Showing posts from 2010

Beginning Our Journey on Uncharted Paths

A New Verse in a Timeless Song

by Mary Brooke Casad

The people of The United Methodist Church are in the midst of crafting a pivotal stanza that will shape the future of our denomination.

We are seeking to write a verse that is grand in vision and unifying in power. One that will help us fulfill our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. One that will help us fully align with and reflect God’s work in the world.

Several groups mandated by the 2008 General Conference or convened by agencies have been studying different aspects of church life. This fall, those groups are bringing their mid-quadrennium findings to the Connectional Table. The groups submitting reports include the Call to Action Steering Committee, the Committee to Study the Worldwide Nature of The United Methodist Church, the Sustainability Advisory Group, the Church Systems Task Force, the Apportionment Structure Study Group, the Committee to Study the Ministry, the Committee on Faith and Order, the Council of …

UMs ‘Strongly Desire’ Worldwide Ministry; Seek Greater Equality, Power-Sharing and Freedom Outside US

Rev. Forbes Matonga, Zimbabwe West Annual Conference
Connectional Table member and member of the Committee to Study the Worldwide UMC

As we come to the end of our listening process as the Worldwide Nature of the UMC Study Committee, and as we approach the most critical phase of writing the report, we believe we have listened carefully to the voices of the United Methodists across the connection as well as from those to whom we relate in the larger Methodist Family.

We have listened to organized United Methodist groups in the United States and the general agencies, we have held listening posts in the Philippines, Liberia, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Côte d’Ivoire and we have heard from the central conferences and the annual conferences through the vote on the constitutional amendments. We believe we have heard.

Brothers and sisters, your committee is at this point where wisdom to guide our denomination is critical especially from the Connectional Table and t…

Call to Action Team Releases Findings of Two Important Studies

Dear Colleagues in Ministry,

The Call to Action Steering Team has recently released the findings of two independent studies of The United Methodist Church:  (1) a Congregational Vitality Research Project and (2) an Operational Assessment Project.  These studies can be found at

The first study used a rigorous and comprehensive regression analysis to identify statistically significant “drivers” of local church vitality.  The second study employed proven methods for in-depth interviews and surveys in a careful review of the mission, culture, values, structure, and processes of our church leading to a reliable report about the perceived state of the UMC connection.

Since these important projects produced findings that should inform our choices about future actions, we invite you to carefully read and reflect on this research and share a few recommendations that you believe emerge from the data and will advance the mission of the church. We are looking for a few key,…

2010 State of the Church Report

June 23, 2010

Cynthia Dopke
The Connectional Table
Tele: 773-777-7133
Cell: 773-301-0857

The 2010 State of the Church Report Now Available

Dallas, Texas -- The median age of United Methodists, the number of professing members around the world and our current giving trends are among the topics found in the newly released 2010 State of The Church report. The report is now available online at

The report is an annual look at where The United Methodist Church stands statistically in membership, giving and church growth. This year's report also offers key findings from the United States Congregational Life Survey and resources to help United Methodists stay up-to-date with important conversations taking place across the denomination that could impact church structure and processes in the future.

"In this annual report, we see signs of hope," said Bish…

Reflections on Worship at Puno UMC, Manila, Philippines

By Stefany Simmons, Office Manager
The Connectional Table of The United Methodist Church.

I recently had the amazing opportunity to travel to Manila, The Philippines, with The Connectional Table of The United Methodist Church and the Study Committee on the Worldwide Nature of the United Methodist Church. I consider my job as office manager of The Connectional Table an honor, and I am blessed and humbled to have been given the opportunity to serve these groups of leaders in the Church.

On Thursday, April 15, I left my home near Corpus Christi, Texas to spend 10 days in Manila providing administrative and logistical support for their spring meetings. I was filled with excitement and anticipation at the experiences this international trip would inevitably entail. While there were indeed countless wonderful experiences, the highlight of my trip was on Sunday, April 18, when I had the opportunity to worship at Puno United Methodist in Quezon City. Here are some highlights…

Passionate Worship

Keeping Current Across the Connection

April was a busy month this year, with several significant meetings taking place across the denomination. United Methodist groups are on the move as they begin their work in preparation of General Conference 2012.

Here is a recap of action items United Methodists will not want to miss:

Planting Seeds – Celebrating the Harvest

During its April 21-23 meeting in Manila, Philippines, the 60-member Connectional Table (CT) approved an exciting plan to measure local church contributions of making disciples of Jesus Christ in The United Methodist Church. The plan titled “Planting Seeds – Celebrating the Harvest” calls United Methodist congregations to set annual goals for 2012-2015. The five measurable areas include: worship attendance, disciples engaged in mission, professions of faith, mission giving, and spiritual/discipleship formation groups. The vision for this plan was inspired by Bishop Robert Schnase’s book Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations.

In addition, annual conferences will …

Connectional Table Prepares for Meeting in Manila

United Methodist News Service published a commentary by Connectional Table Chairperson Bishop John Hopkins and members of the CT prepare to go to Manila, Philippines for their spring meeting.

