Wednesday, September 24, 2014

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

Seeking input and questions from United Methodists

The Connectional Table's Human Sexuality Task Force is hosting the second of three live stream events on Saturday, November 1 from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. Central Time. The Connectional Table is a 59-member body which is responsible for guiding the vision, mission and ministries of The United Methodist Church.

The panelists participating in the live-stream are members of the
Council of Bishops who contributed to the book Finding Our Way: Love and Law in The United Methodist Church, as well as the Editor and President of United Methodist Publishing House.

Confirmed participants include:

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Bishop Michael J. Lowry, Bishop John K. Yambasu and Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, and Neil Alexander.

They will be discussing their perspectives on human sexuality based upon their chapter in the book. Viewers are encouraged to read the book prior to the live stream discussion. United Methodist leaders are also
encouraged to gather church members for viewing and joining the discussion on Saturday morning. Additional resources to support the discussion can be found at:

United Methodists who would like to participate in this discussion, are encouraged to create a YouTube video explaining a personal story that pertains to unity and/or human sexuality and pose a question about
Finding Our Way to one of the bishops or the editor. Videos must be no longer than 2-3 minutes. Tag the video using #cttalks and email a link to prior to Friday October 17, 2014. Three videos will be selected and shown at the event.

Additionally, participants may ask questions about the book via Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #cttalks during the live stream on November1 from 8am-10am (central time). The panel will answer relevant questions from these platforms.

To view the live stream on Nov. 1, go to on the day of the event.

Members of the Connectional Table hope these events will foster ongoing dialogue to provide an opportunity for them to listen and consider varying theological perspectives, as well as to create an ongoing
conversation in the wider church.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

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 125 countries of the earth. That is still not “global” in a literal sense but it is worldwide. In mission we work with autonomous Methodist, united, and ecumenical partners with as much commitment as we do with the annual conferences that send delegates to the General Conference.
      We have recent mission initiatives, for example, in Southeast Asia that may eventually become annual conferences and others that will become autonomous, self-governing churches.  We are as committed to one as to another. “Each” and “all” are “us,” just as the Korean Methodist Church or the Methodist Church of Brazil, which both have been independent since 1930. They are “us,” even though they send only fraternal, non-voting delegates to annual conference.
      Our structure discussions are primarily considerations of how we arrange the internal, international aspects of one part of worldwide Methodism. It is connectional in a limited way, while our mission is essentially connected in Jesus Christ and secondarily linked in the Wesleyan tradition. Our structure is about power politics and funding, about voting majorities, committee organization, and intercultural negotiations.
Our mission is about the steadfast, redeeming love of God that enlivens and sustains us through the Holy Spirit.  Our mission is to show Jesus Christ to the world, and let us pray that our structures do the same.

General Secretary