Each week from now through Easter, we will post weekly with a list of daily scripture readings. This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent - the 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday. We hope you begin these readings on Wednesday and continue through Easter, and we pray this leads you to a closer relationship with Jesus! Here are the readings for this week:
Wed 2/26 - Psalm 51:10 Lenten Prayer
Thurs 2/27 - Luke 1:35 Angel to Mary
Fri 2/28 - Matthew 1:20-21 Angel to Joseph
Sat 2/29 - Luke 2:7 Savior is Born
Sun 3/1 - John 1:29 Lamb of God
Check back next week for the next list of readings!
The February High Notes is now available to download! To subscibe to the newsletter, please click here, and fill out the form.
What form The United Methodist Church takes next will remain unclear until the 2020 General Conference meets this spring.
In a gathering that emphasized the denomination’s uncertain future, United Methodists received a preview of some of the possibilities that will be before 862 delegates when they meet May 5-15 in Minneapolis.
“Minneapolis is likely to be our Massah, our testing place, and Minneapolis is likely to be our Meribah, our quarreling place,” said Minnesota’s Bishop Bruce Ough during an opening sermon based on Exodus 17.
But, he added, Minneapolis also “can be the place where God pours out God’s extravagant love and grace on a hurting, broken, anxious church and liberates us from our conflict.”
More than 400 delegates, communicators and other United Methodists who will be part of the 2020 General Conference attended the Jan. 23-24 preview event at the Omni Nashville Hotel. UM News and United Methodist Communications sponsored the event, with involvement and support from other agencies and ministries of the church.
Near the top of the agenda was an overview of various proposals to separate or, in one case, dissolve the denomination in hopes of ending the church’s decades-long dispute over how accepting to be of homosexuality.
The gathering also included presentations on other legislation that could affect United Methodist ministry. This is a brief look at some of the issues explored. A number of topics covered in the briefing will be addressed in future stories by UM News. Those will include proposals affecting young people’s ministries, the status of women, the general church budget, ecumenical relationships and the future of ethnic-focused ministries.
Plans of separation
The rancorous special 2019 General Conference, by a 438-384 vote, tightened the denomination’s bans on same-sex weddings and “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy. However, those church rules have faced increasing resistance.
Confronted with what many see as irreconcilable differences, various groups of United Methodists have worked throughout 2019 on proposals to let the denomination split along theological lines.
Participants at the Nashville gathering heard from developers of four such proposals. These included “New Denominations of Methodism,” also known as the Indianapolis Plan; “New Expressions Worldwide” from UM-Forward; “Next Generation UMC” from UMCNext; and the “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation.”
By far the plan that has grabbed the most attention is the protocol. The proposal is a mediated agreement among bishops and leaders of advocacy groups with differing perspectives on LGBTQ inclusion. The plan resulted from discussions initiated by Sierra Leone’s Bishop John Yambasu.
“The uniqueness of this conversation was that it was broad; it was diverse,” said the Rev. Junius Dotson, a delegate from the Great Plains Conference and top executive of Discipleship Ministries. “It was initiated by central conference leaders; and of course, this conversation morphed into a conversation that was mediated by the world-renowned Ken Feinberg.”
Developers of the Indianapolis and UMCNext plans both contributed to the protocol, and presenters for each plan announced their groups’ backing of the newest proposal.
The protocol does not ask anyone to leave The United Methodist Church. However, it allows traditionalist congregations and conferences to separate and form a new denomination, while keeping their properties and getting $25 million in United Methodist funds.
It also reserves $2 million to help other new potential denominations and designates $39 million over eight years to strengthen Asian, African American, Hispanic-Latino, Native American and Pacific Islander ministries, as well as Africa University.
Still, the Rev. Jay Williams — a leader in UM-Forward and delegate from the New England Conference — voiced concerns about how the protocol came into being. He noted that UM-Forward and leaders of the denomination’s ethnic caucuses were not at the table. He also said that the protocol developers were the only plan backers who had a UMCom “press conference.”
UM-Forward developed the New Expressions Worldwide, or N.E.W., Plan that would dissolve The United Methodist Church and form four new global denominations instead.
“We believe dissolution is the faithful way forward,” said the Rev. Alka Lyall, one of the plan’s developers and a delegate from the Northern Illinois Conference.
Under the plan, the new denominations would align along traditionalist, moderate, progressive or liberation perspectives. UM-Forward, which seeks to center itself on people of color and LGBTQ individuals, sees itself in the last category.
The group’s vision of liberation, Williams explained, is “a spiritual and social way of living, a posture toward the future that is grounded in past struggle and present resilience that proclaims: We are loved into freedom.”
Article taken from West Ohio Conference Net News. Read more at:
The first High Notes of 2020 is now available to download! To subscibe to the newsletter, please click here, and fill out the form.
The following is a letter from our conference Bishop, Gregory V. Palmer, regarding the plan for the proposed separation of the United Methodist Church. We are asked to read and understand this information, directly from the group of individuals that created the plan. Please know that at High Street ALL are welcome, and that will always be the case. We will continue to love and serve as Jesus did!
