I try not to be too dramatic. Okay, maybe I try not to be needlessly dramatic. But I'm convinced that with hindsight it will be clear: This is the moment that a new structure for an existing denomination-- or an entirely new denomination-- will begin its birth pangs. I hope it's that first thing, hear me.… Continue reading UMC, this is the moment.
The New England Annual (regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church experienced a watershed moment this week-- so many watershed moments that it's clear this is not a moment, but a movement. I speak not only of the passage of an Action of Non-Conformity with the General Conference of our denomination, but of the whole… Continue reading How did we get here?
"Standing in the River" (September 27, 2015) In a message inspired by and based upon the Bible studies of Rev. Grace Imathiu at RMN/MFSA's Convocation "Gather at the River," we remember and commit to the need to hold space for one another. We will stand in the river and wait with love, until all people… Continue reading Sermon: Standing in the River
Prayer, Interrupted (June 28, 2015) With grief and sorrow, and the commitment not just to pray, but to act, we lift our laments for the attack on Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina. (Psalm 130, 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27) - - - I quote from a reflection by my colleague, Steve Garnaas-Holmes.
I think there are several ways to accomplish [something less than schism for The UMC], but to me the most promising involve the creation of an United States (or Jurisdictional) Central Conference/s, and a two-volume Book of Discipline, with the option of emending the second volume in each Central Conference. Kind of a way, I hope, of holding together those things we do well-- our ministry and mission, our Social Principles (SOME of them-- I'll get to that), our ways of funding and equipping local ministries across the globe-- and allowing one another the grace and space to carry out our ministries in our contexts. As Wesley would say, in essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things charity.
When I worked on the reproductive rights subcommittee at General Conference, we found that a great number of people from a huge variety of contexts, backgrounds, and beliefs could come to the table and discuss abortion in fruitful ways. We reached an impasse every time we tried to proscribe what doctors and patients should and should not do. But every time we refocused on who were were as United Methodists and how we were called to be in ministry before, during, and after crisis pregnancy, we were able to reach a closer consensus despite our vast differences. When we listened to each others' stories and asked what our proactive, loving, spiritual response should be, we could live in harmony. Despite our differences, Love was enough.
This week, I am heading for Washington, D.C., to the United Methodist Building. Did you know that The United Methodist Church owns a building next door to the Supreme Court? We do, and it's pretty amazing. It's the home of The UMC's General Board of Church and Society, and there I will be receiving some… Continue reading D.C.-Bound
"Breath of Comfort" (December 7, 2014) The prophet Isaiah reminds us that God speaks comfort to us first and foremost, while we wait for justice to unfold. In a time when we see much need for justice and healing around us, let us not rush to DO something to try to fix it, but hear… Continue reading Sermon: Breath of Comfort