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6-7-22 FUMC Updates

Thanks to everyone who attended the Q & A meeting that we had after church yesterday about the human sexuality issues facing the United Methodist Church – your questions were great and I’m so thankful we can talk so openly about what little we really know about what changes our denomination is facing.  Thanks to Ted Haynes who is serving in numerous District and Conference roles to keep us updated on all the information as it changes but let me reiterate … we will not know HOW our book of polity, the BOOK OF DISCIPLINE will change until May 2024 when the General Conference meets again.

Here are the notes from former emails I have sent that I reviewed today.

As you may know, the General Conference normally meets every four years to amend, if necessary, the law, doctrine, administration, organizational work, and procedures as outlined in UMC The Book of Discipline. Since the General Conference was postponed in 2020, then again in 2021 and 2022 and now until 2024 due to the pandemic, we still operate out of our 2016 Book of Discipline. 

For many years there have been conversations in our denomination about the language in our Book of Discipline regarding Human Sexuality that says: “We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God.” The paragraph goes on to say, “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.” ¶161.G This is the language that guides us now and will guide us through 2024 when the General Conference meets again … this not change until then.

However, because this language has been hurtful to some who believe it is incompatible with what Jesus taught, there has been a movement to amend that language to be more inclusive.  Again, though, since no change will be made until 2024, we have no idea what changes may come or what language might change.  But, anticipating that change may come two years from now, some United Methodist churches have chosen to leave our denomination and be part of a new denomination called the Global Methodist Church which launched in May. The Global Methodist Church has already been established as a brand NEW denomination and they have already said that will not ordain LGBT people or allow gay weddings.

On April 23rd our Bishop, Mike McKee invited us all to have a conversation about this topic and I attached those notes again. The Bishop’s opinion about this is clear – he hopes that NO churches will leave – and as of this past week, there are only 12 churches out of our 270 in the  Conference who are CONSIDERING leaving but none that have said they ARE leaving.

Churches that express interest in leaving the United Methodist Church before the decisions are made at the 2024 General Conference will begin a 9-12 month discernment process with a disaffiliation team of 3-4 clergy and laity from the East District.  TED HAYNES WILL BE ONE OF THOSE LAY MEMBERS.

At the Bishop’s meeting, he reminded us that the United Methodist Church has had “lovers’ quarrels” in the past over allowing women in the pulpit, or allowing African Americans to worship in our sanctuaries, but our formidable love for Jesus Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit helped us work through those differences.  His hope is that we can work together, and stay together, out of that very love for Jesus but also, our love for each other in spite of things we don’t always agree on.

Our Church Council believes waiting to see what the 2024 changes will be is more prudent, but we wanted to share this information again, in a Q and A forum as we did today, to see what members of the congregation think.

Here are some updates shared today …

WHAT WILL HAPPEN AT THE NORTH TEXAS CONFERENCE ANNUAL MEETING THIS WEEK? 

No legislation can be passed about the human sexuality issue in the Book of Discipline until 2024 however, the North Texas Board of Trustees will share details about the disaffiliation process.

WILL THE NORTH TEXAS CONFERENCE ENFORCE THE BOOK OF DISCIPLINE?

Yes. There are a handful of pastors or churches who have violated the BOD and the Bishop and Cabinet are upholding the BOD. Violations are brought to their attention are treated as PERSONNEL issues and certain privacy issues apply. 

Let’s be in prayers together as this transition period in the denomination continues. Ted and I are willing to come to talk with your Sunday school group, answer your questions, and/or find answers if we don’t know them.  If we learn more information after Conference, we’ll let you know.
 
I included the link for the news agency of the United Methodist Church in the attachment of my email yesterday, but here it is again … https://www.umnews.org/  UMNews.org of not the PR firm for the church but the NEWS arm of the church – you can sign up for daily news updates or Friday news updates on all sorts of topics, OR you can get the app on your phone:
 
Download from:
 
Ted Haynes and I have enjoyed the beautiful worship services with 3 different Bishops at Annual Conference this week. We’ve also heard about the wonderful work our shared apportionments through the Conference supports … check these out:
 
KIDS INTERESTED IN SUMMER CAMP?  Bridgeport is fully open again and scholarships are available so check it out HERE.
Providence Place (formerly Methodist Children’s Home), San Antonio

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Let’s also be in prayer about supporting our new children’s ministries!  

Contact Heather if you can do something – anything – to help! (See her attached email here.)
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FLC REGULAR WEDNESDAY NIGHT MEALS WILL RESUME JULY 6th ... there will be no meals the rest of June with the exception of those coming to the PART 2 VISION meeting this Wednesday night, June 8th, at 6 PM in Wesley Hall.  We’ll order pizza and get to work brainstorming our vision statement.

Thursday, June 9th, 6 pm, JR/HIGH SCHOOL KIDS … meet Pastor Debbie at the Barrell House for dinner & let’s catch up!

