Agency, Eldon, and Batavia United Methodist Churches of the Good Shepherd Parish have canceled services for January 19, 2020. Be safe out there. See you next Sunday!
You have likely seen in the news that the UMC has proposed a split. This is categorically false. The only body which can speak for the UMC is the collected voice of the delegates to our General Conference. What actually happened is that the leaders of many factions inside the UMC got together and
- mediated a proposal
- to serve as a framework
- to base legislation on.
It is true that the intent of the proposal is for the UMC to separate along traditional/progressive lines, but there is special work involved in getting legislation which has been proposed this late before the General Conference. Until it gets there, they can’t vote on it.
When they vote on it, IF they vote on it, then, and only then, will it justify a headline, “The UMC has decided [not] to split.” Theirs is not the only proposal to split the denomination, just the latest, and apparently the one with the best marketing.
A colleague has put together a video that offers a very helpful explanation of things and has shared it publicly. I include it here.
The reason for the proposed split has been framed by the mainstream media as being over differences of thought in the denomination regarding same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBTQ clergy. I believe that to be a simplistic, misleading framing. While that is the issue that looms large in our culture, and has been the focus of specific legislative battles, the theological divide between progressive and traditional is deeper and wider than just LGBTQ issues.
What is absolutely true is that this needs to be a time of devoted prayer in all of the churches across our denomination and in the Church Universal. Please pray.
Several communities are ready for volunteers. See attached link for all the ways you can help and community contact info:
The killing of 26 people, and wounding of dozens more at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, yesterday has sparked a cacophony of emotions: heartbreak, fear, anger. But even in the midst of these, we also find love – love and concern for one another. I’ve seen many people, using social and traditional media, denigrate #thoughtsandprayers expressed by folks from all walks of life. They claim that thoughts and prayers are a worthless response to such an act of violence. I don’t believe that. We, of the Christian faith, believe that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. They are an expression of our love and unity with those suffering, and can even express our lament to God. The reality is that outside the geographical area of Sutherland Springs, prayer is all we can offer right now. The local people will have to care for the survivors more directly with food, hugs, acts of service, and an ear to listen. It will take time to learn of the circumstances of the attack, and determine what, if any, future actions might prevent similar tragedies. Meanwhile, disregard the naysayers, confess your own sins, and pray fervently for our brothers and sisters at the First Baptist Church.