Pastor's Corner

Steve’s Space

Psalm 46:1-2 (NLT2) “1 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. 2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.”

I saw a quote by Brene Brown the other day. It says, “Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.” None of us likes uncertainty but the truth is that it continues to hang around in the nooks and crannies of life. Many have said it in one way or another, but the truth of an old traditional proverb says it best: “There is nothing certain, but the uncertain.”

Against this backdrop of uncertainty, though, we have our faith in God, our relationship with Christ and our trust in God’s Word to guide us through times of doubt and insecurity. That is why scripture must be our guiding light when we face changes or potential changes happening around us.

In our report from Annual Conference you heard our delegates: Tom Abram and Keith Currens describe a number of potential changes that are being debated in the United Methodist Church. In February of 2019 a special session of our General Conference (the world-wide United Methodist Church) will be debating and hopefully definitively deciding how we as a denomination will deal with the question of whether or not the ordination of practicing LGBTQ persons will be allowed in the United Methodist Church (Practicing LGBTQ persons refers to married or sexually active Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer or Questioning and Intersexed persons). Since 1972 practicing (sexually active) gay men and women have not been eligible for ordination as ministers of the gospel in the United Methodist Church. Some believe this policy should change.

At the direction of the last General Conference, the Council of Bishops formed a Commission on a Way Forward to lead a discussion within the church and offer a way we might remain a single denomination with very diverse views on this subject. The commission has nearly completed their work and is finalizing their report to the Council of Bishops. According to the Council of Bishops full details of the plans and legislative proposals will be released as soon as they are translated into all the languages used within the UMC around the world. That publication date will be no later than July 8, 2018.

This fall I will be giving all of the details in my Wednesday morning and evening bible studies. In addition to the Bible I will be using 2 resources. The primary text I will use is Are We Really BetterTogether?An Evangelical Perspective on the Division in the UMC by Rob Renfroe and Walter Fenton. The other text I will refer to is Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today by Adam Hamilton.

I hope you will join me as we look at these issues together with a spirit of openness and generosity as we discern the future of the United Methodist Church.

See you Sunday, Steve

[Steve's Space for June 25, 2018]

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