Category : Methodist
Pastor Dwight Nelson Preaches for an Ascension Sunday Joint Service with Wesley United Methodist Church+Christ Saint Paul’s
Several years ago, I spoke to a rather typical group of Episcopalians in a church forum and I would estimate that roughly 75% of the people in the room were over 60 years of age.
I would love to see more nuanced statistics, at this point in time, because I suspect that the gold 36-64 years old band in the middle of that Burge chart leans toward the older end of that niche. Burge notes that the average Episcopalian is 59 years old. There are now three retired United Methodists for every member under the age of 35. More Burge:
Demography is destiny for many of these denominations. They will become dramatically smaller in the next two decades based on attrition alone, whether or not they are hit by COVID-19.
But if the disease can’t be curtailed, it could become a turning point for some of these denominations: Their houses of worship are prime targets for the spread of disease.
This passage hit me hard, as well:
Connection to their fellow members is especially important for older Americans. Data from Pew Research Center indicates that the average 80-year-old spends at least eight hours a day alone, double the time a 40-year-old does. For many of the older generation, the institutions that held society together for them during the formative years have already crumbled. One of the few things that has remained constant for them is their church home, seeing the same people in the same pews every Sunday, taking the bread and drinking from the cup the same way they have done for decades. They need that consistency and community — and COVID-19 might take that away from them.
— GetReligion (@GetReligion) March 12, 2020
John and Charles Wesley are among the most notable evangelists who ever lived. As young men, they formed a party which came to be derisively called Methodists, because they methodically set about fulfilling the commands of scripture. In due course they learned that works cannot save, and discovered salvation by faith in Christ. Afterward, they carried that message to all England in sermon and in song. John Wesley is credited with staving off a bloody revolution in England such as occurred in France.
Although the brothers did not set out to establish a church, the Wesleyans and the Methodists are their offspring.
Both preached, both wrote hymns. But John is more noted for his sermons and Charles for his hymns. Here we present two hymns by Charles and a sermon by John.
— The Methodist Church (@MethodistGB) May 24, 2017
The Church of England’s national assembly has backed proposals to continue the process towards communion with the Methodist Church.
Members of the General Synod meeting in York over the weekend agreed to begin drafting a number of texts towards this end, including a “formal declaration” outlining a new relationship of communion between the two Churches.
The motion approved by Synod also instructs the Faith and Order Commission to work on additional texts for the inaugural services that would take place after communion is agreed, and the guidelines covering how presbyters and priests from each Church could serve in the other.
The House of Bishops is to report back on the progress being made following elections to the new General Synod taking place next year.
A Statement by Anglican Catholic Future on the Forthcoming Discussion in Synod of Mission and Ministry in Covenant
Over what is to be received by the Methodist Church, the report by no means allays fears that the proposed Methodist President-Bishop does not resemble episcopacy as the episcopally ordered churches have known it. We recognise that it is not necessary for the precise details of how the Church of England has held the historic episcopate to be replicated. It is important, however, that an episcopal church, in conferring the episcopate, should do so in a form that bears a family resemblance to how it has been known across the episcopal churches, down their history. The report before Synod serves to underline our conviction that what is proposed lies a long way far from that.
One of our principal concerns with MMiC was that the personal, historic episcopate was presented there stripped down simply to a power to ordain. The more recent report further clarifies this point: the only thing what would be changed by episcopal ordination for the President of the Methodist Conference would be to limit the authority to ordain to her, or him, and to episcopally ordained predecessors. Beyond that, the role of those consecrated to the role of President-Bishop becomes personally episcopal in no other way. In taking about the future ministry of a past President-Bishop, for instance, the report only details roles that either already belong to a presbyter, or which could be undertaken by either a President or a Vice-President (a lay role).
Authority to ordain is, indeed, integral to the historic episcopacy, but possessing the historic, personal episcopate has also meant far more than that. In contrast to a vision of episcopacy focused solely on ordination, we must insist that the personal episcopacy is not simply about the transfer of what has sometimes, disparagingly, been described as a ‘magic hands’ understanding of the episcopal role.
