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From the Pastor's Desk - 9/1/2022

From the Pastor's Desk

September 1, 2022 Dear Friends, No doubt many of you in recent weeks have been seeing news and social media reports about the Global Methodist Church, which officially began last May, and how some United Methodist congregations have been voting to “disaffiliate” from the UMC and join the Global Methodist Church. Or simply become independent of either. This breaks my heart, as you might imagine. The United Methodist Church has been my heart home pretty much all my life and to see it torn asunder is just too much. And, as you can also imagine, I have been giving much thought, prayers, research, and conversation as to how to approach this both as leader of this congregation, and as a follower of Jesus Christ. I think what might be helpful to you is that for the next several weeks I want to write a series of weekly essays with a goal of articulating a Christ centered, grace focused way of honoring Scripture and the heart of the Gospel message that avoids the either/or “you have to pick which side you are on” polarized world we seem to live in. But today let me leave you with a few initial points. First, please be very careful about what you read. There is a lot of misinformation, that is not only incorrect, but at times seems to be an intentional strategy of fear mongering. I will in the weeks to come give you some links to reliable, factual information. Please don’t get caught up in the negativity. The sky is not falling. We are okay. Second, some social media stories imply that each church has to vote on which denomination to join, and that there are deadlines coming quickly so we better hurry up and vote. This is not true. The fact is that we do not have to vote if we don’t want to. Ever. If we do not vote, we by default stay the same; a part of the UMC. Third, despite what you may have read, the UMC is still the same. We have not changed our theology, or our polity. In fact, we can’t vote on theological principles, such as belief in the Trinity. We vote on budgets, not on foundational doctrinal beliefs. Forth, there are many important things to consider, such as everything from finances and insurance, to the great potential of splitting the church, to our own theological understandings of who we are and how we are to engage the world. This needs time, prayer, discussion, and reflection. As such, your Leadership Council is indeed taking its time and in no hurry to press the issue. Fifth, I will outline the exact process later, but know that if such a vote is taken, it will be by the whole church and not by any one committee. Finally, let me leave you with a quote from Bishop Bickerton “To label the United Methodist Church as the liberal counterpart to the Global Methodist Church is too simple, as the UMC counts itself as a “big tent” organization. United Methodism is made up of conservatives, centrists, and liberals. It is a very diverse denomination of age, of ethnicity, of theology. It is not a liberal church. It is not a conservative church. It is not a centrist church. In fact, it’s all of those.” I feel like this is true for our congregation, up to a point. We are diverse in our own way. We are not all the same, and that is by God’s design. We are still all in this together. We all need each other. We all need this congregation to be our spiritual home, living in love, grace, and obedience to the head of the household, our Lord Jesus Christ. Your prayers, wisdom, patience, and love are needed! Grace and Peace, Pastor George

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