A Prayer for Unity in Restless Times

One of the joys of being a United Methodist pastor is leading my congregation towards a deeper appreciation and understanding of the sacraments of communion and baptism. I firmly believe that each time we celebrate the sacraments of communion and baptism that it gives us a time to reflect on what they mean for us and how they call us to live today.

Our liturgy helps us in this. Each time we gather to celebrate communion, for instance, we do so through a prayer we call “The Great Thanksgiving.” It is a beautiful prayer that reminds us of God’s faithfulness, Christ’s passion, and the power of the Holy Spirit that equips us to be the church today.

There is one portion of the prayer that always seem to move me. A portion that reminds me of the difficult and challenging life that God calls us to in this time we find ourselves.

By your Spirit make us one in Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world until Christ comes in final victory and we feast at his heavenly banquet. Continue reading “A Prayer for Unity in Restless Times”

Reflections on the 2012 UMC General Conference

Later this afternoon, the 2012 General Conference of the United Methodist Church will come to a close. The two-week conference, which is held every four years, dealt with several important issues, such as restructuring, guaranteed appointment, and homosexuality. It also dealt with other issues that will not receive as much attention, which includes a change in the amount of money in the Ministerial Education Fund pool, a change in the apportionment formula, and a change in clergy pension.

While it will take some time to fully evaluate the impact these decisions and others will make on the global movement of the United Methodist Church, there is one trend that developed from General Conference that we must address.

That is we are more defined by political thought than we are by our faith in Jesus Christ. Continue reading “Reflections on the 2012 UMC General Conference”