I have to admit to you. I am weary. When I look around, I see wonderful work this church does in our community. That work is increasing as we live more fully into our mission of becoming instrumental to the life of the community. I see incredible work our United Methodist Church does on a global scale doing work that no one else does as well as we do. It brings joy to my heart. Where I grow weary is in the increasing ugliness we see in the world and, unfortunately, in our church. I see division and uneasiness, which wears on my soul. We are in incredible and important times. The general church is on the verge of making some decisions that will have an effect on who we are as a denomination and mission organization in the world. The fight is wearisome and, in my opinion, wrong. We should not be battling for a superior position, like the world of petty politics does. We should be focused on Jesus and what he commands for us to do, looking outward and inviting not inward and pushing away.
The short of it is that I believe that no matter what the General Conference decides in 2019, we should not give up on our beloved church. We struggle, as all humans and human organizations do. But the work we do in this place and in this time is just beginning to gather momentum, and is bigger than any single issue. Why do you think that, in the moment of the church shifting to more effective ministry and outreach and evangelism, the very structure and nature of the church is threatened? I believe that it is not God doing this, but the myriad and deceptive forces of evil. What better way to make God more irrelevant in the lives of the people than to cause division and malice in the church that I believe does God’s work of changing lives faithfully? Do not let pride or fear keep us from our work together.
We have work to do, and we need to move forward with that work. Continue to support what we do here, in this place. We have facility upgrades we really do need. We have transportation needs for our church, especially our youth. We have volunteer opportunities with SHEEP and The Upper Room to make a difference in children’s and families’ lives. These needs will enhance the ministry we do and enable us to continue blessing the South Hill community, as we have done for over 225 years with almost 100 of it on this very corner. These missions and upgrades and ministries require our time and our resources to happen. Now is exactly the wrong time to back away in fear and waiting. Do not let the Devil win this battle. Let’s show the world that we trust in God over all else and make our witness known in our actions.
Yours in Christ,