Being United Methodist
October 29, 2021
This last week, your three pastors and two of our lay leaders went to the Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City for a Large Church and Young Adult Conference. We spent 25 hours together in conferencing—we worshiped, we talked around our tables, we listened to panels speak, we listened to vision casting from Adam Hamilton. I won’t speak for the others, but I can say it was an inspiring, hopeful time.
We came together as people who are committed (or mostly committed) to staying United Methodist. This is important to know. We started with the bias that while we may not think alike, we all think there is hope for us together in our denomination. Our agenda was conferencing. That’s it. We didn’t pass resolutions. We didn’t make decisions that would be binding. Instead, we lamented our past. We named our current reality. And we dreamed for the future of the UMC. Beyond inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community, what do we need to address about the denomination? Apportionments? Guaranteed appointments? Racial justice and inclusion? Simplifying the Discipline?
As we look on the horizon, General Conference is scheduled for August of 2022. If it is able to occur … There’s already talk that it may be postponed again because international delegates may not be able to get visas. If it is able to occur, then how can the UMC position itself to leave behind the hyper focus on human sexuality and move to what our task actually is: to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world? This is what we dreamed of.
These dreams are exciting. All of us gathered together are excited about being United Methodist and hopeful about our future. The church is about more than just buildings and money and paying pastors. The church is about relationships and sharing the Gospel. As one panelist said, “We can put all of our energy spent around keeping people out, and use it for reaching people for Christ.”
Even if General Conference doesn’t happen in 2022, we have the task before us. How do we reach people for Christ? Better questions might be, how do we enter into the lives of those who live around our church and reach them where they are? How do we connect with those around us? We need to know those around us and address their needs. We need to go beyond ourselves and fill the gap between where the world is and where the world should be, as Adam Hamilton stated. This is our task. Faith in action, the book of James says.
We would be happy to talk with you about our time away if you have questions. We plan to offer a conversation time in the near future. We want to share with you our hope for the Church. No matter what the general church says, we are doing good for the gospel of Christ. St. Mark’s is a church that uses words like “all.” We are a church that reaches beyond income levels to reach the real needs of Nash Elementary. We are a church that feeds the hungry through groceries or prepared meals. We are a church that believes we can make a difference in the world and in our community through caring for all people. We will continue to do this.
What does that look like for this next year? How can we continue to be known as a church that cares? It’s an exciting time to be United Methodist!
See you soon,
(Please note, masks are required during all services as well as inside all St. Mark’s buildings.)
Join us for worship:
- 8:30 a.m. Traditional service with choirs in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
- 10 a.m. Modern worship service with Praise Team in Fellowship Hall
- 10 a.m. Traditional service with choirs in Sanctuary
- 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care
- 10 a.m. Pre-recorded worship premieres on YouTube and Website
Three ways to access our pre-recorded service:
- From the main menu on our website click “Worship.”
- Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.
- The YouTube link will also be shared on Facebook St. Mark’s UMC Tucson or use this link.