As St. Stephen UMC continues on its journey with the Small Church Initiative, here is something to consider about the nature of church from a recent blog by the Rev. Dan R. Dick, director of connectional ministries for the Wisconsin Annual Conference. Rev. Dick is an expert in church leadership and discipleship who blogs at United Methodeviations. You can read his entire post by clicking on the title link.
"A similar thing happened to me when I preached a sermon on Christian
disciples transforming the world. I quoted part of a paragraph of our
Book of Discipline which states, 'Under the discipline of the Holy
Spirit, the church exists for the maintenance of worship, the
edification of believers, and the redemption of the world.' (2012 Book
of Discipline, Paragraph 201). I said that we shouldn’t view these as three
distinct activities, but as three aspects of a single purpose. I used
the analogy of juggling, saying you cannot just juggle two balls and
ignore the third, but all must be in motion in relationship to the
others. There is no 'two out of three ain’t bad' thinking allowed. We
engage all three or we fail to fulfill our purpose."
Saturday, July 18, 2015
|Even in the summer heat, outside games are a hit.|
|Cynthia and John Astle prepare for a drama.|
|Grandpa Tom Council and grandson Mason.|
|Lola walks through the marketplace.|
|Weaver Karel Holloway shows one of the "tribes" how to make cloth.|
All photos by L'Norah Clarke
Friday, June 26, 2015
A Letter From The Pastor
Dear Church Family,
Today is indeed an historic day and a day in which we can celebrate and affirm once again that equality, justice, freedom and integrity is God's wish for ALL people and All truly does mean ALL!!
As the pastor of a Reconciling Congregation this is an especially happy day! The work that we have done and the stand that St. Stephen has taken over our entire history is once again affirmed!
This is a day to celebrate and this Sunday we will certainly gather to give God thanks for the blessing of being in a church that seeks to include ALL people, no exceptions.
We also recognize that our work is not finished. Just as the Supreme Court decision years ago making it illegal to ban inter-racial marriage did not end racism, we know this decision will not end the opposition to the rights of the LGBT community. In fact, it may intensify the efforts on the part of some to find ways around the ruling and ways to continue discrimination. Now we must be diligent and courageous in our work to assure that justice for all is realized everywhere for everyone.
Also we know that many in our families, our neighborhoods, our jobs and our faith will be saddened, even outraged, by this ruling. They sincerely believe that this decision is wrong. In their pain and fear, there will be backlash. There will be hateful and mean words. This is not a time for us to gloat but to continue to love All, even those who do not return the love. If love is truly to win in each of our hearts we must refrain from striking back. Rather we must proceed in confidence that God is working for the good for all people, pray that hearts will be changed, and stay focused on the goal.
Isaiah 43:19 "See,I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
The work of God in building the kingdom continues. We are blessed to be co-builders with God. May we perceive the new thing God is doing, persevere in our commitment and rejoice in this step forward in total confidence that with God love wins!!