Our Bishop, Elaine Stanovsky, has invited all of us in the annual conference to participate in a “Crossing Over to Life” this coming year. It is being done in conjunction with the book We Make the Road By Walking by Brian McLaren. Each week, in 3-4 pages, McLaren invites us to revisit biblical principles for living. Week One begins the week of December 2nd. There will be a short reading, 3 to 4 pages, for each week.
Why do we need to CrossOver? According to our conference website, it’s because United Methodists are stuck. Fifty years ago, in 1968, the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church became The United Methodist Church (UMC). In 1972 the new Church wrote “social principles” to guide our engagement and witness in the world. Ever since, we have disagreed about human sexuality. Should the Church accept and bless sexual relations that do not conform to the standard of monogamous heterosexual marriage? Should the Church welcome into fellowship and leadership and ordain persons who are “self-identified homosexuals?” (Book Of Discipline ¶304.3, ¶2702.1(b)) What does the Bible say? How do we discern God’s will for our time and the places of our ministries?
People with strong convictions on both sides have left the church. Others continue to fight for the soul of the UMC. Still others have just become weary of the conflict. During the 2016 General Conference in Portland, this conflict boiled over into angry protests and chaotic outbursts. A Commission was formed to chart a Way Forward for our church that would loosen the bonds of conformity within the UMC to allow space for a wider diversity of belief and practice regarding human sexuality.
A Special General Conference of the Church will be held from February 23-26, 2019 to decide what The United Methodist Church will look like in the future. This book study will help us prepare for this important event.
If you would like to participate in the study, you’re invited to attend the Sunday Morning Adult Class at 9:30 a.m.. They will be using this study for the coming year. You can order a book from Amazon. We have an outline of the readings throughout the year that is available either from the office or can be found on the table in the Narthex (the hallway outside of the sanctuary). The Tuesday Small Group is also using this resource. If you would like to participate with that group, you can talk with Alta Smith.
I will be reading it by myself at this point. However, if there are others who would like to join with me in a small group, I would love to hear from you. This an important time in the life of our denomination. I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity. I’ll see you in worship.
Sermon Texts, Themes, and Titles for December
We strive to make worship meaningful, relevant, and challenging each and every Sunday.You are challenged to make worship a regular part of your life. You are invited to take some time to read the Scripture and reflect on the passages before each worship service.
December 2nd: Peace! The Scripture passage will be John 14:23-27 and the theme will be the peace Christ gives us. This will be the first Sunday in Advent.
December 9th: Hope! The Scripture passage will be Romans 15:7-13 and the theme will be the hope that Jesus gives us.
December 16th: Joy! The Scripture passage will be John 15:9-13 and the theme will be the joy that Jesus gives us.
December 23rd: Christmas Celebration!
December 24th: Emmanuel, God With Us! The Scripture passage will be Luke 2:1-20 and the theme will be the joy of the incarnation.
December 30th: Some Good New Year’s Resolutions! The Scripture passage will be Colossians 3:12-17 and the theme will be recommitting ourselves to following Jesus.
Worship is a vital part of a growing and vibrant faith. So make sure you attend on a regular basis. And bring a friend or two with you. It’s a great way to introduce someone to Jesus.
Centralia First United Methodist Church 506 S Washington Ave 98531 360-736-7311