When the Connectional Table (CT) meets in Manila, Philippines the third week of April, it will address the growing momentum for change that is rapidly building across The United Methodist Church. Fueled by a passion to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, we are looking at major denominational change for the first time in over forty years. Most people believe it is long overdue...

To read the full commentary, click here.

Holy Week - Then and Now

It came as a slow realization, then quickly doing the math in my head, I gasped...okay, today is Palm Sunday, and 45 years ago, I joined the Church on Palm Sunday.

I still remember processing from the back of St. Paul’s Methodist Church, Monroe, Louisiana, that spring morning, singing “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus.” I was wearing a new navy blue nautical dress and a white hat. I stood between Peggy Clay and Kay Bershen; we had been friends since infancy, attending Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and confirmation classes together, not to mention kindergarten, elementary school, birthday parties, play dates, etc. Now as fourth-graders we were being confirmed and joining the church.

My parents, Ben and Nancy Oliphint and my brothers Clayton (holding my dad’s hand) and Stuart and me in front of St. Paul’s Methodist Church, Monroe, Louisiana, circa 1964-65.
I stood in front of the same altar where my parents had presented me for baptism 9 years earlier as a 3- month- old baby. Now, m…

UMPH's Neil Alexander Urges UMs to Take Call to Action Survey

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Neil Alexander, president and publisher of the United Methodist Publishing House, speaks about the research underway for the Call to Action project and urges your participation in an online survey of United Methodist leaders.

The Call to Action project, endorsed by the Council of Bishops and the Connectional Table seeks to review leadership, governance and other organizational issues in The United Methodist Church. The goal is to consider and propose actions that will lead to decisions that will help the Church better achieve its mission to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” and fully integrate the Four Areas of Focus (major ministry initiatives) into the fabric of the UMC connection.

Recognizing that alignment across the connectional church is essential in fostering and supporting effectiveness at all levels, one important aspect of the Call to Action project includes a focus on the factors that are most important in assuring vit…

The Four Areas of Focus of the UMC

Heard about the Four Areas of Focus of The United Methodist Church? United Methodists around the world are:

• Combating the diseases of poverty by improving health globally.
• Engaging in ministry with the poor.
• Creating new places for new people and revitalizing existing congregations.
• Developing principled Christian leaders for the church and the world.

Last month, while attending the Association of Directors of Connectional Ministries I was asked to tell the story of how these areas came into being. Here’s what I shared:

“In 2004, the newly elected bishops requested that the Council of Bishops engage in a new process of accountability by regular reporting of how the mission of the church was being lived out in their episcopal areas. During the 2005 Council meetings as they conversed about the fruit-bearing ministries of local churches and annual conferences, a vision began to emerge. The bishops found the practices and qualities aligned along seven basic pathways:

1. Teaching the W…

ADCM Meeting Marks Milestone

Last week, I attended the annual meeting for the Association of Directors of Connectional Ministries in San Antonio. As a former Director of Connectional Ministries for the North Texas Conference, I’ve been attending these rich meetings of worship, learning and fellowship for a dozen years now. But last week’s meeting marked a milestone.

The Association has been limited to persons who serve annual conferences in the DCM position from the United States. Over the years, we’ve talked about our desire to truly reflect the global nature of our church by including DCMs from annual conferences outside the United States. This year, it happened!

Rev. Moses Patrick Conteh, who serves as Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries for the Sierra Leone Annual Conference, was able to attend the meeting. Thanks to a good “conference to conference “ connection between Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference and Sierra Leone Annual Conference, Rev. Conteh has been on a month-l…
“One of the essential functions of The Connectional Table is to collaborate with the General Council on Finance and Administration about the development of the budget. This is a process that invites participation and input from various groups across the connection. I had an opportunity to meet with a group of treasurers for our boards and agencies and GCFA staff last week to discuss the process that GCFA and CT have adopted for this quadrennium. It’s exciting to me that our conversation focused on the mission of our church---to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world---as the starting point for alignment of our resources.

What’s the starting point for budget discussions in your annual conferences and local churches?”

Please see the below video of Sherri Thiel, Treasurer of United Methodist Communications, as she talks briefly about this process.

The Connectional Table Affirms Plans for Holistic 21st Century Church

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As the new year begins, I am excited to share with you how God is truly doing a new thing in the life of The United Methodist Church. Leaders across the church worldwide –lay people, clergy, and bishops – are laying the groundwork for much-needed change in our denomination. For years we have heard grim reports about our membership decline, primarily in the US and Europe, and our inability to do anything about it. Today, however, leaders across the United Methodist Church are awakening to a new sense of purpose and possibility, a new vision of collaboration and change, and most importantly, awakening to the need for bold and decisive action. In the coming year, our leaders will be drafting the blueprints for the new architecture of The United Methodist Church.

Last November, members of the Connectional Table affirmed the Call to Action Steering Committee’s provocative proposal calling for a “holistic 21st century method for being and doing church around the world i…