My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
We live in interesting and intense, confusing and complicated times. As I write this, we are in the midst of an impeachment trial in the Senate. Both sides are passionately pleading their cases. At times, it is easy to wonder if they are talking about the same events. From their separate positions, they see, understand, and present things very differently. There is a great divide between the way the Republicans and the way the Democrats are interpreting the same events.
In the United Methodist Church, once again (still), we are debating and discussing how we are going to order our communal lives, relate to one another and to the world around us. The core issues icenter on how we are going to be in ministry with our LGBTQIA sisters and brothers, but it is really about much more than that. Most of the legislation (although not all of it) that will be considered by General Conference in May has already been submitted. Indeed, the deadline for submission has already passed (although there are ways for late documents to come before the body). Much of this legislation, indeed most that is generating any real interest, has to do with the future of our denomination. Virtually all of the legislation along these lines calls for some kind of separation or division. The legislation submitted by UMForward calls for the total dissolution of the UMC and so that new. more theologically aligned denominations, might emerge. There is a great divide between the traditionalists and the progressives on how to handle what now appears to the inevitable separation/division/dissolution and resultant restructuring of the UMC.
Bishop Sally Dyck has arranged for six different gatherings to help us understand and discuss the dynamics and implications of these plans, specifically as they relate to the Northern Illinois Conference. Here is a list of the dates, times, and locations for the conversations.
Sunday, Feb. 2 @ 3-5pm: River Forest UMC, 7970 Lake St., River Forest
Thursday, Feb. 13 @ 3-5pm: Woodridge UMC, 2700 75th St., Woodridge
Thursday Feb. 13 @ 7-9pm: Schaumburg: Our Saviour’s, 701 E. Schaumburg Rd., Schaumburg
Sunday, Feb. 16 @ 3-5pm: Rockford: Christ, 4509 Highcrest Rd., Rockford
Sunday, Feb. 16 @ 7-9pm: Sycamore UMC, 160 Johnson Ave., Sycamore
Saturday, Mar. 7 @ 10am-Noon: Dolton: Faith UMC, 15015 Grant St., Dolton
Conversations are open to members of all NIC churches—you do not have to attend a conversation within your district. These conversations are co-hosted by the NIC Exploration Team and the Delegation along with the Cabinet. I hope you will make an effort to be at one of these important conversations. As always I as your pastor along with Tom Miller (Lay member to Annual Conference) and Steve Granholm (Alternate Lay Member to Annual Conference) remain committed to keeping you all informed as more information becomes available. Watch for future All-Church Conversations.
In the midst of changing and challenging times, our mission and purpose here at FUMC of West Dundee remains the same. We are called to love God, love one another, and love our neighbors. In other words, we are called to Do Be Live Church.
Hope to see you all on Sunday as we consider what it means for us to life long learners on this journey of faith. (Preaching lesson: Matthew 5:1 – 11, 7:28 – 29)
Your Partner in Ministry