6 January Sunday
"This Little Light of Mine"
Thought for the Week
“My fear is not that our great movement, known as the Methodists, will eventually cease to exist or one day die from the earth. My fear is that our people will become content to live without the fire, the power, the excitement, the supernatural element that makes us great.”
On February 23-26, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church will be meeting in St. Louis. This is a special session of General Conference, which was called to follow up on the denomination's ongoing debate about the level of inclusion of LGBTQ persons in the United Methodist Church, particularly in the areas of same-sex marriages and ordination of "self-avowed practicing homosexuals." As those of us who studied the book Living Faithfully together this fall can tell you, this is not an easy issue, and you may be aware that it has been a topic of debate for over 45 years in the United Methodist Church. The hope is that we can come to an agreement about how the United Methodist Church as a whole will be able to move forward.
A basic summary of what will be under consideration, based on the work of a group called "The Commission on a Way Forward," follows:
The United Methodist Book of Discipline states that:
· The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore, self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.
· Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.
The most prominent plans/proposals submitted for consideration at the special conference are:
· The One Church Plan would shift to churches and conferences decisions regarding ministry with or by LGBTQ persons rather than maintaining a single standard that operates throughout the worldwide church. It would also remove some of the language in the Book of Discipline that limits LGBTQ people’s involvement as United Methodists.
· The Connectional Conference Plan would create three connectional conferences based on perspective on LGBTQ issues. The three connectional conferences would function throughout the worldwide church and the five existing U.S. jurisdictions would be abolished.
· The Simple Plan would remove all language from the Book of Discipline that excludes LGBTQ people from full participation in the church.
· The Traditional Plan would affirm the current language about homosexuality in the Book of Discipline and seek to strengthen enforcement for violations.
· The Modified Traditional Plan would add to the Traditional Plan a committee with authority to hold bishops accountable to the sexuality standards in the Book of Discipline. It would offer a $200,000 grant to annual conferences that want to leave the denomination because of disagreement over LGBTQ issues.
How all this will impact Weston United Methodist Church is yet to be determined. So for now, I invite you to be in prayer for our DS, Rene Perez, and the other delegates from New England who will join others from around the world in St. Louis next month. May the Holy Spirit be present with grace and vision as they gather, and truly find "A Way Forward."
Be blessed, my friends.
Tues. Jan. 8 – 10:30 am and 6:30 pm – The Journey, Chapter 4
Tues. Jan. 15 – 10:30 am and 6:30 pm – The Journey, Chapter 5 – final session
Prayer Shawl Ministry
Wed. Jan. 9 – 10 am Knitting
Creating a Culture of Renewal Leadership Group
Wed., Jan. 9 – 6:30 pm
Staff Parish Relations Committee
Sun., Jan. 13 – after worship:
Bristol Lodge Serving Day
Mon. Jan. 14 – 5:0.0 pm
Mon. Jan. 14 – 6:30 pm at Parsonage
Tues. Jan. 15 – 7 pm Trustees
Wed. Jan. 16 – 11:45 am
Wed. Jan. 16 – 7:00 pm
Thur. Jan. 17 – 7:00 pm
Small Group Meal
Sun. Jan. 20 – first of several – watch for sign up