The historical episcopate is a structural principle: episcopacy takes in an entire way in which the church is ordered in relation to bishops. The Methodist Church is currently ordered significantly differently from the churches with the historic episcopate, with the Conference bearing ultimate authority. Limiting to a small group of people those who can lay hands on those who are to be ordained does not by itself represent the acceptance of historical episcopal order.
— Andrew Davison (@AP_Davison) July 2, 2019
'Systematic #theology is related to the formation of #clergy just as medicine is tied 2 the formation of drs. If we do not have robust formation in systematic theology, we will ensure widespread malpractice in the #church. The cure of souls will become a dangerous enterprise' pic.twitter.com/x5Nb7nu4Wz
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) July 2, 2019
(CP) Liberal UMC leaders promise ‘wide variety of resistance tactics’ against the Church position which refused to embrace 21stc Pagan anthropology
During a press conference held Wednesday on the final day of UMC Next, Ginger E. Gaines-Cirelli, senior pastor of Foundry United Methodist Church of Washington, D.C., told those gathered that there would be a “wide variety of resistance tactics” to the Church’s official position.
“For some of us, resisting the Traditional Plan means violating the Book of Discipline. For some persons in their context, it might not,” said Gaines-Cirelli.
“There will need to be a wide variety of resistance tactics all leaning into and seeking to help accomplish the commitments that we have made together here.”
Gaines-Cirelli added that “others will risk other kinds of things, but not for a variety of reasons be able or willing at this time to break the rules of the Plan, of the Discipline.”
IRD’s @markdtooley tells Christian Post that #UMCNext panel “tacitly admit they have lost at the general church level” and departure of liberal United Methodist members and churches “will unfold incrementally, depending on local context.” @Puritan1986 https://t.co/lgEma93JhW
— IRD (@TheIRD) May 23, 2019
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) May 17, 2019
…Secondly, however, they should also note that there are a number of central parts of the teaching of the Bible and the orthodox Christian tradition concerning sexuality and marriage that the report rejects or underplays:
- God has created his human creatures as male and female and given them a command to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ (Genesis 1:26-28, Matthew 19:4).
- God has ordained marriage as a permanent and exclusive relationship between one man and one woman as the sole legitimate context for sexual intercourse and as the appointed means for the procreation of children (Genesis 2:24, Genesis 4:1).
- It is this form of marriage that bears witness to the love between God and his people in this world and to the eternal relationship between God and his people in the world to come (Hosea, Ephesians 5:21-32, Revelation 19:7).
- All forms of sexual activity outside of marriage, including same-sex relationships, are types of sexual activity that are contrary to God’s will for his people and exclude people from his kingdom (Leviticus 18:1-30, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
- A sexual ethic involving sexual abstinence outside marriage and sexual faithfulness within it is an integral part of Christian discipleship (Matthew 5:27-30, Ephesians 5:3-14, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8).
- Furthermore, because marriage is something created by God and not be human beings it is not something that human beings can change. What marriage is, is what God has ordained it to be. Consequently, the act of the British parliament in establishing same-sex marriage in 2013 has no validity from a Christian perspective.
- God is a God of justice and love, but we reflect his justice and embody his love by living according to his will ourselves and encouraging others to the same. To love God is to obey his just commands (John 14:15, 15:9-10). 
Because these things are so, the claim in the Methodist report that God is calling the Methodist Church to affirm sexual relationships outside marriage and marriage between two people of the same sex must be wrong. It also has no support from the teaching of John Wesley who held an entirely biblical and orthodox view of sexual ethics.
Martin Davie–Should a parish fly the rainbow flag? https://t.co/p4j0OHXJjz ‘what is conveyed by the flying of a flag in a particular context is not necessarily what is intended by the person flying it’ https://t.co/p4j0OHXJjz #ethics #anglican #religion #uk (img: Gilead Books) pic.twitter.com/tHYVB9S516
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) August 31, 2018
Methodists have recommended that gay couples be allowed to marry in their churches for the first time in a groundbreaking report.
In a document published on Tuesday ahead of the Methodist Church’s Conference this summer, a task force called for a series of recommendations in a bid to modernise the Methodist Church.
The report was drawn up amid changes in society regarding same-sex relationships, cohabition and the delicining marriage rate, the legalisation of civil partnerships and same-sex marriage.
