The Communion offering on Sunday, December 4, will help us fulfill our commitment to pay our fair share of conference askings. By combining our money with that of other United Methodist churches each year, we are able to help support over 900 missionaries around the world, provide meals for over 3 million people each year, and help children, youth, and adults by giving them opportunities to be self-sufficient and successfully pursue new vocations. Apportionments also provide support for many local ministries, including Miriam’s Promise, Martin Methodist College, Camping and Outdoor Ministries (including Beersheba Springs), and Tennessee clergy support.
Grace and peace, Jane DuBose and Marcie Smeck Bryant
Discernment update from Belmont UMC leadership
October 12, 2016
Belmont UMC has been on a journey towards living into full inclusion of all of God’s children for some time now. Recently, the broader United Methodist Church has taken additional steps to address inclusivity, including formation of a Commission to consider the United Methodist Book of Discipline’s statements related to human sexuality. We have been watching these developments with great interest. Earlier this year, Belmont’s Administrative Board asked a Task Force to review Belmont’s options related to the recent developments in the denomination. The Task Force report was adopted at a recent Administrative Board meeting.
We recognize that one important option is to continue our efforts of advocacy within the church while awaiting the Commission's recommendations. We plan to do that. However, for many of our church family, waiting two years for the Bishops’ Commission to complete its work and for any subsequent action to be taken at the denomination level is simply not acceptable. At the same time, there are many in our church family who are concerned about making decisions that place us in conflict with the denomination's rules and policies.
As a next step, the Task Force recommended, and the Board approved, for an opportunity to hear from all church members about where we hear God’s call in relation to opportunities for ministries related to same sex weddings in our church and/or participated in by our clergy, support for persons from the LGBTQI community who feel a call to ministry within the United Methodist church, and whether we should declare our welcoming intentions through alignment with Reconciling Ministries Network.
Jane DuBose and Marcie Smeck Bryant have agreed to facilitate this brief period of discernment, which will occur over the coming weeks. We are well aware that many of our church family participated in listening sessions a few years ago, but we have had several new persons join our church family and want to ensure that all members have a chance to share their hopes and dreams for our church, as well as their concerns. As our welcoming statement makes clear, we respect our diversity of opinion and expressions of faith and want to remember the critical importance of staying in community through this period of discernment and prayer, and beyond.
The discernment group will be offering several opportunities for you to share your thoughts, including scheduled sessions. Specifically,
- We want to hear from all church members about the options identified by the task force, where you hear God’s call related to our ministry opportunities, and how we should make decisions about the best way to move forward as a church family. Multiple opportunities will be available, including opportunities for each of you to:
- Engage in shared and individual prayer and reflection on scripture
- Participate in group sessions to be held over the next few weeks where we briefly discuss the task force recommendations and seek your input
- We are asking, in the spirit of Christ, where do you hear God’s call for Belmont? Where do you encounter consolation and where do you encounter desolation as you prayerfully consider Belmont’s options?
- We ask all of you to remain in prayer for our church, our denomination, and our leaders as we continue to strive to be a community of Christ followers, growing in love of God and neighbor in a way that is welcoming to all.
Ken Edwards, Senior Pastor
Nancy Northington, Administrative Board Chair
Rick Keuler, Administrative Board Vice-Chair
Bill Cooper, Lay Leader
Photo by Mike DuBose