A Pastoral Letter
Dearly Beloved Friends,
Over the past few months, the word I have heard most often to describe disaffiliation in the United Methodist Church is, “confusing.” How true this is with so much information at our fingertips! As I wrote in this space two weeks ago, the process of gathering accurate information has been challenging, and I apologize that we have not given you anything formally yet. That changes as of today though, as I bring you an update from the Administrative Council.
The Council met on Sunday, April 30, and approved that our church enter into a season of discernment with the formation of a discernment committee to be led by me as your pastor, shepherd, and spiritual leader. This is something that I have desired to assemble and lead you in for months, and with the Administrative Council’s blessing, now is the time to start.
This is very important: discernment is not disaffiliation. Discernment is consistent listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit in community. Disaffiliation is a process that churches may enter into after a season of discernment. What I’ve been charged with doing is gathering and overseeing a discernment committee who will lead our congregation in learning and listening to God together. Our district superintendent, Rev. Paulette Buford-James tells us that discernment includes the following: “fasting, prayer, study of scripture, information gathered and surveying of the congregation by a straw poll vote.”
Every week on the inside of this newsletter will be a short update on the progress of assembling and gathering the discernment committee, followed by updates when we start meeting. Once a month, I’ll provide a longer update in this space, and we will send additional mailings as necessary.
As I shared with the Council on Sunday, I share with you: I love you. I am honored to serve as your pastor. Trust me to lead you, and I trust you to be led by the Holy Spirit. Let us move forward in faith that God is doing and will do great things through our church.
all good things, as always, to each of you,