“We recognize that God made all creation and saw that it was good. As a diverse people of God who bring special gifts and evidences of God’s grace to the unity of the Church and to society, we are called to be faithful to the example of Jesus’ ministry to all persons. Inclusiveness means openness, acceptance, and support that enables all persons to participate in the life of the Church, the community, and the world. Thus, inclusiveness denies every semblance of discrimination. “The mark of an inclusive society is one in which all persons are open, welcoming, fully accepting, and supporting of all other persons, enabling them to participate fully in the life of the church, the community, and the world. In The United Methodist Church, inclusiveness means the freedom for the total involvement of all persons who meet the requirements of The United Methodist Book of Discipline in the membership and leadership of the Church at any level and in every place.” (2000 Book of Discipline, The United Methodist Church, paragraph 138) Inclusiveness has been defined as, “the term in United Methodism that means that every level of the denomination is to be open to all people in all settings on a fully equal basis. There is no distinction made because of racial or ethnic background, national origin, gender, age, handicapping condition, or any other criteria. It is the policy of The United Methodist Church to be fully inclusive of all persons in their participation in the life and work of the church” (A Dictionary for United Methodists, page 108).The Church of Jesus Christ is the institution that God has charged with the ministry of reconciliation. There can be no reconciliation until every ethnic group’s gifts and talents are valued by the entire community of faith. The church anticipates the reign of God where the community is fully open and made whole. The Central Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church seeks to make that a daily reality in our common life. We pray, “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” With God’s grace, we strive to become the Beloved Community, the City of God, and The Light on a Hill. We live between what we are and what we shall become as we embrace the fullness of God’s kingdom.
The Central Texas Conference Task Force on Inclusiveness works to provide the connectional, relational and accountable functions of previous entities of Status and Role of Women, Religion and Race and Disability Concerns. Each of these is an expression of how the church needs to be the inclusive Body of Christ. The Center for Mission Support understands inclusiveness to be a core value to the success of our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.