It also comes following the Government’s revelation last year that civil partnerships would be rolled out to heterosexual couples and the proposal has been welcomed by the LGBT community.
The recommendation to change the rules to allow same-sex weddings in its chapels was revealed in the publication entitled ‘God in Love Unites Us’, and was drawn up by the Methodist Church’s Marriage and Relationships Task Group.
The United Methodist Church’s top court has found that while some provisions of the newly adopted Traditional Plan remain unconstitutional, the rest of the plan is valid as church law.
That was the Judicial Council’s ruling on a requested review of the Traditional Plan, which was approved during a special denomination-wide legislative session in February to strengthen enforcement of bans on “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy and same-sex weddings.
In a separate ruling, legislation to provide an exit strategy for local churches wishing to leave the denomination meets three minimum requirements and thus is constitutional “when taken together with the consent of the annual conference” as specifically outlined in the Book of Discipline, the court said.
Both decisions came at the conclusion of the Judicial Council’s April 23-26 meeting.
— EPA Conference UMC (@epaumc) April 26, 2019
(UMNS) An Interesting Moment in Church History–Shaped by tragedy and grace: Wesley’s rescue from fire
With no time to find a ladder, a couple of quick-thinking neighbors did the next best thing. One stood on the other’s shoulders and pulled Jacky through the window “just as the roof fell into the chamber [his room],” Susanna reports.
His improbable rescue was quickly declared a miracle.
“I could not believe it,” his father wrote a week after the fire, “till I had kissed him two or three times.”
While the family lost nearly every possession they had, they all were saved. John Wesley remembers his father calling out from the garden as the fire continued to consume the family home, “Come, Neighbours! Let us kneel down! Let us give thanks to God! He has given me all my eight Children: let the house go: I am rich enough!”
The fire was not God’s will, but by God’s grace all had survived.
After the fire, Susanna sometimes referred to her Jacky as a brand plucked from the burning, a reference to Zechariah 3:2. She believed God saved her young son for a reason, a lesson Jacky learned well.
Nearly 45 years later, Wesley remembered his mother’s words. Lying in bed sick with consumption—a generic term used at the time for any illness that caused a person to waste away—Wesley wrote an epitaph for himself to be used if he didn’t recover.
The would-be inscription he penned in his journal began, “Here lieth the body of John Wesley, a brand plucked out of the burning” (November 26, 1753). (Wesley lived another 37 years and this epitaph was not used.)
It’s #ThrowbackThursday and we’re looking back at an event in February 1709 that changed the course of John Wesley’s life. Check it out and see if you’ve heard this bit of history before. #UMCHistory https://t.co/ga7Po5iWBZ pic.twitter.com/LhT1oP55aU
— The United Methodist Church (@UMChurch) February 7, 2019
If seminary students and others want to dive into studying Hebrew, that’s wonderful, says the Rev. Matthew Richard Schlimm.
But he believes that just getting into the wading pool with that language leads to deeper understanding of the Old Testament.
Schlimm, a United Methodist elder and professor of Old Testament at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, is the author of the new book “70 Hebrew Words Every Christian Should Know.”
Even understanding that fraction of the Old Testament’s original language can make a big difference, Schlimm maintains. In his book, he sweetens the deal by providing lots of historical and cultural background, as well as theological commentary.
“My hope is that I’m giving students of the Bible a new tool so that they spot new things in the biblical texts,” Schlimm, 41, said by phone from Iowa. “Being able to access the depth that Hebrew brings is a huge gift.”
— Rio Texas (@RioTxAC) November 21, 2018
For 100 years, Lutherans in this farming community on the Minnesota prairie have come to one church to share life’s milestones.
They have been baptized, confirmed and married at La Salle Lutheran. Their grandparents, parents and siblings lie in the church cemetery next door.
But the old friends who gathered here early one recent Sunday never imagined that they would one day be marking the death of their own church.
When La Salle Lutheran locks its doors in August, it will become the latest casualty among fragile Minnesota churches either closing, merging or praying for a miracle. Steep drops in church attendance, aging congregations, and cultural shifts away from organized religion have left most of Minnesota’s mainline Christian denominations facing unprecedented declines.
