Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Frank Wulf is a true Saint!

Have you read that Frank Wulf was willing to serve our church as a bishop? Every candidate gave the church a gift by being willing to serve, but Frank's faithfulness was of a special kind. By identifying himself as someone called and ready to serve as a bishop and also a gay person, Frank is helping us all to continue to grow towards being a more honest and prophetic church.

The article on United Methodist News Service is definitely worth the read, you can also listen to Frank's statement. You'll be surprised to read there about the "FOX News/politics of fear" style of threats being made by Maxie Dunnam. Goes to show that even when God is doing a new thing, somethings never change. We can always count on God and... we can always count on some other things too.

As a delegate to Northeast Jurisdictional Conference, I was surprised to realize what a big impact some candidates for the episcopacy had even if they weren't elected or didn't get many votes. The power of the prophecy shared in simply the biographical statements and resumes shows a need for a new type of leadership. People are ready to serve AND they were elected.

In the Northeast, the majority of candidates for the episcopacy either served Reconciling Congregations at some point or were actively involved in supporting ministries to and with GLBT people. They represented a wide range of theological beliefs and visions for our church. That's because Reconciling is a grassroots movement that is inclusive of many people and points of view. Our church's leaders are being mentored in the Reconciling Ministries Network, RMN is strengthening the church in many ways. Adult Education, Liturgical Renewal, leadership training, congregation self-examination, encouraging small-group formation- this is what RMN is all about.

In the New England Annual Conference we've been reading "I Refuse to Lead a Dying Church" by Paul Nixon, and sure enough the journey to becoming a welcoming church is lifted up several times as a great tool for revitalizing a local church. The point in that book isn't simply that welcome to GLBT people makes for a better local church (though of course it does) the point is that conversation, learning and dedicating ourselves to specific ministry are essential to healthy churches.

Reconciling Ministries is strengthening the United Methodist Church.

Thanks be to God.

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