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A Fruitful Connection, Focused on the Future

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A Fruitful Connection, Focused on the Future
(Photo Credit: Mike DuBose, UMNS) 

Greetings from General Conference 2016!
Yesterday in Portland, Oregon the Connectional Table shared a report with the members of General Conference and those streaming around the world celebrating our continued focus on increasing vital congregations across the church through ministries in the Four Areas of Focus.
We have strategic and achievable goals before us as we look to the next quadrennium…
1. We will develop Principled Christian Leaders through a commitment to recruit, train and engage 3 million difference makers – to transform the world as they put faith into action.
2. In the area of new places for new people, we will form one million new disciples who profess their faith in Jesus Christ.
3. We will follow Christ’s command to be in ministry with the poor, as we commit ourselves to building 400 vibrant, faith-filled communities addressing issues of poverty.
4. And, building on the infrastructure and succ…

Rev. Dr. Amy Valdez Barker: A reflection on the numbers

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The Connectional Table and Restructuring Proposals

On January 22, 2016 during the Pre-General Conference briefing held in Portland, Oregon for delegates to the upcoming 2016 General Conference, panelists discussed multiple plans being offered to restructure The United Methodist Church.  Panelist and Connectional Table (CT) member Fred Brewington explained the CT's stance on such proposals by reading from a document issued by the Connectional Table that states:

"The Connectional Table neither adopts not endorses any of the current restructuring proposals beyond the process proposal being submitted by the CT.  However, as a part of its mandate, the CT recommends the following principles to assist the church as it discusses, approaches, engages, and makes decisions on matters relating to our future structure, organization, relationships, and processes:

do no harm, do all the good we can, and stay in love with Goddo not act in haste and allow God to order our stepswelcome the movement of the Holy Spirit and be open to new revelati…

Lent: A Time to Fast and Pray

Greetings in God’s Love!  
The Pre-GC Briefings in Central Conferences have begun!  
A question came to me at the briefing from a delegate in a rural area of the Philippines.  Because I spoke the language, he asked me the question in his native tongue.  Here was the question translated: “Why are our apportionments going up when we in our tiny rural farming community can barely pay for our pastor’s salary and our own ministries?  Why do we have to pay anything when we don’t see the benefits of paying our apportionments?”  As you all know, the Central Conferences are being asked to increase their contributions to the apportionments in some areas in order to get to our “equitable sharing of our God-given gifts” value which we have been conveying across the connection.  I told this man that this is the same question that is being asked in many rural faith communities in the United States and across other parts of our connection.  I did my best to articulate the gifts and graces of being …

What are the Essentials for Mission in a Worldwide United Methodist Connection?

We live and lead in a very troubled and divisive season of the United Methodist Church’s global movement. We are beleaguered and burdened by several unresolved issues, chief among them, matters related to human sexuality and the realities of being a world-wide denomination. Long-term, unresolved issues or questions lead to deep conflict and diminished productivity or mission effectiveness in any organization, including the Church. Further, the revivalist and evangelical energy that fueled and directed the early Methodist renewal movement has become increasingly shackled by our more contemporary experiences and expressions of polity, power and politics. Exceptions are found in pockets of innovation in the United States and in many of our missions and conferences outside the United States where the focus on reaching people and transforming lives and communities is often more organic and less “structured.”
There are many bright spots within our worldwide United Methodist connection that c…

Essentials for Mission in a World Wide United Methodist Connection

When serving as pastor at one of our denomination's primary Heritage Landmark's, Historic St. George's Church (1767), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, I was often asked what history reveals about the heart and soul of a United Methodist. My current work with the General Commission on Archives and History, affirms what I said back then all the more:
United Methodists are people whose relationship with God is grounded in A THEOLOGY OF LOVE AND INCLUSION. The distinctive theological text of our tradition, our hymnal, is the Wesley brothers’ cover-to-cover tome to God's jaw-dropping, amazing, boundless, boundary-breaking, life-igniting ALL consuming, merciful, redeeming, perfect, perfecting and sufficient love. More than pen to paper or note to score, our forebears believed, sang and gathered in ways to make it plain that God's love is fully available and must be made accessible to EVERYONE.
United Methodists are people who EXPERIENCE God's love and are TRANSFORMED by t…