Author: Bishop Deborah Kiesey, retired
We are blessed to live in an incredibly complex world – a world of different cultures, world views, philosophies and theologies. And we have also been blessed that the United Methodist Church always has chosen to be in the middle of that world. I believe our embrace of that historic diversity is one of our greatest strengths. Without a doubt, my faith and my understanding of the world have grown because of that diversity: diversity of theology; diversity of life experiences; diversity of social status; diversity of gifts and abilities.
And yet, it is that very strength that is also the root of some of our greatest challenges.
We are presently struggling to find ways to live within that diversity, and that struggle is tearing our beloved Church apart.
In February of 2019, the United Methodist Church will choose how we will live into the future in this diverse, multi-cultural world. This is a watershed moment for our Church. I honestly do not know which of the several plans will be endorsed, but I believe the One Church Plan (although far from perfect) embraces our historic diversity and allows for each of us to continue to grow as we engage in conversations and ministry with people from all walks of life.
John Wesley spoke passionately about Grace. We must find a way to allow room for Grace and for the movement of the Holy Spirit – not just during this time of decision, but in the years ahead. We must remember that all people – regardless of viewpoint, theology, lifestyle, or culture – ALL are beloved Children of God. And we must build a church around those foundational beliefs.
Please pray for our beloved United Methodist Church;
pray for those upon whom this decision has been placed;
pray that the Holy Spirit might touch the hearts of us all;
and pray that when our day is done and our work complete, God will be pleased.