I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.
As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
-- John 17:20-21, NRSV
Ecumenical / Interfaith Headlines
By Gilbert Haven Caldwell, Jr.*
The United Methodist News Service story titled: "GC 2012 To include call to repentance" begins with these words; "Historically, the treatment of indigenous people by Chrisian churches - including Methodists has been good, bad and ugly."
The April 27th service at General Conference; "ACT OF REPENTANCE for INDIGENOUS PEOPLE", could be the most important event taking place at the 2012 General Conference. We in the Church, "including Methodists", continue to engage in acts of comission and omission at one moment in history, that call for a Service of Repentance at a later moment in history. As General Conference takes seriously the implications of this service, hopefully it will take seriously these words in the resolution submitted by the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligous Concerns:
"WHEREAS, a call to repentance is followed by confession, and confession is followed by a call for a change for the better as a
result of remorse or contrition for one's sins,...."
There is that much quoted statement made by those in opposition to the death penalty, "Why do we keep on killing people to prove that killing people is wrong?"
A paraphrase of that in response to the consistency of United Methodists having Repentance Services for our "bad and ugly" treatment of groups of persons might be; "Why do we continue to have services of repentance from generation to generation, without daring to confront and transform our tendency to use scripture out of context as a way to justify our actions that make repentance neccesary?"
I have been re-reading recently some of the material related to the ordination of women in Methodism. (I believe that remembering that history would be helpful in the resolution of our current divisive dilemma in the UMC on homosexuality). We read that Paul's words in First Corinthians were "taken out of context" that women should be silent in the church. Somewhere I read that Paul had several women who were his "closet comrades" in spreading the Good News. How many "bad and ugly" acts has the denomination committed, and then later admitted that they were done because Scripture was "taken out of context"?
by The Rev. Dr. Stephen J. Sidorak, Jr.
In his sermon “Behold, I am Doing a New Thing,” Paul
Tillich observed the first thing about the “new” is that it cannot be forced or
calculated. He says all we can do is to be ready for the “saving new” which will
appear when we least expect it.
We began seeing
traces of a “new thing” for the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious
Concerns when I first assumed the position of general secretary in 2008. It became quite apparent that a major crisis
was upon us as a denomination. In many circles, I heard words to this
effect: “Not to worry, The United
Methodist Church has been threatening to change for over forty years!” Of course, the implication of that statement
is that we should have no worries; that this crisis too shall pass; it does not
need to be taken very seriously; and there is really no reason to change. I felt, early on, however, as if a kairos moment was upon us. It was not there to be denied, but to be
At GCCUIC, we decided not to let what some called
a crisis, and what we discerned to be an opportunity, go to waste. We proved ourselves ready to be made
new. It has resulted in a remarkable
convergence across the connection.
coming before the 2012 General Conference is for GCCUIC to become an integral
component of the common life of the Council of Bishops and serve as its instrument
for Christian unity and interreligious concerns. The Council of Bishops is charged with
corporate responsibility for and actual oversight of the ecumenical and
interreligious ministries of The United Methodist Church. It would be a logical place to be
lodged. It would be named the Office of Christian
Unity and Interreligious Relationships (OCUIR).
In a letter to the Florida Attorney General, members of the Pan-Methodist Commission are calling for justice on behalf of Trayvon Martin. The letter reads in part, “As people called Methodist, from all walks of life, and every hue under the sun, we are immensely concerned that every child of a just God be nurtured in an equally just environment. It is our expectation that law enforcement be executed in a likewise just manner.”
The African Methodist Episcopal Church
The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
The African Union Methodist Protestant Church
The Union American Methodist Episcopal Church
The United Methodist Church
Read the full text of the letter »
General Secretary Stephen J. Sidorak, Jr. sits down with the Methodist News Service to answer five questions about GCCUIC's role in the United Methodist Church.
- What would the chuch miss if you agency no longer existed?
- What is you agency's primary mission?
- Name at least one thing your agency has been involved in during the current quad.
- How does the average United Methodist pastor or member benefit from your agency's work?
- How much money and how many employees does it take to maintain the work your agency is currently doing?
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