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Showing posts from March, 2010

Holy Week - Then and Now

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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…