By now, many of you have heard or read the headlines regarding the future of The United Methodist Church and a proposed separation plan. Headlines are often deceiving which may increase the number of visitors to their social media channel but often confuse the reader. Depending on the news outlet you frequent, their interpretation of the proposal may affect your immediate response. For that reason, I urge you to refer to the following information.
The first link will be found on the West Ohio Conference website. This information comes directly from the group who created the plan. I was a member of that team. After reading the document, please take time to read the links within the story, too. United Methodist News has provided this interpretation: https://www.umnews.org/en/news/diverse-leaders-group-offers-separation-plan
As I stated earlier, I was a part of the group that developed and supports this plan. Our process was robust, prayerful, respectful and hopeful. The hope is to offer something to the delegates that will assist in managing well the change that is already afoot.
Some of you may be wondering how this may impact you. I offer this: keep loving and serving Jesus. Keep loving and serving your neighbor. Keep loving and serving your church and community. There is no immediate impact. This proposal is currently in a narrative format and legislation is being developed. Only the 2020 General Conference can take decisive action. The General Conference will take place on May 5 – 15 in Minneapolis. If this approach is adopted, it will provide a clear, level field for conferences and local churches to make decisions if they feel they need to make one. It is crucial to understand that no entity is required to vote to stay or go unless they want to do so.
There will be opportunities for you to learn more in the days and weeks to come. United Methodist News intends to write a series of articles. A livestream event will take place on Monday, January 13th to provide further clarity and explanations of the plan. Once we receive more details about the livestream event, we will make them available on the conference website and social media channels.
In hope and prayer that we will all be indefatigable in pursuit of the mission of “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."
Your servant through Jesus,
+Gregory V. Palmer
The last High Notes of 2019 is now available to download! To subscibe to the newsletter, please click here, and fill out the form.
To implement this program, we have two pastors assigned to us. Our Senior Pastor is Rev. Cynthia Atwater, who has come from Covenant United Methodist Church. Our Associate Pastor is Heather Husted, who has come from McKinley United Methodist Church as an Associate Pastor, she will serve part-time at High Street and part-time at Covenant.
Cynthia is a graduate of Northwestern University and comes to us with experience in the public sector prior to attending the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
Heather is a new seminary graduate, she received her undergraduate degree in Biblical Studies from Eastern New Mexico University and her Master of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary in May. Heather was commissioned as a provisional elder in the West Ohio Conference this year. She comes to us from McKinley United Methodist Church in Dayton, Ohio but grew up in Elida, New Mexico. Heather has worked as a youth pastor, family life coordinator and as a missionary in Central China for four years.
We are thankful to have been blessed with not one but two pastors. This is an opportunity to impact the communities of Springfield in new and unique ways. We are currently planning events for which we will partner with Covenant United Methodist as part of the Global Village Urban Collective.
Stay tuned for more info!
Saturday, September 21 at 7pm in the Foundry Theater, 920 Corry St., Yellow Springs
Sunday, September 22 at 3pm at the High Street Methodist Church, 230 East High St., Springfield
This year we are honored to be part of the Levitt Pavilion lineup. The concert, Our Planet—Our Lives, coincides with the UN’s Climate Justice for Peace Day (September 21).
Paul Winter’s Missa Gaia is a 40-minute contemporary work that is derived from a traditional religious form meant to move listeners to reflect on the interconnectedness and sanctity of all life on earth. It weaves the recorded calls of wolf, whale, and harp seal together with choral voices, soloists and a small ensemble of instrumentalists. Textured throughout in this lyrical environmental liturgy are rhythms from Africa, Brazil and the American gospel tradition. The voices of the animals are more than mere sound as they inspire the meaning and shape the form of each musical movement
In addition to our performance of Missa Gaia, we have commissioned two African American composers, Ayanna Woods and Norman Whiteside, to write short original works for us that address climate justice. Not only that, we will be joined by invited guests from the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company for several of the movements of the Missa Gaia.
Admission is free, donations are welcome.
To My High Street Family,
I can hardly believe that I have completed my first month here at the church. I have had the pleasure of meeting with members in small groups and that has been most helpful for me to “put names and faces together.” There are two more scheduled, September 4, 2019, and September 15, 2019. If you have not attended one, you still have an opportunity to do so. Sign up sheets are located in the Commons Hallway. Psalm 139:14 tells us that we are, “…fearfully and wonderfully made…” I have met so many gifted and talented persons here at High Street. I am excited for this church and Springfield as we come together and use our time, talents and treasure in ministry. Pastor Heather and I are in prayer as to ways that Covenant and High Street can partner together to form new and lasting relationships. The needs of Springfield are many. I would ask that each of you would join us in prayer how we might work together in this vineyard. I have scheduled a vacation (September 5 thru September 11). Upon my return, I will begin teaching two Bible Study classes. One during the day and one in the evening. It is my hope that as many of you as possible will plan to attend. We stand ever ready to witness God’s great gifts for the Salvation of Springfield and of the World if we just stand together!
Your Friend in God’s Glory,
Pastor Cynthia Atwater
High Street United Methodist Church is located in Springfield, OH.