I was interested to see in the Aurora (the electronic newsletter of the Alaska UMC) that Duke University has completed the publication of the manuscript (the handwritten, which is to say, the unpublished) works of Charles Wesley. Together with another collection of the published works of both Charles and John Wesley, the combined archive represents the equivalent of a 15-volume printed edition.
I’m trying to learn more about Methodism by following the General Convention. Here’s a tweet of something Will Willimon observed there:
The DS pointed out that it’s a goal (making 1 disciple per year) unreached by over half of UM congregations. – Willimon #gc2012
— Will Willimon (@WillimonTweets) April 28, 2012
Wow. The goal is to make one disciple per year, and half of UMC congregations aren’t doing it.
I’m still figuring out the Methodist side of things at Jewel Lake Parish. But there’s a Methodist conference going on, and I’m trying to learn things as I go. I saw in the news that the Methodists are sticking with their existing teaching about homosexuality. They retained, by a 61% majority, the current wording of their Book of Discipline:
The Social Principles section of United Methodist teachings on sexuality in the Book of Discipline states: “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching;” and “Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage.”
An amendment to these statements would have added the sentence: “As a denomination, we are conflicted regarding homosexual expressions of human sexuality.”
I admit I haven’t followed the UMC Conference as closely as I probably ought to have. I’m still learning, well, pretty much everything about the United Methodist side of Jewel Lake Parish, and denominational activities aren’t at the top of my list. Still, it’s something I have some interest in, so I tried to pay at least a little attention to news about the conference.
Here is a video that was shown as part of the GC2012 Connectional Table Presentation:
(The program is about three quarters of an hour, so unless you’re really interested, I’d recommend you scrub forward and watch the two minutes that begin at 40:15. Or you can go directly there by clicking this link.)
The video is concerned especially with the future of the UMC, or one possible future for the UMC, but it could be about the PC(USA) just as well.
That doesn’t have to be the future of the church, but for two many congregations, it will be. God is doing amazing things in the world—not just overseas, but in our country as well. But God won’t force it on us. If we refuse to be part of it, God will use other churches. So the question for us, and really every church, is whether or not we are willing to move forward into God’s great adventure.