OK - it is that time of year again - Annual Conference this year is back in Syracuse at the ON Center June 5-8. There, many United Methodists will gather to worship, Bible study, Holy Conference and to once again elect delegates to General Conference in 2020. Not surprisingly, there will be more debate and controversy about what happened at the Special General Conference and the following Judicial Council decisions and what it all means for the future of our congregations, Annual Conference and Denomination.
So - What happened? In a nutshell, the Global UMC voted, through its clergy and laity representatives, by a narrow margin (53% to 47%) to adopt the Traditional Plan which not only maintains exclusionary language, it reinforces the exclusion of certain folks from full inclusion in the UMC and also introduces mandatory punishments for non-conformity.
Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb has announced regional gatherings that he will be hosting throughout the Upper New York Conference in April and May. These regional gatherings will primarily focus on unpacking the Judicial Council’s decision regarding the constitutionality of the petitions that made up the Traditional Plan affirmed by the delegates of the 2019 Special Session of The General Conference. It will also be a time to help attendees to understand what becomes part of the Book of Discipline on January 1, 2020 and what does not. These times will include an opportunity for questions and conversation about what God might be doing in and through The United Methodist Church in the future. There will be a brief time of worship at each gathering as well.
Our local gathering will be May 29, 2019 from 6:30- 8:30 p.m. at Shenendahowa UMC.
For a re-cap of General Conference 2019 decisions and Judicial Council rulings - information may be found at this site: http://www.unyumc.org/events/general-conference-decisions-2019.
For information about traditionalist ideologies - please visit wesleyancovenant.org
For information about inclusive ideologies - please visit rmnnetwork.org
For information an article by Walter WInk “Homosexuality and the Bible” please visit: http://www.godweb.org/wink.htm
Look for a re-cap of Annual Conference in our next Muse!Blessings,
During the Season of Easter - come and explore the Book of Revelation. Don't avoid this last book of the Bible out of fear or discomfort - our ignorance of it could leave us easily swayed by others who "know" what the book means today. I don't have any secret knowledge - but I'd like to offer this opportunity to start a discussion and for us to grow together as we read Lectionary selections of this book on Sunday mornings.
From day1.org "Saltwater Apocalypse": "The Book of Revelation has confounded Christians for centuries, much the same way that life itself confounds us. Was it written in code? What does it mean? To what do its symbols refer? Is it a message about the past, the future, or the present? As early as 210 A.D. Gaius of Rome forbade the public reading of this book because of its ability to create turmoil in the people who, as we all tend to do, sought to interpret the work solely from their own context. William Barclay called it the "playground of religious eccentrics."
While much does remain unclear, the purpose of this book is very clear. It was written primarily to encourage and inspire particular Christians under Roman persecution to endure and remain faithful during the time of tribulation, both the internal battles waged within a believer between personal faithfulness and the abandonment of faith and the external battles waged by a culture out of control, threatened by unenlightened leaders and pagan values.
It was a time of turmoil and terror in which the promise of ease and safety long believed to be a result of faith, could only be achieved by abandoning faith altogether, or by living a maddening double life. People of every race and circumstance saw every other as the enemy. The only hope for unity seemed to be in the heavy-handed control of an out-of-touch government that was basing its values on greed, power and the lack of visible dissension. It is into that context that John offers his vision of another way. It is a vision of hope.
To understand Revelation for our day, we have to understand the nature of hope. For Christians hope is not a wish. It is not a tooth under a pillow, or fingers crossed or just one more Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes try. Hope for a Christian is an assurance, a firm and binding promise. It is a sure thing. Hope is not a feeling. It is a fact. It is a fact rooted in the reality of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and assured by the amazing, steadfast, unshakable love of God for God's people. God will not be shaken. Hope is independent of circumstances and it will never be conquered by evil. Even if hurt seems to be winning, the battle for God has already been won." Come and join in on this Sunday morning (during worship) book study!