Pastor’s Note – January 30, 2020

Schweitzer UMCPastor's Note

Friends,

We are on a series of Pastor’s Notes exploring the United Methodist Church, and the proposed “Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation.”  If you’ve missed a note, you can read our previous notes on our website.  Through this series I’m sharing with you some of the reasons I see a separation in the UMC as a positive.

I’m getting lots of good feedback from folks in the church and some of this feedback is shaping what I’m writing about. If you have questions or comments send them my way.

Recently a Schweitzer member shared with me a prayer she has written for Schweitzer about the future of our church and the denomination. I was very inspired by her prayer and I want to share it with you:

I pray that we are a church that teaches there is but one God—you are the Triune God; who created all things, who created in your image man and woman, a God who calls us to take up our cross and follow you.

I pray that we are a church that teaches your Word and your Word has authority over our lives.

I pray that we teach of your love and grace that welcomes all into your Kingdom no matter who, what or where they are in their lives.  All are welcome into your Kingdom.  

I pray that we are a church that teaches nothing is impossible with you and we may receive all things as long as we obey your commands and do what pleases you. And what is your command:  that we believe in the name of your Son Jesus Christ and love one another.

I pray that we are a church that teaches that your word was made flesh and given the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus began His ministry proclaiming the Kingdom of God is near, repent and believe in the good news.  May we continue His ministry by following Jesus’s example.

I pray that we are a church that teaches the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  That Jesus died on the cross for our sins and salvation, was buried, and after three days Jesus arose from the dead.

I pray that we are a church that teaches the teachings of Jesus Christ.  That we are a church that reaches out to the lost, cares for the sick, feeds the hungry and continues to be the hands and feet of Jesus.   I pray that we are a church that proclaims the good news and makes disciples of Jesus Christ who makes disciples.  

Finally, I pray that we are a church that teaches not only that God is the one true God, that He sent his Son to die for us and conquered death, but He also Sent His Holy Spirit to be our constant helper.  This is the same Spirit that God used to create the heavens and earth; to create man and woman; the same Spirit Jesus used to heal the sick, drive out evil Spirits and it is the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave.  That same Spirit lives in us and testifies that we are God’s children—His heirs. May we be a church that teaches the power of the Holy Spirit. 

It is in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, I pray.  Amen

I wanted to share it with you because it gets to the heart of what we’re talking about with a separation. If you read the news it sounds like the only thing dividing the church is a disagreement on ministry with LGBTQ+ people. In reality this division is much deeper and has to do with very divergent views of the church and the gospel message. I don’t have enough space in these Pastor’s Notes to adequately describe the different visions. This prayer does a great job of articulating what I hope our future looks like. I am working and praying for Schweitzer to be a church – and to be aligned with other churches – that share the sentiment of this prayer.

Spencer

Also, as is our custom to share Board meeting minutes through the Pastor’s Note, here are the latest approved minutes from the Schweitzer Board.