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Dear CT Members and Friends,

Living into a more authentic relationship with deeper connections throughout the world is much more easily said than done.  As we prepare for Advent Season I am reminded that many places around the world emphasize different elements of their Christian traditions.  I have had the honor and privilege of being in the Philippines the last few weeks working with different groups within the Philippines Central Conference.  There are several lessons I have learned and continue to learn during my visit that I think are essential for the CT members as a whole to continue to consider as we prepare to gather in Mozambique in a few short months.

Lesson #1) Don’t assume you “get it.”
I have a little bit of an inside scoop in the Filipino culture because I can at least understand some of the language.  But, even though I think I “get it,” I really don’t.  There are so many cultural elements that affect people’s lives and effect the way clergy and laity are able to conve…

The Connectional Table to host human sexuality live stream event Nov. 1

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Thomas G. Kemper: Worldwide Nature of the Church

Word definitions can become stumbling blocks in our deliberations on the worldwide, global, or international nature of The United Methodist Church. Are we talking about structure, geography, or vision? I find it a daily challenge to know in what context to use which of these overlapping terms. In my work as General Secretary of Global Ministries I have come up with a functional delineation: Our worldwide, our global, nature as a church is in our mission, ministries and vision, not in our structures, where we are at most international—the United States, continental Europe, parts of Africa and the Philippines.  But vast areas of Asia, Africa and almost or all of Latin America and the Caribbean are incorporated into our work, our vision of God’s mission—the missio Dei, but not our structure, which is defined by membership in the General Conference.       We as a church and through Global Ministries have personnel, projects, and active mission partnerships in more than …

Judi Kenaston: The Worldwide Nature of the Church

Bishop Ough: Covenant, Schism, and Unity

Brad Brady: Worldwide Nature of the Church

I can’t get the hymn, “In Christ There Is No East or West” out of my mind as I participate in our ongoing discussions around the Worldwide Nature of the United Methodist Church.
It is easy to sing and celebrate our unity in mission.Across the globe there are signs of spiritual transformation flowing out of the congregations and ministries of United Methodism. As the hymn states, our joining hands in the disciple-making mission of Christ is the “golden cord” that binds us together.
Like in so many areas of our Christian experience, there is a “present” and a “not yet” dimension to United Methodism’s pursuit of fully living as a worldwide church.
You do not have to look hard to find examples of this unrealized vision, especially when you begin talking about our organization, structure and governance. One can feel the struggle of the “not yet” whenever the inevitable power-shifting discussions unfold. As in any system, those with power naturally seek to protect their control and influen…