Pastor’s Note – January 16, 2020

Schweitzer UMCPastor's Note

Friends,

Today, we’re going to start a new series of Pastor’s Notes as we explore the United Methodist Church.

Last week, I shared with you that Schweitzer has formed a Study Group to assess possible outcomes of the upcoming United Methodist General Conference and any action Schweitzer may need to take. To start this series, I want to share a bit more about this Study Group.

If you are not aware, the United Methodist Church is governed by an elected body called General Conference. The General Conference meets every four years with representatives from around the world. The United Methodist Church is unique in that we are a global body. General Conference is responsible for writing The Book of Discipline, which is our church law.

As I wrote last week, the major petition coming before General Conference is to separate the denomination into a “progressive” denomination and “traditional” denomination. This division is about many things, but homosexuality tends to be the main thing we talk about. I want to be clear, this division is not just about homosexuality. I’ll write more detailed notes in the future about the division in the United Methodist Church.

Schweitzer’s Study Group has been formed with four objectives:

  1. Gain a full understanding of all proposals to the General Conference that might impact the future unity of the UMC.
  2. Identify possible impacts to Schweitzer and our pastors, in various scenarios, should the UMC no longer function as constituted today.
  3. Develop options and recommendations for Schweitzer to consider should it become necessary to affect changes.
  4. Consider and make recommendations on how-to and when-best to communicate with the congregation regarding the matter.

In short, we want to explore the various outcomes that General Conference may produce and what Schweitzer can do to make sure we continue to be a healthy, growing church.

The Study Group is made up of eight members:
Doug Johnson
Meredith Roberts
Aralai Chowfin
Bob Lunn
Gail Randolph
Darrell Decker
Kim Hammons
Spencer Smith

This Study Group will report to our Board and will make any recommendations directly to our Board. Please be praying for our church and for God’s wisdom.

It’s easy to become discouraged by this denominational dysfunction. A Study Group member reminded me of the promise of Scripture we find in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Schweitzer is a healthy church seeking to honor God. Despite the dysfunction of our denomination,  God has good plans for our church to make a difference in our mission field.

Spencer