Showing posts from March, 2013

Rachel Birkhahn-Rommelfanger: Choosing The United Methodist Today

My favorite Methodist Episcopal Bishop is G. Bromley Oxnam. He was raised by a coal mining and church planting father, and a mother who was a member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. As the family moved across the American West, Thomas Oxnam left a new Methodist Church building in each city. Mary read the Bible to Bromley daily, and spoke regularly about her temperance work.  Bromley would embody this mix of church planting and strong commitment to his belief throughout his life.

Bromley Oxnam was a man who stood up for his convictions. He started a church that served new immigrants to America in Los Angeles, joined labor unions on the picket line, and traveled to Russia during communism. Bromley believed that a forty-hour work week and end to child labor never would have come without church leadership.  Serving as President of the World Council of Churches he pushed for assistance in international health crises and wealth disparity. Bromley pushed every organization he s…

Ole Birch: Why I Choose to be United Methodist

Choosing to be a United Methodist is a very important thing in my country and in the whole of the Northern Europe and Eurasia Central Conference. Denmark has a population of 5.5 million people and 4.5 million of them are members of the Lutheran State Church. The UMC Denmark has 1,200 confessing members in 10 local churches. Methodism is small minority in all the countries of my Central Conference, which presents us with a unique set of challenges when it comes to choosing to be a Methodist. In a culture where church was defined according to nationality from the time of the Reformation in the 16th century (in Eurasia even longer), and to some extent still continues today, the choice to become something other than the norm must be a conscious one.

Methodists, in our culture, have to articulate for themselves and for the people they live among, the reasons why they belong to this church with the strange foreign name. If we do not have a clear understanding of our identity and specific M…

Rev. Kennetha J. Bigham-Tsai: Why I Choose to Be United Methodist Today

Vicki James* is a developmentally disabled, African-American woman who lives in a half-way house near, Milwood UMC, the church I pastor. She spends most of her days walking up and down the streets near our church, sometimes in near zero-degree temperatures. I found her walking one winter day wearing pajamas and a man’s coat that would not close because the zipper was broken.

Every Sunday morning Vicki comes to Milwood to worship. She comes early to share in muffins and coffee. During worship she sits on the aisle. A few Sundays ago, she stood up in the middle of worship to declare that it was her birthday. We stopped everything and sang to her.

Vicki lives on the margins of race, gender, ability and socio-economic status. She stands at the boundaries that separate those who have privilege from those who do not. Through her (and through people like her) comes God’s call to the Church to move from its privileged center to the margins and to reach out across boundaries and build communi…

Darryl Barrow: Why I Choose The United Methodist Church

I was born in Trinidad in the twin island state of Trinidad and Tobago in the southern part of the island. I grew up Methodist having been born to a mother whose parents were people of faith; my grandmother being Methodist and my grandfather being Moravian. What a “strangely warm-hearted” experience from birth for me and I have enjoyed every moment of it! So why I choose United Methodist is uniquely because the Wesleyan DNA has always been in my veins! I love this church – her music, I grew up singing the songs of the faith in a family with musical giftedness for our sound theology and practical divinity laced in the rich lyrics of our Wesleyan hymns and songs. I love this church – her passion and vision to spread scriptural holiness across the land offering hospitality and grace to ALL! I love this church – her public witness for the social gospel, the prophetic word and her grace-filled call for personal holiness and constant cry of social justice for ALL. A call that will show its…