33 Years of Welcoming LGBTQIA+ People

Tumbarton celebrated its 33rd anniversary as a “Reconciling Congregation” on Feb. 23 with a call from a guest speaker to remember how it made such a ground-breaking decision in the first place. The Georgetown congregation became the first United Methodist church in Washington, D.C., to welcome and encourage participation of LGBTQAI+ people in 1987.

“”Do you remember what has already been made possible?” asked the Rev. Dr. Youtha Hardman-Cromwell, a Wesley Theological Seminary professor. “Do you trust God to go forward on your reconciling journey?”

In a children’s sermon beforehand, Dumbarton member Melany Burrill showed past photos of Dumbarton as she reflected on what it was about the congregation that led it to make such a momentous decision.

The church also became the first United Methodist church to agree to marry same-gender couples after such weddings were legalized in the District of Columbia in 2009.

In a colorful service, complete with rainbow stoles worn by many, the choir sang Ysaye Barnwell’s “We Are” and Paul Halley’s “Sound Over All Waters” with soloist Alysse Swann.

After the service, a Mardi Gras-style pancake brunch was served to all in the social hall. Donations were also taken for the Reconciling Ministries Network.