Friday, June 10th, 6 pm, “OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL” KIDS … meet Pastor Debbie at the Barrell House for dinner, and let’s catch up

Saturday, June 11th …10 am, United Methodist Women Quiet Day at Pat St. Miklossy’s home.  Contact Pat for details. 903-850-5131

Sunday, June 12th … 10:30 Kids Connection KICK-OFF in Wesley Hall,  EVERYONE is invited to join us for donut holes and juice boxes as we consecrate our new children’s ministry and pray over the kids BY name!

Wednesday, June 22, 6-8:30, MIDDLE SCHOOL KIDS, pizza, and a movie to inaugurate the kids’ rooms upstairs in the FLC.

We’ll be ending our Living the Spirit Life series next Sunday with an exciting “chariots of fire” look at what it means to be HOMEWARD BOUND!

Pastor Debbie


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FUMC Updates 5/30/22

I hope you all enjoyed your Memorial Weekend! I found myself watching SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and crying just as hard all these years later as I did back in 1998 when I saw it for the first time! Then I stumbled upon a moving WWII documentary, “Operation Valkyrie,” about the brave German army officers who plotted, unsuccessfully, to assassinate Adolf Hitler and take back control of the country after millions of Jews had been killed, and I was even more emotional. It reminded me again how impossible it is to believe that one man, Adolf Hitler, could make the entire German nation believe that they were part of a mythical “Aryan race” that was superior to other races! How could they believe this required the extermination of those they believed to be imperfect: Jews, blacks, homosexuals, and yes, even Christians who wouldn’t “toe the line”?

What is still painful for me to understand even today is that the vast majority of Germans were Christians during the Nazi era. The Nazis coerced the leaders of two-thirds of the churches to unite in support of Hitler as a “national” church which made it possible for them to continue as if nothing was horribly wrong. Of course, they had to turn a blind eye to the horrors around them: the absolute destruction of neighboring sovereign countries and the murder of millions of their neighbors and friends.

Martin Niemöller was a prominent Lutheran pastor in Germany who was an outspoken public critic of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps. He is best remembered for his postwar words that stand engraved on a memorial at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC:

First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—

because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—

because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

God forbid history repeats itself. God forbid we would ever find ourselves having to turn up the music in our sanctuary on Sundays in order to tune out the train cars rolling through our town carrying our neighbors to their horrific deaths.

Let us continue to pray, really pray, that hate is thwarted by love, and peace among people in our country, and especially now in Ukraine, IS possible.

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DROP OFF OR BRING YOUR CARDS FOR THE PEOPLE OF UVALDE: we can not begin to comprehend the pain and suffering of the families and people in Uvalde after 19 children and 2 of their teachers were murdered in their classroom last week. But we CAN do something tangible … we can express our shared grief, sympathy, and thoughts in our cards, letters, and notes. Please bring or drop off your cards by next Sunday, June 5th and we will mail them, all together, to show we really do care!

WEDNESDAY CRAFTERS ARE ON SUMMER HIATUS: crafters will not be meeting on Wednesdays this summer, but we hope that many of you talented people will join them as they work at home to make some wonderful things for our Christmas in the Park this fall. We are so grateful that your creative “therapy” benefits the church!

CALLING ALL PEOPLE OF GOD WHO WANT TO SEE MORE CHILDREN IN OUR CHURCH! Please continue praying for Heather Warren who will be our new half-time Children’s Director starting June 12th. She’ll get things started with our new Children’s Church starting on Sunday mornings, June 12th, and on that day we’ll all meet in Wesley Hall at 10:30 to kick off our new K thru 5th-grade ministry and pray for our children, by name. She will be sending out an email this week with details on where YOU might answer God’s call to serve so, please say “This is my church, I’ll do something!”

LET’S WRITE OUR VISION STATEMENT: Wednesday, June 1, 6:45 after the Wednesday night meal … this summer our WEDNESDAY night meals will move to the first Wednesday night of the month and this week after dinner please stay and help us start the work to create our VISION statement – we’ll go to WESLEY HALL at about 6:45 and then NEXT Wednesday, June 8th, we’ll come back to Wesley Hall at 6:00 and we’ll order pizza & finish our work.  Our VISION statement will be a short, personal descriptive statement that says how we will make disciples for Jesus Christ – and your input will help write it!

NORTH TEXAS ANNUAL CONFERENCE: June 5-7, Richardson, TX … every year regional Conferences of the United Methodist Church gather around the world to do the business of the Church. As in all local polity and organizational decisions in the church, an equal number of lay leaders and clergy make decisions together.

Q and A, Sunday, June 5, after Church in Wesley Hall …stop by Wesley Hall after church this Sunday and bring any questions you might have on denominational changes. We’ll do our best to answer questions about upcoming announcements.

THIS SUNDAY our “Living a Spirit Life” continues with a look at what HOME means to Christians, and what it meant to Jesus, LUKE 9:57-62.  

Grace and peace,

Pastor Debbie


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