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CT Executive Secretary Staff Report

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The Connectional Table has seven essential functions that have been tasked by General Conference. What I have learned about these essential functions over the last three years is that they are broad and complex in how they can be interpreted and how they can be executed. We have narrowed these functions into three primary areas: building bridges that strengthen relationships, connecting/coordinating strategies for greater alignment and impact on the mission, and connecting the stories for inspiring transformation in Jesus Christ throughout the world. As you know our intended focus at the beginning of the quadrennium was to align our attention, energy and resources on increasing Vital Congregations throughout our connection, developing agreed upon goals in the Four Areas of Focus and staying focused on being a more authentic worldwide church. There has been no easy “technical solution” for these very broad and complex matters for our denomination. We have been constantly seeking “adapt…

Let's Talk!: #CTTalks is Engaging Conversations in Preparation for General Conference 2016

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Two months ago, I began a seminary internship as the Student Ministry Intern at The Connectional Table. A student at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary just outside of Chicago, Illinois, I honestly didn't know much about what The Connectional Table was or the work that it did. But I was interested in getting a more panoramic view of the work of the United Methodist Church as I seek to find my unique place in the connection as a future church leader.

Two months in, I'm still trying to figure out all of the many things The Connectional Table is and does. But as its name suggests, some of our most important work lies simply in inviting people to the table, inviting people into a shared space of dialogue and relationship where we can grow together as disciples of Jesus Christ who transform the world. That's why I'm so excited about The Connectional Table's #CTTalks project to engage information and conversation around the important issues of General Conference 20…

Connectional Table Weekly Update: General Secretaries Table and Prayers

Dear CT Members and Friends,
Greetings in God's Love!  This week the General Secretaries Table will gather in Washington DC to come together for the sake of mission and ministry.  Although, this is not a body sanctioned by the Discipline, it is an important body in the life of the church.  They voluntarily covenant to join with one another regularly to seek collaborative opportunities in which they can collectively impact the mission of the church.  In fact, many new ideas have emerged when this group has sought to learn from one another and be innovative and creative together.  
The General Secretaries of our denomination have a unique role in our connectional system.  By Discipline (Para. 703.7a), they hold the title "General Secretary" and are the "chief staff officer of a general agency."  They are elected by their Board of Directors and serve as the CEO of that corporation.  The general secretaries of the program agencies are elected quadrennially and can…

Bishop Peggy Johnson: Loving Alike with One Heart

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John Wesley the founder of the Methodist movement once said “Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without a doubt, we may!”      That is my prayer as we hear today’s ruling of the United States Supreme Court that struck down state laws barring same-gender couples from enjoying marriage on the same terms given to couples of the opposite sex. Included in the statement from the Supreme Court were these words: “Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here.”      The justices also stated, “It must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given…

Connectional Table Essential Functions

CT Essential Function #1:
"To provide a forum for the understanding and implementation of the vision, mission, and ministries of the global church as determined in consultation with the Council of Bishops and/or the actions of General Conference."
IE: CONNECT THE CONNECTIONThere are few places between General Conference where almost all of the agencies, jurisdictions, central conferences, youth and young adult organization and U.S. racial-ethnic caucuses come together to better understand the actions of General Conference and discuss the "mission, vision and ministries of our global church." Not only does this body have the responsibility of looking at the church as a whole, but it is tasked with making the ethereal, theoretical, ecclesiological principles and policies become practical and real. It is no small task and it is wrought with wrong turns and pot-holes that often challenge this group of 59 people.

The Connectional Table is a body that is only ten years ol…

Bishop Mike Coyner: "Accountability Where It Counts"

Recently the Connectional Table of our denomination voted to recommend a series of changes to our Book of Discipline. Like all of the other proposals and petitions that will come to General Conference next year, the vote of the Connectional Table is only a recommendation and not a final decision.
The proposals from the Connectional Table deal with the issue of homosexuality and especially same-gender weddings. Currently our Book of Discipline prohibits our clergy from officiating at such a ceremony, and our Discipline also states that we consider the practice of homosexuality (not the orientation, but the behavior) to be "incompatible with Christian teaching." Given the increasing number of states in the U.S. which have made same-gender marriages legal, along with some countries elsewhere (mostly in Europe and most recently by popular referendum in Ireland), the Connectional Table recommended changing our prohibitions against our clergy performing same-gender weddings. Inst…