The Future of The United Methodist Church
General Conference, which meets every four years to renew our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ and set our polity and doctrine, met this May in Portland, Oregon. Delegates from all around the world came together to worship, pray, and make decisions.
Over 900 petitions regarding our theological understanding of human sexuality were discussed. A variety of perspectives were shared; painful discussions took place. Tears were shed. There were some who believed that it was time for the United Methodist Church to move forward as separate groups while others fought for unity in the Body of Christ called United Methodism.
The Council of Bishops are appointing a diverse group to study all references to human sexuality in the United Methodist Book of Discipline and then come back with a recommendation (in 2018 or 2020) for a way forward. This motion was approved by 32 votes.
These are difficult times for our denomination. At Hyde Park Community United Methodist we are committed to seeking God’s wisdom through vigilant prayer. We are a blessed, diverse community. Bishop N.T. Wright offers a way forward as we seek God’s guidance in community:
“True wisdom is both bold and humble. It is never afraid to say what it thinks it has seen, but will always cover other angles of vision.”
This week we conclude our sermon series “Tapping into the Power of the Hoy Spirit.” Ephesians 6:10-20 helps us understand how to tap into the Spirit’s power for strength. As United Methodists we need to put on the full armor of God and be ready to face the future without fear. The full armor of God, according to Paul, includes these wonderful gifts from our God who loves us and equips us to be strong in the Lord:
- the belt of truth
- shoes of the gospel of peace
- the breastplate of righteousness
- the shield of faith
- the helmet of salvation
- the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God)
We, God’s people, will find strength in the Lord! I look forward to celebrating the Lord’s Day with you.
Pastor Cathy Johns