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Pastor's Page

Dear Friends,

 

Greetings in the name of Jesus!  Many years ago, I read an editorial describing Easter as the event that transformed the frightened group of disciples into an empowered world changing movement.  I must admit this description immediately challenged the way I thought about the church.  I always thought Pentecost was the start of Christianity. It occurred about 50 days after Easter when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and three thousand were converted to the faith that day.

 

As I thought a little more about the church, I realized Easter really was the start of it.  Jesus’ death traumatized his followers.   His resurrection transformed them as they began to understand all that Jesus accomplished.  While they did not reach their full potential until Pentecost, their experience of the risen Jesus began to shape the movement we call the church.

 

The influence of Easter can be traced in the church over the centuries.  We worship on Sunday, the first day of the week because of Christ’s resurrection.  It was the hope that the risen Lord brings that has led to so many Christians’ willingness to give up their lives in service to Jesus.  Historically, the church has been a leader in education, health care and social services following the example of Jesus’ ministry and because of His resurrection power.

 

Over the years the church has changed.  Movements within the faith have spawned various expressions of worship and theology.  Often denominations were formed and developed as a result.  As Methodists we are a product of John Wesley’s desire to take church to the common folk.  His emphasis on growing in one’s personal relationship with God and witness to the world led to the formation of Methodism.  There is a special Wesleyan emphasis on “holy conferencing”.  It is when God’s people come together to pray, discern, and decide the direction of the church.

 

In a church with bishops, but without a pope or archbishop, our church law is developed by the General Conference.  It is the only body that can speak for the United Methodist Church and meets every four years.  In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic delayed the General Conference until this year. Even though it is 2024, technically the postponed 2020 General Conference will meet in Charlotte, North Carolina from April 23rd through May 3rd.   This explains why one looking for more information on umc.org discovers it under General Conference 2020.   

 

While many are focused on what the General Conference will decide about the United Methodist Church’s policies around human sexuality, there is much more business to be done.  Legislation regarding the structure of the local church, annual conferences, and the general church will be considered.  There will be discernment around the length of tenure for bishops and how many of them will serve in each region.

 

As we celebrate the joy and hope the risen Christ brings on Easter, we remember a frightened band of followers transformed into witnesses of God’s love and power.  I hope that you will join us on Easter Sunday, March 31st at 8:30 AM or 11 AM.  I also invite you to join me for praying for our conference’s delegation to General Conference led by Pastor Alyce. One of our new members Katherine Fehl is also part of our delegation as well.  Let us pray that God’s Spirit will lead the General Conference to share the United Methodist Church in ways that share the love of Christ throughout the world.

 

Blessings, Pastor Keith

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