Church welcomes LGBTQIA+ community

Members of the congregation of the Lansing United Methodist Church celebrate the adoption of their “Welcoming Statement” for LGBTQAI+ persons on Sept. 22. It became the third area “reconciling church” for this move.
Members of the congregation of the Lansing United Methodist Church celebrate the adoption of their “Welcoming Statement” for LGBTQAI+ persons on Sept. 22. It became the third area “reconciling church” for this move.
Photo by David Dornbusch

The Lansing United Methodist Church (LUMC) adopted a “Welcoming Statement” Sept. 22 declaring that “LGBTQIA+ persons are welcomed, affirmed and celebrated by the congregation.”

The vote voicing LUMC’s opposition to the denomination’s official stance toward LGBTQAI+ persons followed a year-long process of study and conversation led by LUMC’s Reconciling Ministries Group. Ninety-eight percent of the LUMC congregation in attendance voted to ratify the statement.

“We take a vow to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever form they present themselves,” said LUMC Pastor Alison Schmied. “Our faith compels us.”

The church became the third Methodist congregation in Tompkins County (joining Forest Home Chapel and St. Paul’s United Methodist Church) to become a “reconciling church” that rejects the teachings on human sexuality put forth by the “Traditional Plan” adopted by the United Methodist Church during their 2019 Special General Conference.

The “Traditional Plan” kept language in the denomination’s Book of Discipline that prohibits clergy from participating in same-sex marriages, the ordination of practicing homosexuals or teaching that contradicts the church’s stated positions regarding homosexuality.

Clergy who violate the Discipline can be brought to trial and lose their credentials. The 2019 Special Session also passed resolutions calling on congregations unwilling to conform to these requirements to withdraw from the United Methodist Church and form their own self-governing Methodist church by 2023.

In placing a moratorium on “complaints and trials” under the Traditional Plan, LUMC has also placed itself in opposition to Bishop of the Upper New York Conference Mark Webb.

“I choose to believe that all persons are acting from places of deep faith conviction yet also believe that actions like these continue to divide,” Webb wrote in a Nov. 8 letter to his conference.

Diane Withiam, a member of the Reconciling Ministries Group, said she and her fellow members had a series of one-on-one conversations with church members.

“We found people who said that they would turn their backs and walk out of the church after the 2019 Traditional Plan was adopted,” she said. “We found people who have family members and children who are gay.”

Ministries group members found that 97% of the church supported reconciling, she said, and when they voted, they got 98% in favor.

“We needed to have this conversation among ourselves. We needed to know who we are,” Withiam said. “So, we developed the welcoming and affirming statement. … It was the least we could do, the most basic thing. We were compelled to do the thing that was available. If not, then what do we stand for?”

The Lansing congregation joins more than 1,000 other United Methodist groups, including classes, congregations, campus ministries, annual conferences and the entire western jurisdiction of the denomination in making a public statement that they welcome, affirm and celebrate people of all sexual orientations and gender identities at all levels of their community, including participation, membership and leadership positions.

In Brief:

Cookies and Carols

Cookies and Carols will be Monday, Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m., in the Middle School auditorium. There will be raffles for valuable prizes including local area restaurant gift cards, sports tickets, holiday items and more.

Come hear music by the Third and Fourth Grade Chorus, Middle School Holiday Band and the High School Show Choir while enjoying holiday cookies and beverages.

To buy tickets or help by bringing cookies or volunteering the day of the event, go to (Please no nuts or nut spreads.)

Cookies and Carols is LTAPA’s biggest fundraiser of the year, helping pay for theater and musicians’ needs such as microphones, curtains, lights, scholarships and trips.

North Lansing Fire Auxiliary Pancake Breakfast

The North Lansing Fire Auxiliary will hold a pancake breakfast on Dec. 1 at the North Lansing Fire Hall, 1189 Auburn Rd. All-you-can-eat pancakes, French toast, sausage patties, hash browns, coffee, tea and hot chocolate will be served from 7:30 to 11 a.m. Adult tickets will be $7, Children 6-12 $4, 5 and under free. For more information, contact Jessie at 607-280-6616.

Library’s Artisan Fair Announced

The 11th Annual Lansing Artisan Fair will be held Friday, Dec. 6, from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lansing Community Library and the Lansing Community Center.

More than 20 local artisans will be selling handicrafts, including jewelry and accessories, home decor, gourmet goodies, sustainable clothing, holiday bling and much more. Enjoy a free treat and hot beverage while shopping. Part of the proceeds benefit the Friends of Lansing Community Library.

Ithaca Orchestra plays Middle School

The Ithaca Community Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Madeline Schatz-Harris, will present a concert titled “Classical Meets Jazz” on Dec. 14 at 4 p.m. in the Lansing Middle School Auditorium.

This concert will feature piano soloist Dr. Andrea Merrill performing Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” In addition, Dr. Schatz-Harris will lead the orchestra in the East Coast Premiere of Henry Wolking’s “Powell Canyons.” And finally, the orchestra will perform Selections from “West Side Story,” led by assistant conductor Aaron Burgess.

The public is invited to attend a reception held directly after the concert. A recommended donation of $7 will be accepted at the door, and children are admitted free of charge.


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