It was great to be with you all Sunday morning. No question the Holy Spirit was present as worshipped and celebrated the Lord’s Supper together. Vacation is always refreshing and fun; Gulf Shores is a pretty great part of the world, but being home is pretty swell, too.
Brenda Odell and I shared with the congregation regarding our attendance at the listening session, called by our resident Bishop Farr, regarding the postponement of General Conference and the launching of the Global Methodist Church as an alternative to the UMC. I am happy to visit at length with any of you regarding your concerns, dreams, and issues with what appears to be the breakup of the UMC. The upshot of our time with the Bishop is this: it’s a mess. The very constitution that has undergirded and stabilized our beloved church for many years now presents us with issues as we look toward 2024 and the next meeting of the General Conference. Yes, it is a pain, but imagine suspending the US Constitution at will to serve specific issues and constituencies. There would be no sense of order. So, we simply have to live in the messiness as the mother church works through this season of her life.
I guess the biggest takeaway I had from the time with the Bishop is that all the above, and all that may happen as we move forward has no immediate impact on us at Northern Boulevard and Winner Road. We are United Methodists and will remain so. I am an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church and will remain so. We believe God’s grace in “free for all and free in all,” to quote our founder, John Wesley. We believe that God’s grace is operative in all people, even when they are unaware or choose to reject that grace. We believe all persons are God’s creation and are worthy of love and respect. We believe that all means all, without regard to the social and cultural wars wracking our society.
We trust Jesus Christ when he commands us to feed the hungry, visit the sick, care for the needy, do justice, and love mercy. We will relentlessly strive to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world in our mission field. Period.
In the meantime, plan to be part of our Blessing of the Bikes this Sunday. Visit with our guests and enjoy a hotdog in the parking lot. I know it’s Mother’s Day, but what an unusual way to observe a portion of the day! Our text for Sunday will be Psalm 23. The message, in keeping with the theme, will be “What I’ve Learned About Faith from Riding a Motorcycle.” Should be a great day.
The new small group study on small group ministry began last Sunday. There is an empty seat at the table. Is it for you? It’s not too late to join the group….
Get your motors running….
See you Sunday,
To respond directly to Pastor Paul, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact him at 816-724-0080