Our congregation itself as a global community. We have members who trace their roots to the Philippines, China, Jamaica, Ireland, the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Vietnam, the Ukraine, Iran, France, and many other places. Our welcoming statement proclaims our embrace of all the differences among us: national origin, age, gender and gender identity, condition of health, marital status, sexual orientation, and more. A visitor once remarked, “You really do accept everyone here!” This diversity is one of the fundamental characteristics of our congregation and something which we treasure and is a great blessing. In furthering this spirit of diversity we have been moved to openly challenge those policies of our United Methodist denomination that do not provide for participation of all persons when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity. Our church is part of the movement to make changes in our denomination, and until such formal changes come about, we will be a community that practices equality as a sacred responsibility, even if this puts us in tension with parts of the United Methodist Church.