Churches across the United Methodist connection will take special offerings in the coming month to support the work of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC).
LYNC represents a diverse partnership of thirteen United Methodist groups and caucuses. Its stated purpose is to work together for a "just, inclusive, and grace-filled denomination." At the 2012 General Conference, LYNC was best known for its Tabernacle, a huge outdoor tent that served free meals and hosted progressive speakers.
Because LYNC is not funded by apportionments or outside interest groups, they rely on grassroots fundraising to meet their small budget. For progressive United Methodists who feel under-represented at General Conference, this is another way to get their voices heard.
"Brea UMC plans to take a special offering on this day," says its pastor, Rev. Richard Bentley. "We're proud to support the work of LYNC, and especially its work reaching out to international delegates."
One thing is for sure: the movement looks different in 2016 than it did in 2012. “At the General Conference in Tampa, The Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC) was brand new and we were still discovering what it meant to work in coalition as we called on our church to truly Love Your Neighbor,” says Rev. Steve Clunn, LYNC Coalition Coordinator. Since then, the coalition has grown. “Today LYNC is made up of 13 partner organizations who each bring their unique strengths and hopes for a just, loving and grace-filled United Methodist Church (UMC) to the table of cooperation, trust and equality. In Portland, we will be a living example of the beauty of God’s diverse people of faith, as we call our church to Just Love.”
"I think it's easy for us to get very focused on one or two issues," says Julia Frisbie, who will head up LYNC's communications team. "But what many advocacy groups are realizing is that we're stronger together. We can hire more staff, get more done, and make a bigger impact. Our issues intersect, so why not combine forces?"
"We're trying to change the conversation," Frisbie adds, "from 'either or' to 'both and.' And we hope that will resonate with people."