UMNS = FAIL on the Constitutional Amendments

United Methodist News Service = FAIL

This morning I was reading news on the USA Today app on my iPhone when I came across this headline, Methodists defeat gay-related membership policy, with the lead sentence:

United Methodists have defeated amendments that would have made church membership open to all Christians regardless of sexual orientation and furthered the creation of a new, U.S.-only governing body, according to the denomination’s news service.

I was surprised to hear the news on the constitutional amendments first through USA Today and not from any denominational source. I was also surprised that the decision had been made so soon, I was under the impression that it would be several more months until the final tally was known as votes were still taking place around the world.

I found the article from the United Methodist News Service under the headline: U.S. conferences disapprove structure proposal. According to the statistics in this article:

  • 29% of annual conferences in the United States have not reported results of voting.
  • 67% of annual conferences in the denomination have not reported results of voting.

According to the article, “For a proposed amendment to be ratified, two-thirds of the aggregate number of voting annual conference members must approve.” The results from the US don’t matter. What matters is the entirety of votes from across the globe. Two-thirds of annual conferences in the denomination haven’t even reported their votes yet.

You have to be joking. The UMNS really published a story with data this incomplete? Unfortunately, yes.

The United Methodist News Service wrote a story too soon from one side of the story with incomplete data.

United Methodist News Service = FAIL

Blog Recommendation

I want to suggest a blog to you – It’s a Mad Mission… Sign Me Up. Luke Wetzel is a Congregational Care Intern this summer here at Resurrection and is blogging his experience. Among other leadership roles in the denomination, Luke led the Kansas East delegation to General Conference 2008.

Check out his thoughts and reflections

Speedlinking – May 14, 2008

Day 3 – GC2008

Yesterday was the third and final day that I was a part of General Conference in person. Opening worship was excellent including a convicting sermon by Bishop João Somane Machado of the Mozambique Annual (regional) Conference. He had some convicting words for the United Methodist Church, in effect – what happened to the spiritual fervor and missional focus that you had before? A few thoughts from the day:

  • I was interviewed by Jenny for the UMC Young Clergy documentary which she is developing. I think that it is going to be a great project.
  • The human sexuality debate within the United Methodist Church is painful, tense and emotional. At times we just do not trust each other.
  • Another serious and painful issue is the relationship between the United States and other countries – both in the delegate relationships and in the church organization. Too often it felt like us and them.
  • The conferences committee is working on some ground breaking legislation that has the potential to create a seismic shift in the denomination that has great potential for missional effectiveness.
  • Reata Restaurant has amazing food. I ordered my first ever steak medium rare as this is what was recommended for the particular cut. It was good, but I do not think that I will make that level of cooking a habit.

Day 2 – GC2008

Part of the Kansas delegation from the General Conference 2008 Photo Gallery

It has been another amazingly full day. Again, I do not know how the delegates are going to have the physical stamina to make it through the rest of the conference. I am already getting worn out. Here are some thoughts from the day:

  • The Vision Pathways intro video was one of the best video productions that I have seen in a long time.
  • I was disappointed with the presentation for the General Conference on Finance and Administration – a lot of enthusiasm and very little substance.
  • The very first young people’s address rocked. Great content and innovative presentation around the room.
  • Legislative committees take a long time to organize.
  • It takes a tremendous amount of energy to be a denomination.

Opening Worship – GC2008

I arrived in Fort Worth today made it to the hotel and quickly hopped on the shuttle to go to the Convention Center to see what there was to see.

I forgot my camera at home, so don’t plan on any picture 😦 I was pretty bummed about that, but am getting over it. A few takeaways from todays events.

  • Opening worship was a very good experience – I really felt God’s Spirit at times.
  • Although moving at times, there are many changes to the flow of the opening worship service that would likely take place if it were at Resurrection.
  • Rules matter.
  • There was a strong theme of unity throughout all of the worship – songs, liturgy and prayers.
  • It will be a long conference – I am tired today and I have not had near the preparation as a delegate nor will I be here as long as the delegates.
  • God is good and at work in the denomination.
  • Business sessions are more fun if you can make commentary on the goings on from the mezzanine.

GC2008: The Experience

Along with a group of clergy from Resurrection, I am traveling to Fort Worth to experience several days of the 2008 General Conference of The United Methodist Church. This is a global gathering that happens every four years and is the only body that can speak for the denomination.

I am looking forward to see, hear, experience, feel, and be a part of the conference.

I suggest that you find out more here – http://gc2008.umc.org

You might also check for bloggers present at the entire event, including…

Speedlinking – April 16, 2008

Discover Your Conflict Management Style – Review

This is a review of Discover Your Conflict Management Style by Speed B. Leas, a resource from The Alban Institute.

Main Themes

This is a simple workbook style publication designed to help you, as the title suggests, discover your conflict management style. A self-assessment tool aids in determining your conflict management tendencies from among the following styles: persuading, compelling, avoiding / accommodating, collaborating, negotiating, and supporting. Knowing your preferred style and others will increase competence in encountering conflict and those with other preferred styles of conflict.

Strengths and Weaknesses

A great strength of this book is its brevity and tight focus on the topic. Another strength is that Leas addresses how, when and possible outcomes for each of the styles.

Relevance to The United Methodist Church

This resource is relevant to The United Methodist, particularly in regard to upcoming conferences – general, jurisdictional and annual. This resource may also be helpful to congregations in conflict internally or externally.

Relevance to The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection

I believe that this resource would be relevant and helpful to staff and lay teams that are experiencing conflict or those teams that wish to be better prepared for conflict when it arises.

Recommendation

I highly recommend this document to leaders within The United Methodist Church both lay and clergy, particularly delegates to General Conference 2008. I also recommend this resource to those who desire to increase their knowledge and usage of various conflict management styles.

Influencing the United Methodist Church

Last week one of my colleagues asked, Are you comfortable with the influence that The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection has on the United Methodist Church?

Yes, I am comfortable with the influence that Resurrection has on the denomination. I think that Resurrection seeks to represent the extreme center in the United Methodist Church and within the religious dialogue in the United States. I think that this is a voice that is desperately needed within the denomination and a voice is able to speak in meaningful ways to those outside the denomination – both non religious persons and those of other denominations. I believe that Resurrection is thoroughly Christian, Methodist and Wesleyan and I feel great about those influences shaping the denomination.

However, I also recognize that there are many churches and leaders across the world that are working for renewal within The United Methodist Church and within local churches. I think that Resurrection has a lot to learn from others as well. I think that the denomination is healthier with many congregations and leaders actively seeking and working toward renewal.

Every day that I am at church I pray for spiritual revival in Kansas, renewal within The United Methodist Church, wisdom and endurance for delegates to General Conference and Resurrection‘s purpose, vision and journey. I believe that all of these can be and are influenced by the others and I hope to be a part of God’s work in this place and time.

  • What do you think about all this?
  • Do you think that Resurrection has an influence on the denomination? If so, is it an appropriate level?
  • What congregations do believe have significant influence on The United Methodist Church?
  • What individuals do believe have significant influence on The United Methodist Church?
  • What other topics did I leave out of this conversation which need to be addressed?