“Sunday used to be set aside for church: that’s what families did,” said Donna Schultz, 74, a church member since grade school at La Salle, in southwest Minnesota. “Now our children have moved away. The grandkids have volleyball, dance on weekends. People are busy with other things….”
I've been a living witness. "As churches close in Minnesota, a way of life fades" https://t.co/yhM4ke0Txk
— Lynne Silva-Breen (@LynneLMFT) July 8, 2018
What is perhaps a more pressing question is what would happen to the Anglican-Methodist Covenant were either church to change its opposition to gay marriage. Would a sudden change by the Methodist Conference in 2019 or 2020 scupper the long proposed deal…?
It certainly might make the strong conservative base on the Church of England’s ruling general synod less enthusiastic.
But difference in teaching on sexuality is not officially a block on sharing ministry.
The Church of England is already in direct ‘communion’ with its sister Anglican churches in Scotland and the US. This means that priests in both churches are recognised as such by the Church of England and so they can, as long as the local bishop agrees, come and minister in CofE parishes.
Both the Episcopal Church in the US and the Scottish Episcopal Church permit same-sex marriage, and while they faced sanctions from the wider Anglican Communion, they remain in communion with the CofE.
I was baptized in Central Methodist Church, so many decades ago. I remember Sunday school, attending services with my mother and grandmother. My mother had a glorious contralto and, a child prodigy trained as a concert pianist, sometimes played the immense pipe organ, with its 4 divisions, 28 stops, and 41 registers. In the 1960s, it was common for each service to see a thousand people or more, filling the sanctuary and its three balconies. Central was a prime posting for veteran ministers — only doctors of divinity reached the senior rank — and the choir was superb. I was confirmed there, age 13.
When I returned to Phoenix in 2000, I started attending Central again, this time with Susan. Getting a hundred people in the pews was a victory by that time. The quality of preaching was uneven, as individual ministers came and went (long gone from the days of a senior minister and others). But the music program was very strong under Don Morse. The core, including the corps of ushers, was committed. Important for us, Central still offered a traditional service, with the wonderful Methodist hymns. Christmas Eve could see five services in the soaring sanctuary, with luminarias in the courtyard. We continue to attend. When I lived in Charlotte, people would ask me if I had found “a church home.” No — in that hotbed of religion, the question irritated the secular me. “I have a bar home,” I would respond. But the truth was different. My church was here. It always was. Always will be.
But this year brought heartbreaking news. First, the music program was downgraded, with Morse and seemingly most of the choir gone. Finances were an issue; the church and Morse, who had already taken a pay freeze/cut, couldn’t come to terms. But respect also seemed an issue, the lay leaders wanting to downgrade his position to “choirmaster.” A botched remodel of the sanctuary was probably another cause, including the loss of the pipe organ and removal of two of the balconies. I don’t claim special insight. I spent many years in United Methodist choirs, but tried to avoid church politics whenever possible. Next came word that the sanctuary would only be used for special occasions. A traditional service would be held in the small Pioneer Chapel and a contemporary one in Kendall Hall.
— Tim Hoiland (@timhoiland) April 2, 2018
Two matters are of particular concern in relation to reuniting the two churches.
One is whether Methodist presbyters would have to be re-ordained to provide a unified and public catholic witness. The synod report proposes the Anglican Church recognise Methodist ministers’ holy orders.
The other issue is about how churches should be led.
Anglican churches operate under an episcopal model with bishops seen as following on from the apostles, as the Church’s leaders. As bishops consecrate more bishops and ordain new clergy, the “apostolic succession” continues.
Methodists do not accept the idea of “apostolic succession” in the Anglican sense.
If the churches were to reunite, an Anglican bishop would take part in ordaining new Methodist ministers, enabling them to enter the “apostolic succession”.
The Methodist Conference says it is willing to receive the episcopate as long as partner churches acknowledge that the Methodist Church “has been and is part of the one holy catholic and apostolic church”, Ruth Gee, former president of the Methodist conference says.
The General Synod has given its welcome to a report containing proposals which could bring the Church of England and the Methodist Church in Great Britain into communion with each other.
