Asbury's mission is to be a place for all people.

Asbury's Ministry of Reconciliation

On March 23, 1996, having engaged the issues for months, the members of Asbury met and voted overwhelmingly (92% in favor) to become Phoenix' first Reconciling Congregation. A Reconciling Congregation is a local UMC that makes a public statement welcoming all persons regardless of sexual orientation to participate fully in its church life. Asbury was only the second Reconciling Congregation in Arizona, and the 112th of the nation's 36,000 UM churches.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we affirm the dignity and self-worth of all people. God calls us as the church to be a community of love, grace, and justice without reservation. In the sight of God we are all one, and in Christ there is no condemnation (Rom 8:1). We are called to be a church supporting each other in achieving our fullest potential, and striving to utilize the spiritual gifts of all persons in ministry, without regard to race, gender, age, national origin, mental or physical ability, economic status, or sexual orientation.

...As a congregation we promise to follow and serve Christ, in union with the church which has been opened to all people. In Christ, God was reconciling the world to God's self (II Cor 5:19). Having been thus reconciled to God through Christ, we have become [a ministry of reconciliation]. We invite others to join us in our spiritual journey and in our efforts to work for a more just and caring society.

--from Asbury's Reconciling Statement of March 23, 1996

Today Asbury is one of the most diverse congregations in the Valley of the Sun, in terms of socioeconomic background, age, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

Looking Back

Rev. Mel White preached at Asbury on March 10, 2002, commemorating the sixth anniversary of Asbury's vote to become a Reconciling Congregation. Rev. White was awarded the ACLU's National Civil Liberties Award in 1997 for his efforts to apply the "soul force" principles of Gandhi and MLK to the struggle for justice for "God's lesbian and gay children." For 30 years, Dr. White had served the evangelical Christian community as a pastor, seminary professor, best-selling author, prize-winning filmmaker, communication consultant and ghost writer to its most famous and powerful leaders. His ghost-writing clients included Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, Ollie North, and Pat Robertson. His best-selling autobiography, Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay And Christian In America has prompted nearly 100,000 letters in eight years. To learn more about Rev. White visit SoulForce.org.

The year before, on its fifth anniversary, Dr. Tex Sample gave a rousing sermon entitled "Pentecostal Honky Tonks and Other Inclusive Communities," in which he stated that Asbury is "the most inclusive community I've ever been part of." Twelve United Methodist bishops and spouses, in Scottsdale for an annual meeting of the Council of Bishops, attended the 9:30 a.m. service. Among them were Leontine Kelly, the first African-American female elected to the episcopacy in a major denomination. She offered a lively benediction. Bishop Kelly wrote the preface to one of Tex's books, and laid hands on Pastor Jeff at his 1988 ordination. Also present was Susan Morrison, bishop of the New York Area. Bishop Morrison was one of the two bishops arrested at the 2004 General Conference for taking a stand against the UMC's current policy on homosexuality.

Voices for Recovery

On Sunday, September 24, Asbury celebrated the 15th Annual National Recovery and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. Dennis Kenmore, a recovery counselor celebrating 15 years' sobriety, presented a message of hope and encouragement.

But the fact is, Asbury celebrates recovery every Sunday, with people freely sharing their years, months and even days of sobriety during the prayers of the people. Asbury is a safe sanctuary where all people are welcomed as they are. We recognize that we all have challeges in this life and need the strength of our Higher Power and a supportive and encouraging community of faith. Further, Asbury has had a long history of hosting 12-Step Recovery groups. Thousands of Phoenicians have taken their first steps toward recovery on Asbury's campus. Presently, the following groups meet each week at Asbury:

Mondays

12:15 p.m. A.A. Twelve Fifteen A.A. Room 8

5:30-6:30 p.m. A.A. West Side Rush Hour Room 11

7:00-8:00 p.m. N.A. Just For Today Room 11

Tuesdays

5:30-6:30 p.m. A.A. West Side Rush Hour Room 11

7:30-8:30 p.m. N.A. Options for Us Room 11

7:00 p.m. S.A.A. Sex Addicts Anonymous Room 8

Wednesdays

5:30-6:30 p.m. A.A. West Side Rush Hour Room 11

Thursdays

12:00 p.m. S.A.A. Sex Addicts Anonymous Room 11

5:30-6:30 p.m. A.A. West Side Rush Hour Room 11

7:30-9:00 p.m. N.A. Talking Heads Room 11

Fridays

12:15 p.m. A.A. Twelve Fifteen A.A. Room 8

5:30-6:30 p.m. A.A. West Side Rush Hour Room 11

6:00 p.m. N.A. Space Available Room 8

7:30 p.m. S.A.A. Men Hope & Recovery (men only, including gay or bisexual)

Saturdays

10 a.m. S.A.A. Sex Addicts Anonymous Room 8

10 a.m. N.A. New Freedom Room 11

7:00-8:00 p.m. A.A. West Side Rush Hour Room 11

Revised 5/10


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