the beginnings of the Methodist Mission in America?

A number of years ago when the Episcopal church has elected Bishop Gene Robinson and had gone through the turmoil of theological, ethical, and cultural debates of gay clergy and affirming those positions there were many from the Episcopal church. Not just because of that reason, there were a few localized reasons, my friend Thomas left his position within the Episcopal church and started an Anglican church under the direction of a Rwandan Bishop and the Anglican Mission in America. So essentially he started a new church a few miles from his prior church and was ordained as a missionary to America.

Yes, this is a very short history to some really complex decisions and people. But this is a blog posting, not a book.

With that short history in mind, I am curious to see if something similar would be at play within the United Methodist Church as they approach General Conference 2012 and American United Methodist Pastors have become more vocal in their intentions and support of a full inclusion into the church.

Africa is our fastest (and maybe only) growing region of the church and they are extremely influenced by a conservative methodist framework. Again, more sweeping generalizations.

So I was reading this article on a “Splinter Group” of Methodist leaders who have resigned their credentials and started a “Methodist Revival” group.

five former United Methodist Church pastors who recently hogged the limelight when they resigned from their church at the same time, will today launch their church, the Methodist Revival Church (MRF) at Harare Gardens today.

Former UMC pastor and MRF leader Philip Mupindu, will be the main speaker at the event that is expected to run from 8am to 2pm. MRF marketing officer Francis Chitambira said various gospel musicians including Agatha Murudzwa were lined up for the event.

Also expected to perform at the event are various choral groups including Methodist groups Marimba aJehovha Gospel Singers and Nyevero Dzedenga. “Many people from various parts of the country confirmed they will attend,” Chitambira said.

“We also invited members of other churches, including our former church’s bishop (Eben Nhiwatiwa) and pastors. although I am not sure whether the bishop will be able to accommodate our event in his schedule, some pastors confirmed.”

Chitambira said the aim of the launch was to explain the new church, its origins and mission, which will serve as apostles seek to bring more people to God through working with other churches to spread the word. The new church maintains the red colour being used by UMC, but dropped the colour blue for green.

“The red on our church logo symbolises the Holy Ghost fire coming from heaven towards the church and also the blood of Jesus who died for all humankind,” Chitambira said. “Green symbolises life. We also have the Bible, showing that we are bound by the word of God, which is a living word.”

The new church will also use hymns, from both the UMC and the Methodist in Zimbabwe, together with other praise and worship songs. Although UMC and the Mupindu group maintained that the UMC as a church did not split, but that just five people withdrew their services from the church, the fact that some congregants left the UMC to fellowship with them means there was a split.

Call me alarmist if you like. History does repeat itself and I am sure that this idea could be a real possibility at play if/when all things go crazy in the United Methodist Church.

Delegation Grudge Match! #umc #umclead #tnac2011

While at Annual Conference we found ourselves in some deadlocks of General Conference and Jurisdictional Conference delegate voting. Talk was made of suspending the rules in order to implement a more stream lined and exciting approach to choosing delegates for GC & JC. Have an all out Grudge Match!


Headline Match! Delegation Grudge Match! Not sure who or how to vote for candidates? Not sure how to get someone from making amendments to the amendments that wasn’t even ratified or was taken out of the order of discussion for or against. Not sure who gets voted as a delegate for the big league conferences?

Undercard Match! Probationary Candidates vs the Board of Ordained Ministry!! Who is good enough to get ordained but then those who are to be passed for another year or two?.. Well, Let’s settle this once and for all with a United Methodist Holy Conferencing Grudge Match (you are welcome to market it as a Death Match if you like).

So in this Wesleyan Battle Royal we came up with some of the fighters on this Holy Conferencing Royal Rumble (feel free to create your own.

  • “Pastor of Disaster”
  • “The Pastor of Pain”
  • “The Vicar of Vexation”
  • “The Reverend of Rough”
  • “The Clergy Killer”
  • “Minister of Mayhem”
  • “The Church Terminator”
  • “The Fundamentalist”
  • “The Libanator”
  • “The Protester”
  • “Blessed Peacemaker” (special guest referee)
  • “Honky Tonk Pastor”
  • “Rev Riot”
  • “Means of Grapple”
  • “The Bishop of Bullying”
  • “The Witness”
  • “Superintendant of Smashing”
  • “Undercover Baptist”

Feel free to create any fighters story lines.. I’m personally looking forward to the battle between “the Minister of Mayhem” v “the Bishop of Bullying.”

The Book of Discipline The Musical #umc #umclead #tnac2011

With the success of “The Book of Mormon”  & our United Methodist Church Annual Conferences happening around the UMC over the past month and half. Some friends & I had running imaginations that “The Book of Discipline” is just as confusing as the Book of Mormon so why not create a equally compelling broadway play that can debut right before General Conference in 2012.

“The Book of Discipline” a musical based on the doctrinal works of the United Methodist Church. Musical numbers would include:

  • “Prevenient Grace, How Sweet the Realization”
  • “Where As, Hence, Be It”
  • “Christ, from whom All Committees Flow”
  • “Take My Life and Let it SPRC”
  • “I am a Methodist…and Methodists just whatever…”
  • “Depth of Resolutions”
  • “Jesus, Lover of my Social Principles”
  • “Lo He comes with Consensus Descending”
  • “Where As, Hence, Be It Therefore”
  • “Oh Come and Dwell in, this huge book we Created”
  • “Oh for a Thousand ‘Vital Congregations’ To Sing”

Creators & Contributors to “The Book of Discipline” the musical Heather Bennett, Russell Hale, Brad Smith, & you who leave ideas in the comments.


Does the UMC really want us to disengage? #umclead

In pondering the whole “Call to Action” and my thoughts yesterday on “Poking the Church” it had me wondering. Why don’t more people get involved and take on their communities and their faith.. What is the one thing? Are we all just to lazy? or maybe we claim to be to ‘busy?’

Maybe, as Dave Meslin puts in this short talk, its more a web of things that compound. He’s talking up a civic cultural apathy. But this in many ways translates into our church cultures. Especially found his framework of intentional exclusion very insightful.

Poke the Church! #umclead

Last week I spent a good part of a day listening and communicating with a number of folks during my UMC’s global Leadership Summit webcast. It was a good time to be a twitter native. Our community of folks were not intentionally courted for the webcast, but we sure did have our own little conference. Jeremy has a great run down of all that fun.

The main focus of the summit was content that is held within this “Call to Action” a document created for the church that tells us stuff we’ve all pretty much known. The United Methodist Church is dying (at least in the USA) & there are some basic tenants of vibrant growing church communities to refract off of.

My problem engaging the Call to Action as I did with the ReThink Church campaign is simple. We are still doing a bunch of talking..

Recently read “Poke the Box” by Seth Godin. Like most Godin books he beats his themes like a roadkill on the interstate. Poke the Box is this.. Get out there, stop talking and do something..

Our church hierarchy needs to stop being a talking head and get out and do something if they expect to bring change to the denomination that has offered a living. Are our bishops actually helping to lead change hands on? Probably not, because that task might seem gigantic. But if you can do that for one or two and find some successes then the credibility and branding of that change agent carries greater than saying the right things.

Agency heads and employees need to stop seeing their work as some given a career but a passionate mission that takes immersion into where they need to be. It is my observation that agency work is about meetings after meetings to know what is the right thing.. Who needs right all the time when constantly worried about being right leads to an eventual death?

I don’t care about people who want to talk change. I want to see and know people who are doing change. That is exciting to me and worth a global conversation.

in my opinion..