(Luke 23:50-53 NAU) 50 And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man 51 (he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God; 52 this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain.
It was a quiet act. It had to be quiet. He knew the mood and temper of the Council. He knew how they would respond if they knew what he was doing.
But still there was something that had to be done. Though a gross unrighteousness had been done, though the kingdom of God had been attacked, he could do this quiet act. He could do what was righteous and holy and good.
It would at least cost him some money and some time. It could have cost him his reputation, his seat on the council, and his business and then his home. Still, he knew what he had to do and that he could not wait to do it. Continue reading →
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At the Spring Meeting of the Board of Lay Ministry, Paulette Monroe was nominated to be our next Conference Lay Leader and was elected by our Florida Annual Conference in June. An attempt to create co-Lay Leaders was defeated. Paulette is former President of the Florida Conference United Methodist Women, has served in various offices within the UMW for many years, and still serves with them on the Jurisdictional level. Paulette is married to the Rev. Dr. Walter Monroe, District Superintendent of the South Central District. Paulette is the first African American woman to be the Conference Lay Leader for the Florida Conference! Congratulations, Paulette. We look forward to your experience and leadership over the next four years.
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Thanks to all of you who supported FLUME by attending our Annual Conference Luncheon on June 16th. Dr. Arnold shared his thoughts on the General Conference in 2016, and what it might mean for the church now and in the future. It was a great conference for conservative issues, getting us out of the pro-abortion organization known as RCRC, rescinding calls for the church to join the BDS (Ban-Divest-Sanction) movement against Israel and to divest from companies doing business with them. Discussion of the Bishop’s Commission and what might happen with that was shared with us as well. We had a great time and very much enjoyed the talk shared with us by Dr. Bill Arnold.
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Mrs. Louise Short, widow of Bishop Roy H. Short, mother of Rev. (ret.) Riley Short, and grandmother of Rev. Phillip Short, recently passed away at the age of 110. Please see the article by Heather Hahn here. The FLUME Steering Committee passes on our condolences to the entire family. Please know that we are praying for you.
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What is a sound bite? According to dictionary.com, it is “a brief, striking remark or statement excerpted from an audiotape or videotape for insertion in a broadcast news story.” Over the last few decades, much of our news, interviews and opinions have been reduced to “sound bites” averaging less than ten seconds. Study, research and usage of impressive or “ear-catching” terms reduce much of our political, cultural and religious conversation to exchanges of sound bites. We have seen much of this in our current presidential campaigns in both political parties. Sound bites allow superficial thinking to prevail, often on both sides of an issue, with no possibility of resolution in a fair and balanced manner.
For example, last year a successful campaign was waged under the sound bite of “STAY UNITED.” Continue reading →
“In these times of great uncertainty about the future of The United Methodist Church, we believe it is important for orthodox congregations, clergy, and laity to work together, to support one another, and to encourage each other,” said a group of 40 United Methodist pastors, theologians, and lay persons in a statement that announces the creation of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA). “We long for a church committed to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the last, the least, and the lost.”
“The Wesleyan Covenant Association represents the very best of our warm-hearted theology and action-oriented spirituality, and will provide support, encouragement, and resourcing for like-minded and like-hearted United Methodists,” said the Rev. Jeff Greenway, lead pastor of Reynoldsburg (Ohio) United Methodist Church. “During these turbulent times in our denomination, I find this association to be a source of encouragement and hope.”
The WCA is being launched as a member-based network of United Methodist congregations, clergy, and laity to provide “the encouragement we need to stay committed to our rich heritage while standing firm on the non-negotiables that make The United Methodist Church a vital contributor to the Body of Christ,” said the Rev. Carolyn Moore, senior pastor of Mosaic United Methodist Church in Evans, Georgia.
The Wesleyan Covenant Association (wesleyancovenant.org) will be gathering in Chicago for a one-day conference to promote its goals and welcome new members on October 7, 2016.
The General Conference this year in Portland, Oregon was an exciting one. For an overall wrap-up please see the article from the United Methodist News Service. A good summary can also be found on the Florida Conference website. From a conservative point of view, it was a very good General Conference, in that we withdrew from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (an organization advocating abortion rights under any circumstances), removal of a long-standing resolution to honor the Roe v. Wade decision, defeat of motions to divest from organizations that do business with Israel, as well as an organization that advocates for the BDS movement (Ban-Divest-Sanction Israel). The Plan UMC Revised scheme to reorganize our structure was gutted by a Judicial Council decision just before the beginning of the Conference. The controversial Rule 44 process to discuss human sexuality was defeated. And all petitions addressing human sexuality were put on hold, pending a study by a special commission to study all references in the Book of Discipline. A special General Conference to discuss only these issues could be called as early as 2018.
After some very dramatic moments at General Conference, a scheme to suspend consideration of all petitions regarding human sexuality was approved, pending recommendations by a special Commission to be appointed by the Council of Bishops. Some of these petitions may have easily passed the General Conference and made language in the Book of Discipline even stricter concerning human sexuality issues within the church. It was agreed to suspend all this pending the report and a possible special General Conference. However, all provisions in the current BOD (Book of Discipline) regulating human sexuality were to remain in force and everyone was asked to abide by current rules. Nevertheless, annual conferences have since passed resolutions to disobey these provisions of the BOD. Conference Boards of Ordained Ministry have issued statements that they will not consider sexual preference or identification for candidates for ordained ministry. The New York Annual Conference has already ordained one elder and commissioned others who are in non-compliance with BOD ethics. The Western Jurisdiction has nominated three homosexual candidates for bishop, and there is one other candidate in the North Central Jurisdiction. How will all this end? For a good backgrounder page on these issues, see the discussions and links at http://www.umc.org/topics/topic-human-sexuality-homosexuality.
In the meanwhile, please pray for the United Methodist Church!
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The General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegates you elected in 2015 will all be heading to Lake Junaluska, North Carolina for the Southeastern Jurisdiction Conference next week. The primary business of the Conference is to elect new bishops to replace the five bishops who are retiring. There will be a total of eleven bishops being elected in the United States this month (see this helpful article).
You can find much good information on the SEJ website at http://sejumc.org/2016sejconf. The ADCA, or Advanced Christian Daily Advocate, can be downloaded from that page, and you will find links there as well for the schedule, for live streaming of the Conference, and for information on the 13 current Episcopal Nominees.
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