee said this is an issue that all religions face, but the structure of the Methodist church and the patterns it has shown in recent years makes it a good place to begin to promote change.

“Hopefully events like this will open up dialog and eventually there wont be any differences or necessity to have events like these,” Gravlee said. “This is targeted towards sexuality, but I think it’s a great thing to work toward a church that welcomes everyone regardless of what the differences are.”