Bering United Methodist Church

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Bering Today

Bering is a leading voice in the movement for full inclusion of GLBT persons in the life of the United Methodist Church. Homophobia, gender inequality, racism, an unjust American penal system, wealth inequality, poverty, and homelessness are just of few of the other issues about which the Church needs to have a voice in the dialogue. Looking to the future, we are constantly seeking to discern how Bering’s voice can make the most difference, as we strive to mirror the all-inclusive, reconciling love of Jesus Christ in the world.

Bering Memorial UMC is a Reconciling Congregation!

See Bering’s work toward inclusion:

Bering’s Video History – the AIDS crisis of the ’80s, Bering Dental Clinic, Bering Omega, Bering Care Center, Bering Support Network, Open Gate, the fight for inclusion: Bering’s resolutions presented to the Texas Annual Conference in 2014 and 2015

The Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) is a growing movement of United Methodist individuals, congregations, campus ministries, and other groups working for the full participation of all people in the United Methodist Church.

In November of 1991 Bering’s membership voted to accept the recommendation of the Administrative Council that Bering become Texas’ first Reconciling Congregation by affiliating ourselves with the Reconciling Congregations Program (now Reconciling Ministries Network). The following Reconciling Statement was adopted:

We proclaim that all people are created in the image of God and affirm that each person, regardless of age, economic status, faith history, ethnicity, gender, mental or physical ability, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identification, is a beloved child of God and worthy of God’s love and grace.

We support the full participation of all persons in every phase of church life. Through education and informal discussion, we will strive to better understand those who are different from ourselves to bring about a more accepting society.

We recognize ourselves to be a reconciling congregation within The Texas Annual Conference and choose to officially associate ourselves with the Reconciling Ministries Network within the United Methodist Church. We see this network as a sign of hope and through this association offer our witness to other congregations within our denomination to foster the spirit of reconciliation and movement toward inclusiveness.

Find out more about the Reconciling Ministries Network.

Visit the Reconciling Ministries’ Facebook page.

Learn more about Bering Memorial UMC.

Bering’s Rich Heritage

This congregation was founded in 1848 by German-speaking immigrants. At that time, the population of Houston was only about 5,000. In the 1850s, a small church building was built at what is now the intersection of Milam and McKinney Streets in downtown Houston.

German remained the primary language in the worship services and Sunday School classes until 1911, at which time the name was changed to Bering Memorial—honoring two brothers, August and Conrad Bering, who had been instrumental in the founding of the congregation. Our present sanctuary—now designated a historical landmark—was completed in 1926.

The 1960s and 1970s brought a surge of “hippies and homosexuals” into Bering’s neighborhood of Montrose. As these new neighbors began to attend services at Bering, the Administrative Board made a commitment to be fully in ministry to and with them and to welcome them into the church family without discrimination or prejudice.

 

Bering’s History of Service

From its beginning, Bering Memorial has established itself as a congregation with a commitment to serving the needs of the community. Bering organized nursing teams during the Yellow Fever epidemics in the late 1800s and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919. The congregation supported rebuilding efforts in Europe and Asia after World War II, and in the mid 1900s sponsored missionaries to Mexico and the Belgian Congo. Bering gave financial support for the building of Methodist Hospital. During a particularly difficult winter in the late 1970s, Bering set up a temporary homeless shelter on our campus. We were instrumental in the formation of SEARCH Homeless Ministries and have been a supporting member of SEARCH, Emergency Aid Coalition, and Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston.

When the AIDS epidemic began to wreak its devastation in the 1980s, Bering responded with the establishment of the Wednesday Night Spiritual Support Group for people infected with or affected by HIV (still the cornerstone of The Bering Support Network), and founded the Bering Community Services Foundation (now Bering Omega Community Services) to fund an Adult Day Care Center and Dental Clinic—and later a residential hospice—for people with HIV.

Bering is now working to strengthen and grow its new Open Gate Ministry—an outreach program for GLBT and otherwise marginalized homeless youth.

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