The Simpson College Board of Trustees on May 14, 2021, voted to affiliate the College with Reconciling Ministries Network, a nonprofit organization seeking the inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in both the policy and practices of the United Methodist Church. The decision to align with RMN asserts the College’s commitment to maintaining a diverse, just and inclusive community for all individuals.
Simpson is the third United Methodist affiliated-college or university in the country to align with RMN. Union College in Kentucky and Hamline University in Minnesota are the others.
“Our connection with Reconciling Ministries Network allows us to better articulate our campus values of welcome and inclusion as a United Methodist-affiliated college,” said President Marsha Kelliher. “This decision allows us to embrace our strong history with the United Methodist Church while continuing to create an inclusive community that values and respects all individual identities.”
College Chaplain Mara Bailey ’06 championed the effort to align with RMN. Before the proposal came to the Board of Trustees, she presented it to campus student groups, faculty and staff.
“This statement shows that faith and inclusion are not mutually exclusive,” Bailey said. “The values that have helped to inform our campus community over the decades come from a history of inclusion reaching back to our founding as the Men’s and Women’s Seminary in Indianola.”
In February 2019, the United Methodist General Conference delegates affirmed the Church’s bans on ordaining LGBTQ clergy and officiating at or hosting same-sex marriage. In response, Simpson joined other members of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of The United Methodist Church in affirming Welcoming and Inclusive communities.
“My hope is that this helps faculty, staff, alumni and prospective members of our community better understand the rich traditions of the Church, which guide us in matters of justice, equity, and inclusion,” Bailey said. “We can embrace and welcome all identities and we take this work seriously at Simpson College.”
About Simpson College
Simpson College is a private, liberal arts college located in Iowa with campuses in Indianola, West Des Moines and online. Founded in 1860, the college has 1,268 undergraduate and graduate students. Simpson offers 74 majors, minors and programs in addition to three graduate programs. Outside of the classroom, Simpson is a member of the NCAA Division III American Rivers Conference, hosts eight Greek houses on campus and sponsors many extracurricular options for student involvement.
Bryan Geelan, interim vice president for marketing and strategic communication