A Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church will take place February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. 850 brave souls will be meeting to discuss, debate and discern the future direction of our United Methodist denomination – specifically on the issue of human sexuality, specifically same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBT persons. These representatives have been tasked through General Conference to decide if we will maintain a traditional sexual ethic, remove prohibitive language concerning LGBT+ persons or create affinity based jurisdictions that will function independently under one big UMC tent. Please read on to find lots of resources about UM Polity and this issue, as well as learn about some upcoming events and opportunities happening at Community UMC.
Beginning this Sunday, February 17, Community will start a three-part worship series called “Canoeing the Mountains” loosely based on the book by the same name. The book uses the story of Lewis and Clark’s Northwest expedition as a metaphor for pioneering the church into an unknown future.
But while our future denominational direction is largely unknown, Community Church can choose how we will “canoe the mountains.” Our series will speak to the vision, mission and unity required for our church to navigate new cultural and denominational unknowns. What will we need to jettison and what will we deem essential as we journey together into God’s new adventure for us?
In anticipation of the Special Session of General Conference 2019, Community UMC will be hosting a Concert of Prayer at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, February 20 in the Sanctuary. This special worship experience is focused on prayer for the Special Session, and specifically for the Baltimore-Washington delegates, including our very own Charlie Moore.
We are planning a Prayer Vigil from Thursday February 21 at midnight to Friday February 22 at midnight. A prayer guide is available to download HERE, and printed copies will be available Sunday February 17, as well as in the Sanctuary during the vigil. You do not need to come to the church, however, to participate in the prayer vigil. We encourage you to sign up for one, two, or many half hour slots at the link below.
**Remember, you can sign up for any of these times and be in prayer anywhere (home, office, break room at work, airplane, etc.)
Our Church Council will be meeting the weekend of February 22-23 for a Vision Retreat to discern the future of the congregation – to what is God calling us? How will we continue to be in ministry to our community, and in what ways is God calling us to grow? As our leadership approaches the retreat, we invite you to be in prayer for us in this process!
Following the Special Session of General Conference, Feb. 23-26, Bishop LaTrelle Easterling will lead the people of the Baltimore-Washington Conference in a time of prayer and information sharing. The event, United to Love: United to Love: A Way Forward will be held on Saturday March 2 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the Baltimore-Washington Conference Mission Center, 11711 East Market Place, Fulton, MD 20759. Conference staff and leaders will gather at the Mission Center in Fulton and the event will be live streamed to sites around the conference. More details about the live stream will be made available as we receive that information.
Our Baltimore-Washington Conference has made many resources available online, including a letter from Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, overviews of the Three proposed A Way Forward plans, videos, a timeline, and many different reports. You can view and download the resource here: https://www.bwcumc.org/resources/commission-on-a-way-forward/