Monday, March 4, 2013

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 itself anywhere and everywhere! I love this church – her striving as a church with a global reach and the thriving global nature of her mission, oh yes, that uniquely crafted word we call our “connectionalism” – that though we are many (nationalities, backgrounds, cultures, countries, languages) we are one! We are one in our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

I love this church we call The United Methodist Church because of her Call to Inclusiveness – that regardless of race, background, age, gender, marital status, economic status or sexual orientation, and even with her imperfection, to continue to find ways to be more open, welcoming, fully accepting and supporting of all people to enable them to participate more fully in the life of the church, the community and the world. I love this church – her ability to offer lay people a primary place of their ministry of leadership in sharing their own faith experiences and their passionate love for God and neighbor as they fulfill Christ’s mission in the world. I love this church – United Methodists in varied and many places here in the USA and around the world are increasingly unwilling to limit their lives to mere church involvement. They are arranging their lives around their convictions and taking to the streets. They are pressing forward! They are finding new ways of being and doing church and they are disruptive, creative and hopeful. I pray that this church I love will never be the same again at this critical juncture in our history as she fulfills the missional adventure that awaits her! Oh yes, I love this church – her food, her fellowship, her fervor! “O Love that will not let me go,” the love of God is in my heart for “the people called Methodists.”

Rev. Darryl R. Barrow serves as a district superintendent in the Upper New York Annual Conference of the Northeastern Jurisdiction.