My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
2020 seems to be getting off to a jump start. So much is going on in our country and the world.
We pray for peace in the Middle East. According to the Social Principles of the UMC, “we believe that war is incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ.” May we live into the message of Jesus: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons and daughters of God.”
We pray for those who are being engulfed by the wildfires that are devastating Australia. Communities are being consumed. It is estimated that over ½ billion wildlife have died. The fires are so powerful that smoke fills the skies as far away as South Africa.
We pray for our sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico whose country has been rocked by three earthquakes in the past week. The whole country has been impacted. Power is out. Clean, safe water is in short supply. Buildings are crumbling. People are sleeping outside.
We pray for the future of the United Methodist Church. Many of you have heard and read about a report that was released on Friday called “A Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace through Separation.” Many in the media were presenting this story as if a separation has now occurred. Let me very clear: It has NOT. At this point, this is a proposal. It is not policy. Much needs to happen before that is even a possibility.
Here is part of what still needs to happen BEFORE this can be voted on by the General Conference delegates in May.
- The Protocol would need to be translated in legislative language and form.
- The Council of Bishops have asked the Judicial for a declaratory decision on the constitutionality of the as-yet-to-be-written legislation.
- It would need to be added to the docket of resolutions to be considered by the delegates at General Conference, OR it could come before the Conference as an amendment by substitution to a different resolution.
- Provided all that happens, it would still need to receive a positive vote by a majority of the delegates.
So there is a long road ahead of us as we move toward May and the convening of General Conference 2020. Please keep the Council of Bishops and all the delegates in your prayers. There is a lot we still need to learn and understand. To that end the NIC Exploration Team and the NIC General/Jurisdictional Delegation along with the NIC DCM/Cabinet will be holding four “conversations” during the month of February. According to your schedule, you can go to any one of these:
Sunday, Feb. 2, 3:00 – 5:00 pm at River Forest UMC
Thursday, Feb. 13, 3:00 – 5:00 pm at Woodridge UMC
Thursday, Feb. 13, 7:00 – 9:00 pm at Schaumburg: Our Savior’s UMC
Sunday, February 16, 3:00 – 5:00 pm at Rockford: Christ UMC
There will also be a livestream event with the leaders who helped develop the separation protocol on Monday, January 13. You can watch it on:
This Sunday Pr. Matt Johnson will be delivering the sermon. The focus will be on Jesus’ baptism (Luke 3:1 – 3, 15 -22).Luke records that following his baptism, a voice came from heaven, saying “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” May we so live our lives that we, too, hear God say to us: “You are my Beloved, with you I am well pleased.”
Your Partner in Ministry,