Members backed a motion welcoming a joint report published last year, which sets out proposals on how clergy from each church could become eligible to serve in the other.
The report, Mission and Ministry in Covenant, which was co-written by the two churches’ faith and order bodies, also sets out how the Methodist Church could come to have bishops in the historic episcopate.
The motion acknowledges that there is further work to do to clarify a number of areas, including how the proposals would be worked out in practice.
(Christian Today) Diarmaid MacCulloch: ‘Why Anglicans who object to reconciliation with Methodists should read more history’
The point of worry seems to be a break in a succession of hands in ordination from the apostles who were the first followers of Christ. That strikes me as a professional historian of the Church (and also in Anglican orders) to be a very unrealistic view of Christian history.
First, ‘the historic episcopate’ throughout the Christian world is a pragmatic, gradual creation of the second century CE, which links with the first apostles, but does not do so exclusively. There was no single bishop of Rome, for instance, until the 2nd century, and earlier lines of single succession there are benevolent fictions.
Second, the Church of England is a Church of the Reformation which just happened to keep bishops. It is actually a ‘Reformed’ Protestant Church, that is not Lutheran, but part of a family of European Churches, some of which kept bishops in their government, some not. So national Reformed Churches in England, Ireland, Hungary, Romania and Poland have bishops. Up to 1662, clergy from other Reformed Churches served regardless in the CofE when they came here: often they were placed in English cathedrals or universities, not to quarantine them in some way but simply because they didn’t speak much English, and there they could exercise a ministry in the learned language of Latin.
(Church Times) Proposals on Methodism compromise the C of E’s faith and identity, says Andrew Davison
I grew up in an Anglican-Methodist family, and went to a Methodist Sunday school. I rejoice at the prospect of a closer relationship with the Methodist Church. The report before the General Synod, Ministry and Mission in Covenant, pursues that noble aim, which makes its failings all the more agonising. With a few adaptations, it could be a triumph; as it stands, it compromises the faith and identity of the Church of England.
Our Church upholds ancient Catholic order: bishops in the historic episcopate are the ministers of ordination; the eucharist is celebrated by them, and by the priests they ordain. This is central to what makes the Church of England Catholic as well as reformed: not vestments, nor genuflection, but order.
The intolerable departure from that order, proposed in this report, would be to invite ministers who have not been ordained by bishops to serve in the place of Anglican priests. This would last beyond the lifetimes of those reading this article. Implemented as the report stands, Methodist presbyters who have not received episcopal ordination will preside at the eucharist in parish churches, chaplaincies, and fresh expressions for decades to come. That would not be as ecumenical guests, but as the celebrants of C of E services.
For the C of E to accept that would be to say at least one of the following: (1) that nothing significant distinguishes ordination by a bishop from ordination without; (2) that nothing about the eucharist (or anointing or absolution) is significant for the journey of salvation; (3) that orders are irrelevant in these cases, since means of grace depend only on the inner disposition of each individual. Each of those arguments sells short the faith and practice of the C of E.
Anglo-Catholics are among those who are most committed to the full visible unity of Christ’s Church. We are therefore grateful to those who have worked to produce the present proposals for a development in Anglican-Methodist relations, which the Forward in Faith Executive Committee considered at its meeting on 31 January. It is a matter of regret that we must oppose them in their current form.
As the report Mission and Ministry in Covenant (GS 2086) makes clear, significant questions and concerns have been raised, not least in the House of Bishops. Will these proposals bring us closer to unity, or might they, by creating two related but distinct episcopates within England, merely serve to entrench separation? Given the Methodist Church’s model of corporate oversight, can the office of ‘President-bishop’, to be held for one year only, be recognized as a ‘local adaptation’ of the historic episcopate upheld in the Catholic Church in East and West through the ages? We note that further work is to be done on these questions, but are concerned at the suggestion that work on such substantial issues could be completed by July.
