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.

have you gotten your official united methodist calendar? i think i have

Calendar550x480one of those tools in ministry i've used year in and out is the methodist calendar. i've used the classic spiral bound calendar many of those years. my fav details is the lectionary listings not to mention the special days listed in the classic calendar. it also fits nicely in my briefcase.

the last two years i've used the wall sized dry erase calendar which was helpful, but i never spent a large majority of my time in the office so it wasn't as helpful.

this year i'm kinda stoked to try out the digital version that is google cal compatible. i'll probably also order a classic one as well, you should get a version as well.

me speaking & talking : here & there for your amusement

Pcn10_speaker_300x250next week i'll be doing some of that speaking thing that i do.

wednesday thru friday i'll be in and around the dallas area for the united methodist reporters communicators conference. i'll be leading a churchy discussion based off the keynote speakers thoughts on new media strategy. the possibilities of that conversation could be amazing, so i'm excited to get to lead that. the next day i'll sit on a panel with a bunch of social media geek / church nerd friends on, what else, social media. that will be easily enjoyable. hope we can bring some stuff to the table that challenges everyone in the room. that's the task i'm giving myself.

flying back on friday and then on saturday is up early to volunteer with podcamp nashville and put on my session of 'sex, lies, and social media.' that's going to be interesting & a whole lot of fun. vegas is betting my awkward statement and subsequent blushing will be an over/under at 4 (its just 20 mins of talking otherwise it'd be much higher).

unfortunately, if you are not already signed up for the communicators conference then you'll have to miss me this go round, but you can still sign up for podcamp & check out me and some of the other fabulous minds of technology and what they are thinking about.

transgendered pastor comes out to congregation : what’s in a history

i stumbled upon this article about pastor david weekley who recently came out to his congregation about his sexual reassignment past.

He told them that in 1984, just nine years after undergoing
extensive sex-reassignment surgeries, he was ordained by the Methodist
Church without telling anyone of his original gender at birth.

i am pretty stoked to hear of the congregations response, which was positive in support. it shows a wonderful example of grace & acceptance. i do have a wonder when it comes to the big umc church. what is in a person's history that needs to be vetted out in the process of ordination?

in the little segment i have quoted, it is said that he didn't tell anyone of his original gender. i'm fine with that not being an everyday conversation piece, but when we talk of an ordination process (one that i understand to be extensive and thorough) that it isn't a topic of conversation i find hard to imagine.

who is responsible for asking the question or being open? is it even an issue?

what do you think?

update: we are getting a good conversation over the posting at my facebook wall. if you're a friend chime in. if you're not a friend, ask, and then do the same. or just drop a thought here.

ministry tool you might not have heard of : new tech for the old tool

United Methodist Reporter & Variable Print as a Ministry Tool from Gavin Richardson on Vimeo.

note: i will be open about this one, i sit on the board for the united methodist reporter communications so i'm a bit biased that you need to use them for this ministry tip. but you might be able to find another variable printer.

do you ever feel like your printing needs miss the mark or you are having to create massive publications that are super wordy to meet you church congregation or ministry? well, that is a thing of the past if you want it to be.

andy clued me into the world of variable print some three years ago & i just love it. i have my plans this year to harness some of its beauty for our youth ministry.

the basic concept is this, you combine a spreadsheet document with some specific 'variables' such as children/young adult/active-inactive and your publication is set up (similar in concept to a mailmerge where they put your name into the 'dear someone' spot) with variable designations. when its all set up your publication is run with individual personalization in full color, address printed on, and then mailed & you never have to look at it.

cool thing about this

  1. gone are the days when you needed to do plates that look the same for everyone and cost you extra money to make simple changes
  2. you can cut down on the paper usage because you don't need to produce mega documents that you're specific ministry gets lost in the mix of everyone elses
  3. color printing (at dirt cheap from what you might think) gets an almost 85% more response rate than a black & white or one color publication
  4. youth can feel affirmed when their newsletter/postcard has them and/or their friends doing ministry activities (and they aren't mixed into a huge messy collage)
  5. you never have to deal with stamping an envelope, taping a trifold, once it prints they can send it for you

so, if you want to know more about this stuff give andy a shout. he's one of the sales reps at the umr & my buddy.