The United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities met at Gallaudet University for a three-day conference for the purpose of education, advocacy and support (August 1-3, 2018). The theme was “Taking Our Place at the Table: DisABILITY Leade…
In 1848, Elder Joseph Brackett, Jr. (1797-1882) a member of a sect known as the Shakers, located in Alfred, Maine, wrote the words and the tune to “Simple Gifts.”
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free, ‘tis the gift to come down where we ought to be.
And when we find ourselves in the place just right, t’will be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained, to bow and to bend, we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight, till by turning, turning, we come ‘round right.” 1
Learn more about the Shakers from History of the Shakers and Ken Burns’ PBS American Stories and other sources. View the short video (2:24) Utopian Communities included Brook Farm, Mormons, Shakers by S. Anthony Hill. Also, watch and listen to children sing and dance to the Shaker Hymn “Simple Gifts” [with lyrics].
1John M. Anderson (1950) “Force and Form: The Shaker Intuition of Simplicity,” The Journal of Religion, University of Chicago)
The United Nations’ (UN) World Refugee Day is observed on June 20 each year. This event honors the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence. …
The General Conference will ultimately vote on this recommendation at the special session that will be held February 23 – 26, 2019 in St. Louis, MO. There are 12 delegates from the Philadelphia Area (8 from Eastern PA and 4 from Peninsula-Delaware) who will be among the 864 delegates from this world-wide church. What comes out of this General Conference will be the final decision of the church. We will have more conversations and meetings after General Conference to interpret the decisions and to plan further into our future together.
In the fall of 1978 I was an M.Div student at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky. But I wondered some days if I had heard God right about this call to ministry. My District Committee of Ordained Ministry had put m…
- The United Methodist Church Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Historic Merger
- Amid tumult of 1968, a church came together
- Uniting Conference sermon still talked about
- Formation of The United Methodist Church
- “JUBILEE”: The 50th Anniversary of The UM Church
- VIDEO: Proclamation of and Responses to EUB-Methodist Union, 1968
Also, UM News Service will publish a story at www.umc.org this week on the end of the segregated Central Jurisdiction in 1968, and later a story on the creation of the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR). They will finish their UMC 50th anniversary series on Monday, April 23, with a story about people who were at the 1968 Uniting Conference.
Sunday, April 15, is “Native American Ministry Sunday” in the United Methodist Church. I hope that every church will take a special offering to aid Native American seminary students and the many wonderful ministries that are happening in our Committee…
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NRSV)
No one wants to be called a “fool.” In American Sign Language the sign for “fool” looks like a person (represented by a forefinger) being struck with a fist of the other hand. Indeed, fools might be considered fortunate if only their egos are bruised.
The word “fool” conjures up images of weakness, gullibility, and stupidity. But like many things about the counter-cultural, and at times counter-intuitive, faith that we practice, as true followers of Jesus Christ we can gladly—and wisely—proclaim that yes, we are fools.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “We are fools for the sake of Christ….When reviled, we bless, when persecuted we endure, when slandered, we speak kindly.” (I Corinthians 4:10 a, 12 b)
Easter this year falls on April Fool’s Day (offering a second 2018 coincidence, after Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine’s Day February 14). The secular occasion’s origins are also religious. April Fool’s may go back to the time of Pope Gregory XIII, who changed the Christian calendar so that the first day of the year was January 1 and not April 1, as had been the case under the Julian calendar. Some people back then continued to follow the old calendar. Those who did were known as “April Fools” and were subject to tricks and ridicule.
We who follow Christ’s ways can be rightly called “fools” because we don’t follow the world’s way of dealing with adversity. Christians bless, endure and speak kindly when we face persecution and adversity.
That’s what Jesus did when he spoke seven times while hanging on Calvary’s cross, suffering and dying from a brutal crucifixion. He uttered humble words of love, forgiveness, care, assurance and faith. This kind of grace under pressure attitude is not foolish or weak but extremely powerful. It demonstrates an awesome power of mind and heart that transcends painful but superficial agonies to accomplish a greater purpose.
It can change the world. It always has, and it always will.
Linda Brown just recently passed away at the age of 76. Her legacy of counter-cultural determination will live on forever. Her father, an African Methodist Episcopal clergyman, sued the Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas, for refusing to admit his daughter into an all-white public school. That school was in walking distance, while the all-black school was several more miles away.
The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which on May 17, 1954, ruled unconstitutional and thus, ended, the unfair “Jim Crow” segregation laws that forbade children of color from receiving an equal education in public schools attended by white children. Those laws were part of a racist, oppressive culture that had to be countered and overcome.
Linda and many other black students began attending formerly white schools. They were subjected to much racist abuse and rejection; yet, they remained steadfast, teaching the world that racism, hated and evil are no match for love.
A successful student, Linda never received a grade lower than a “B” in any of her classes. She later became an educator in a Head-Start program serving low-income, mostly black families. (Chicago Tribune).
Easter will fall again on April 1 in the year 2029. But we can be April Fools every day, all the time, as we move through the world with the counter-cultural attitude of our risen Lord.
Mere mortals may have mocked and mourned his demise on Good Friday. But He got the last laugh on Easter Sunday, as He turned death into life and through love overcame hate. And the foolishness of the cross (I Corinthians 1:18) became the greatest movement in human history.
By Bishop Peggy Johnson
I returned in February from a 10-day mission trip with an eight-person team of clergy and laity from both the Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware conferences. Our Philadelphia Episcopal Area has been in partnership with the Central Congo Conference…