Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Human Sexuality Task Force Hosts its Third Panel

Connectional Table
The United Methodist Church

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2015

Human Sexuality Task Force Hosts its Third Panel
The Central Conference Voice on Human Sexuality and Our Wesleyan Identity

Chicago, Ill: The Connectional Table’s Human Sexuality Task Force will be hosting its third and final panel on human sexuality Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 10:00 am CAT in Maputo, Mozambique. This panel will highlight the central conference perspective on our Wesleyan identity, the life of the church, and human sexuality.

While this panel will not be live-streamed, there is an opportunity for those who wish to participate to pose questions to the panel beforehand via Twitter. On January 26, 2015 at 9:00 pm EST, DreamUMC will host a Twitter chat where participants will get a glimpse of the types of questions and topics for the panel, an opportunity to answer or comment on those questions and topics, and an opportunity to pose questions of their own, which will be presented to the panel. Any submitted questions will be asked of the panel during the last 20 minutes on February 10.

“We want to thank DreamUMC for helping us to provide this opportunity to reach out to our UMC connection via Twitter,” said the Rev. Amy Valdez Barker, executive secretary of the Connectional Table.

DreamUMC is a grassroots movement that arose out of General Conference 2012. They conduct biweekly chats about the mission and vision of The United Methodist Church including such topics as the role of social media in church life, racism, sexism, community engagement, domestic violence, women in ministry and more. Over 400 United Methodist clergy and laity have been involved in those chats.

To participate in the chat, you will need a Twitter account. If you log in to your account on January 26 at 9:00 pm EST and enter the hashtag #DreamUMC in the search box, you will be able to see other posts related to the conversation. To join the conversation, simply tag your tweet with #DreamUMC. More detailed step-by-step instructions are available at dreamumc.net/2012/08/how-to-join-the-dreamumc-tweetchats.html.

The panelists for the third panel are academics and ministers in the central conferences and will bring a fresh insight to this ongoing discussion. Panelists include:


  • Nday Bondo: Rev. Bondo is a lecturer at Africa University (Mutare, Zimbabwe) in the Faculty of Theology and an elder of the North Katanga annual conference of the UMC in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His research area is Practical Theology in which he studies United Methodist Church Polity and Doctrine as well as Church Administration. He also teaches a course in Ethics and Christian Values, a University wide-course.
  • Kongolo Chijika: Married and the father of five children, Dr. Chijika completed his Ph.D. at Laval University in Quebec City in Canada. He is currently a Dean of Theology, a faculty member, and Professor of Old Testament at Katanga Methodist University in Mulungwishi, Democratic Republic of Congo. 
  • Israel Alvaran: Rev. Israel I. Alvaran is an ordained elder in the Philippines Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. He has served in various ministry settings as pastor, youth minister, and faculty at a United Methodist university and seminary in the Philippines. Rev. Alvaran is currently appointed to serve as Western Regional Organizer for Reconciling Ministries Network, a growing movement of United Methodists working for the full participation of all people in the life and ministry of The United Methodist Church.
  • Bishop Christian Alsted: Bishop Alsted has been a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1984; 20 years were spent serving in Copenhagen. He assumed office in May 2009 and serves the seven conferences in the Nordic and Baltic Episcopal area of the Northern Europe and Eurasia Central Conference. He also serves on the board of directors of the General Board of Church and Society, the Commission on the General Conference, and on the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters. He is a member of the European Methodist Council, the World Methodist Council, and the Funds for Mission in Europe. 

The panel will be available for online streaming beginning February 15, 2015 by going to umc.org/connectional-table-webcast.

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Contact:
Any questions or comments on this panel or the two previous panels should be sent to:
Ashley Boggan, aboggan@umc.org, 773-714-1517

Note:  For more information on the two previous panels or to watch the archived videos of the panels, click here:
April 29, 2014: umc.org/who-we-are/connectional-table-online-christian-conferencing-on-human-sexuality
November 1, 2014: umc.org/who-we-are/connectional-table-webcast-finding-our-way-love-law-united-methodist-church

Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday Morning in North Georgia: The Audacity to Pray


Originally sent by North Georgia Annual Conference in Monday Mornings 
By Phil Schroeder

My brother and I showed up early for church. We crossed the threshold into the narthex. We could see that no one was sitting in the sanctuary. The greeter at the front door handed us a bulletin and asked us not to enter yet. We could see a group of people gathered in a circle at the front of the room with their heads bowed in prayer. She explained, “That’s our worship team, and they are praying for you.”

They were praying for the people God was sending to worship there that day. I wonder how many churches actually list that on their prayer concerns: The people God will be sending us in 2015.

Maybe that is a habit we all need to take up for the New Year. “Lord, thank you in advance for those you might be nudging to visit church this week. May our welcome be worthy of your trust. Help us to not wait for them to come to us, but to meet them where they are . . .”

Don’t get me wrong.  After spending countless hours in the hospital and rehab with my mother this past year, I am thankful for local church prayer lists. But . . .how many prayer lists have the audacity to pray in advance for what God is about to do?

At the beginning of 2014 the young church we visited that day did not have a place to worship. They had been steadily growing in a rented space, but needed to find a more permanent home. We began praying for God to lead them to the right location.  Numerous site visits were made to warehouses and other church facilities.  Then, the Martha Brown United Methodist Church in East Atlanta began having discussions about opening their doors to this young “homeless” church.  Under the guidance of their District Superintendent, Sharma Lewis, and their pastor, Alvin Lingenfelter, the vast majority of the 27 members of Martha Brown voted to merge with and welcome this new church into their beautiful, historic facility.

Yet, long before any of this was even considered, this new church had changed its name from Oakhurst Church to Eastside Church. Who knew they would choose the perfect name for a move to East Atlanta? Isn’t God’s “about to do” simply amazing?

There were about 60 people at that early service as the pews filled up with young people from East Atlanta and beyond. We were warmly greeted despite our attire. (Go Steelers!)

We are thankful for what God has done and is yet to do in that place. Send someone to visit soon! They are already being prayed for in advance.

Rev. Dr. Phil Schroeder is Director of Congregational Development for the North Georgia Conference. You may contact him at pschroeder@ngumc.org.