Of even greater concern are the consequences of these proposals for catholic order in the Church of England. To permit those who have not been ordained by a bishop to minister as Church of England priests, even for a ‘temporary’ period (which might last for sixty or seventy years) is for us not a ‘bearable anomaly’ but a fundamental breach of catholic order. We deeply regret that the report rules out further consideration of this issue. As loyal Anglicans, we uphold the doctrine and discipline regarding Holy Orders that is enshrined in the historic formularies of the Church of England, and in the 1662 Ordinal in particular. We shall oppose any proposals that would effectively set that doctrine and discipline aside. We note that it is to the inheritance of faith embodied in these formularies that all who minister in the Church of England must affirm their loyalty by making the Declaration of Assent.
We remain fully committed to the search for the full visible unity of Christ’s Church, but we do not believe that it can be advanced by sacrificing catholic order and Anglican integrity
The Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, explains why he will be supporting new proposals for communion between the Church of England and the Methodist Church in Great Britain.
It is a terrible indictment of the Church of England that Methodists found they had to separate from us in the first place. So much good has been borne of Methodism, though. Having attended a Methodist school I owe it a great debt of gratitude for my Christian formation.
Michael Ramsey described the failure of his plan for reunion with the Methodist Church to garner the necessary two thirds majority in General Synod as the ‘saddest day of my life.’ I was confirmed by him in Canterbury Cathedral shortly afterwards in what I believe to have been the first Anglican-Methodist confirmation service. It was a small sign of hope in a depressing situation.
More than forty years later, we have another opportunity to heal this gaping wound in the Body of Christ. It will involve sacrifices by both communions but they are a small price to pay. I hope with all my heart that we shall be prepared to make them.
Church of England leaders are braced for a “controversial” vote on whether it should share ministers with the Methodists as part of plans set to boost struggling rural churches.
The proposals will be debated at the Church’s governing body, the General Synod next month – but senior figures warned that some will see the proposals as “very problematic”.
The plans would allow priest from each church to preach at the other, and would help areas where there are “serious challenges in sustaining a Christian presence”, church leaders suggest.
In the state morgue here, in the industrial maze of a hospital basement, Dr. Thomas A. Andrew was slicing through the lung of a 36-year-old woman when white foam seeped out onto the autopsy table.
Foam in the lungs is a sign of acute intoxication caused by an opioid. So is a swollen brain, which she also had. But Dr. Andrew, the chief medical examiner of New Hampshire, would not be certain of the cause of death until he could rule out other causes, like a brain aneurysm or foul play, and until after the woman’s blood tests had come back.
With the nation snared in what the government says is the worst drug epidemic in its history, routine autopsies like this one, which take more than two hours, are overtaxing medical examiners everywhere.
“It’s almost as if the Visigoths are at the gates, and the gates are starting to crumble,” Dr. Andrew said. “I’m not an alarmist by nature, but this is not overhyped. It has completely overwhelmed us.”
Read it all (my emphasis).
(Good News) Tom Lambrech–Bright Spots in a Confusing Decision by the recent United Methodist Judicial Council
1. The Judicial Council clearly and forcefully upheld the principle that a jurisdiction’s bishops, acting on behalf of the whole United Methodist Church, cannot legally consecrate as bishop a person who does not meet the qualifications for office. The Western Jurisdiction had maintained that it could elect and consecrate whoever it thought would be an appropriate bishop in light of their particular context, and that the rest of the church could say nothing about their choice. The ruling recognized that bishops are bishops of the whole church and that jurisdictional bishops are acting on behalf of the whole church when they consecrate a bishop. No jurisdiction or annual conference is completely autonomous. We are part of a connection that is responsible and accountable to each other.
2. The Judicial Council clarified that “a same-sex marriage license issued by competent civil authorities together with the clergy person’s status in a same-sex relationship is a public declaration that the person is a self-avowed practicing homosexual.” This important ruling will put an end to games that some openly homosexual clergy have been playing by living in a same-sex marriage, yet declining to acknowledge that they are practicing homosexuals. Rather than requiring church authorities to ask intrusive questions about the personal lives and practices of clergy, all that is now necessary for a person to be brought up on a complaint is the public record of being in a same-sex marriage. The Judicial Council recognized that being in a marriage assumes a sexual relationship, and that it would then be up to the clergyperson under complaint to give “rebuttal evidence” during a complaint process to refute that assumption in an individual case. This should make it much easier and more straightforward to hold accountable some clergypersons who are living contrary to the moral teachings of the church.