Tag Archive: United Methodist


Sunday night I had the chance to teach a little of our Methodism in America history along with a little bit about Millbrook UMC’s own history. It was an interesting experience for me to weave a story that covers hundreds of years in 50 minutes. Telling the story of history is interesting because you really have to work hard at being faithful to the story. You can’t say everything. You have to tell a story. So what things do you emphasize? What things do you leave out? Then come the questions about the motivation behind those choices. These questions I have dealt with has made me more keenly aware of the voices I listen to that are narrating the world around me.

IMG_1117Remembering the story this time I was struck how the Methodist church in America didn’t start as just another split in the long line of dissenting voices arguing about doctrine, money, or practice,  but out of a situation where the people participating in the Methodist movement had limited opportunity to participate in the sacraments like communion after America claimed independence from England. The other thing that grabbed my attention was how our faith family tree looks. While we didn’t start as a typical split we Methodists have had our splits, however there is something beautiful about seeing the lines come back together. Reconciliation between individuals is hard enough, but at an institutional level…. something tells me the Holy Spirit had to be involved in this. Even after one of the splits was over issues as intense as slavery there were efforts early on after the Civil War toward reconciliation.

There is still reconciling work to be done across racial lines today, and in this generation our Methodist movement faces a potential split over differences of understanding scripture in regards to sexuality. My hope is that we would remember the great moments of reconciliation that we have participated in before and our prayer at communion: “By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other and one in ministry to all the world.”

That’s the story I hope I am weaving.

Lord Jesus, you who taught us to pray ‘Our Father’, help us to understand the depth of significance of being apart of the ‘our’ together with those who differ from us so that together we find ourselves moved by your Holy Spirit in reconciling all things so that we reflect your kingdom and your will being done on earth, in us, as it is in heaven. Amen. 

Central Themes

During Lent I have been reading about how forgiveness is central to our Christian faith. God’s desire is for us not only to be reconciled to God, but also with each other. Forgiveness is to be our way of life together that makes this reconciliation possible. Our being human means we will hurt and be hurt by each other and God has made away for us to not destroy each other.

I hope you have been reading these: http://nccumc.org/reflections/lent-2015/. I have gotten behind on reading these, but found my way back and they are good. I hope and pray that this season of reflection on racial matters leads toward some healing in our world. In these readings I have seen how forgiveness has been central to moments of healing, and I’ve seen where forgiveness is still needed in our community (and in me).

Here are a few other things that our fellow United Methodist sisters and brothers are leading in that has made me excited today to be a part of this movement that is seeking to participate in the reconciling work of God:

Fruitful Conversations about Race videostream
Moving Faith Communities to Fruitful Conversations about Race, a moderated conversation sponsored by Wesley Theological Seminary (Washington, DC), will take place on Tuesday, March 17. Panelists will include the Rev. Dr. Joseph W. Daniels Jr., (district superintendent in the Baltimore-Washington Conference-UMC), the Rev. Tom Berlin, (senior pastor, Floris UMC), Ronald C. Machen Jr., (U. S. Attorney for the District of Columbia), and the Rev. Rachel Cornwell, (lead pastor, Silver Spring UMC). Mike McCurry, Wesley’s distinguished professor of public theology and former spokesperson for President Clinton, will introduce the panel. All are welcome to this event on Tuesday, March 17, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., at Oxnam Chapel at Wesley Theological Seminary or via livestream at www.wesleyseminary.edu/live. RSVPs are requested. RSVP to events@wesleyseminary.edu by March 12..

And then there is this:

Just Peace and “Leading in Anxious Times”

visit: http://justpeaceumc.org/.

More Connections

This past Tuesday I sat across a table from a team of UM clergy and responded to their questions about my calling to be a pastor. As I continue further in this process I am coming to really appreciate how we United Methodists do things. There seems to be this deep understanding that pervades the way we do things: we try to do things in community. I, from the beginning, haven’t been allowed to do this thing by myself. When I first perceived God calling me to be a pastor the calling had to be affirmed by my local church:Trinity UMC in Ruston. Now, as I’m participating in this step of the journey I am reminded again that I am not doing this alone. That team of people who sat across from me have committed to join with me to further discern this calling of God to be a pastor. I am thankful that I can’t stand up proclaiming this call by myself. So in the future when those glorious days of ministry happen and all seems to goes amazingly well I can’t say it was me. When that day of ministry happens that goes so terribly rough that would question if God really called me into this I can stand confident that I didn’t discern God’s will on my own.

Maybe this is a glimpse of how we should do things as a the people of God. Discern God’s will together. Pray together. Support each other in doing God’s will together. Equip each other to do God’s will together. Be a people of God – not a collection of individuals.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who does everything in perfect unity of community, Thank you for inviting us and providing opportunities for us to live into doing things in community that reflects the unity you desire. 

Amen

Doxology

I am now in my 4th year of seminary while serving as a student pastor at St. Paul United Methodist Church. As the season of seminary will be drawing to a close after this year I am now participating in the process to become a Provisional Member of the North Carolina Annual Conference. This process involves some writing. Before this stage of my adventure in follow God began I had no idea, maybe besides seminary, what any of the U.M. pastors I had known participated in as they journeyed to become a pastor.

January 2nd of 2015 I have to turn in a large document where I have to write 15-20 pages about my strengths, growing edges, and experiences of leadership, then 15-20 pages about how I perceive my role as a provisional member along with my understanding of personal stewardship including everything from finances, to my health and my relationships. The third section I will write includes 20-25 pages about worship including a sermon manuscript and a video recording of me preaching and presiding at the communion table. The last section is 20-25 pages about my theological understanding of God and creation.

I have been to a number of meetings to prepare us for the writing process and I have begun to feel the stress about what all is required. A temptation has crept in to consider this work as a hoop to jump through. However, after reflecting on what Rev. Greg Moore said about how I am seeking to join a religious order and some other reflections, I have begun looking forward to this process. The level of effort and work will not change (it may even increase), but I am now coming to recognize that I have the blessed opportunity to write a Doxology. I get to write about God and how I have been invited to participate in the Triune God’s love, life and mission in the context of the United Methodist Church. I get to write a praise to God by answering questions like How do you understand the following traditional evangelical doctrines: Repentance; Justification; Regeneration;  Sanctification; The marks of the Christian life? and what is my understanding of the Resurrection and eternal life! I get to write a praise to God for the church and what the church’s role is God’s reign. I get to proclaim in writing the wonders and greatness of God.

I thank God for this opportunity. I pray that the Holy Spirit will inspire my writing so that what I write may truly be a doxology.

Father God, by the resurrection of your Son and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit may our lives be ever moving more and more toward a life of doxology. Amen.

Doxology

If you have wondered if God may be calling you to step in this direction of ministry I invite you to connect with me and in the mean time explore this site: http://thecallnc.org/