St. Matthew's UMC > eNote > Pastor Neil’s eNote – May 27, 2016

Pastor Neil’s eNote – May 27, 2016

Dear St. Matthews Church Family,
I hope you are doing well this week and are enjoying the sunshine and warmer weather after the seemingly endless days of rain.
On Sunday morning, we will start a new sermon series: Go! Make Disciples. As Christians we know that we are supposed to share our faith. (It’s one of the 5 Commitments we make as members of Christ’s Church.) Sometimes we sense an opportunity to share our faith with someone we know, but we feel unprepared. This series of sermons is designed to help us have conversations with our friends and family that are life-changing, without being alienating. Go! Make Disciples will offer some basic answers to questions about how we can communicate the Good News of our faith. The first sermon in the series is called,Why Does It Matter? The Scripture readings will be Matthew 9:35-38 and Acts 2:43-47.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been telling you about the General Conference of The United Methodist Church, which was held in Portland, OR from May 10 – 20. This week, Bishop Young Jin Cho sent a letter to United Methodists in the Virginia Conference. In it, he describes the recommendation made by the Council of Bishops that was adopted by the General Conference. I’d like to share an excerpt with you:
As you may have read or heard, the General Conference asked the Bishops to lead in seeking unity in Christ on the issues of human sexuality which have been dividing our churches for many years.  The Council of Bishops responded to this call, and the General Conference adopted our proposal.  Here I share with you what one of our colleagues, Bishop Scott Jones of the Great Plains Area, summarized:
  • We are committed to the unity of The United Methodist Church and will seek to strengthen it.
  • We will lead the Church in every part of the world in times of worship, study, discernment, confession and prayer for God’s guidance.
  • We are called to work and pray for more Christ-like unity with each other rather than separation from one another.
  • The Council of Bishops will form a Commission to study all of the paragraphs in our Book of Discipline regarding human sexuality. The subject has been referred to the Commission, and it will be named sometime between now and November 2.
  • The Council of Bishops may choose to call a special session of the General Conference before 2020 to deal with recommendations of the Commission. No decision has been made about whether this is a wise use of the Church’s money and time.
  • The Council of Bishops will have conversation about how the Church can best live in grace with one another, including discussion about ways to avoid further complaints, trials and harm.
  • The Bishops will uphold the discipline of the Church while these conversations continue.
  • All provisions of The Book of Discipline, 2012 on matters of human sexuality will remain in force until a General Conference changes them.
From Pastoral Letter from Bishop Young Jin Cho, May 26, 2016
As we wait to see what the ultimate results of the 2016 General Conference will be, I want to share the link to an article in The Atlantic that describes the challenges facing our denomination and ask you continue praying for the Bishops and other leaders of The UMC. I also want to remind you that the Church is far more than controversial topics that make headlines. Through the Church, God is still calling us to be and to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Through the Church, God is still transforming the world. Around the world, United Methodists are still worshipping God every week, growing in faith through personal devotion and small group ministries, serving Christ in the church and in the world, giving generously to support life-changing ministries, and proclaiming the Good News to anyone who will listen. There is much to celebrate!
In his letter, Bishop Cho says it well, “Although there were ups and downs during the sessions of the General Conference, we worshiped together, conversed with each other and struggled together. Together we recommitted ourselves to the mission which the risen Christ has entrusted to us. Therefore, we will continue to go and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
If you’re in town, please join us on Sunday as we consider how we can carry out the mission of the Church and Go! Make Disciples. If you are traveling, don’t forget that you can listen to the live stream of our services on Sunday morning or catch up on the first sermon in the series when it is posted next week.
I hope you have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend as we remember the sacrifices made by men and women of the armed forces in service to our nation.
In Christ,


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