I hope the New Year is off to a great start for you and your family. I must confess that I begin with some anxiety about the current state of our world – global threats and heightened alerts particularly with Iran, partisanship among elected officials, anti-Semitic attacks and hate crimes, and an overall seemingly incessant willingness to criticize, demean, and harm one another just because we can. It makes me wonder how we are evolving as a human race and where it will all end.
And yet, I am hopeful about so many things like the proposal set forth last Friday by some leaders within the United Methodist Church. While I had hoped that a split might not be necessary, I see the decision as good news and a viable step toward full inclusion of our LGBTQIA+ siblings, for which I rejoice. Some have asked what this will mean for our particular church, and at the moment I don’t see that there will be any real change. We will continue to be a place where all people are welcome without distinction. We will endeavor to be a light in our community, city, and world. We will keep preaching the gospel and embodying the message of Jesus as best we can. Below are a few links that might help you better understand the decisions made and the history of the United Methodist Church.
I am hopeful about Park Avenue United Methodist and the direction our church is going. Last year alone, we received 34 new members at a time when so many other churches are declining and closing their doors. There is warmth, energy, and a sense of being at home. During the annual Charge Conference last month, we voted to upgrade the existing basement bathrooms and add new child-size and a unisex handicap accessible bathroom to be completed this coming summer. Needless to say, it will be quite an undertaking but will allow us to advance our Day School, offer more child-friendly programming, and strengthen our financial future. The official launch of our capital campaign will begin within the next week or so.
I am hopeful about the acts of kindness I see every day. Many go unnoticed and certainly never make the headlines, and yet they can have giant impact. It’s the little things that often matter most and are visible signs of inward grace, serving as reminders that God is still active and present in our world.
I remain hopeful and am grateful for our shared journey and the gift of another year. Let’s resolve to get through it together and to always do our very best.
Grace and peace,
- Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation & FAQs
- An Imperfect Table, A Chance to Perfect from the Reconciling Ministries Network
- “United Methodist Church Announces Plan to Split Over Same-Sex Marriage” from The New York Times
- “Digging Deeper on the ‘Protocol’ and Numbers” by Rev. Becca Girrell of the New England Annual Conference