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God calls the people of faith to live in unity with one another, so it is important to make every effort to live together in harmony with other fellow believers. Three key quotes from the New International Version of Scripture read:

1 Corinthians 1:10 
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

Ephesians 4:11-13
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Colossians 3:13-14
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Unity is more than a philosophy or a posture.  Unity, according to Jesus in John 17, is the reflection of the nature of the Father and the Son.  In Paul’s letters, he uses the illustration of the body: Romans 12:4, “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,” and 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit...”

This unity is not something that we must work to achieve or attain. It already exists. It does not refer to organizational unity, but rather to the organic unity which the Holy Spirit produces when He baptizes us all into the one body of Christ through the new birth. Christ broke down the barrier between Jews and Gentiles and brought them together in the one new creation. Paul makes a bold declaration when he says: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus”—Galatians 3:28 (NRSV).

There will be much discussion about unity as we approach the Special Session of the General Conference to be held on February 23-26 in St. Louis. See more information of this gathering of the UMC.  My prayer is that we will not lose sight of the Biblical mandate of unity and the power such collective strength will reflect from the church to a world that is often fractured and easily divided. In Christ we are One!

 Grace and Peace,


Posted by David Brown with
in UMC

Moved to Pray - Our Response to God's Call Continues

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As the Special Session draws nearer (Feb. 23 - 26), you may have questions about what it all means. Understanding what's happening just became easier.

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The Way Forward Report Summary

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What is a special session of General Conference?

The Council of Bishops (all active and retired United Methodist bishops) or General Conference itself may call a special session of the assembly to deal with a specific issue facing the church, be that missional, bureaucratic, theological or cultural (BOD ¶14). The special session may only deal with the business defined in the call unless two-thirds or more of the delegates vote to consider other matters. Most of the delegates to a special session will have served in the previous General Conference.

This particular special session will address the unity of the church and the theological impasse related to human sexuality specifically the church’s ministry with, by and for LGBTQ individuals. Delegates will receive the report of the Commission on the Way Forward, which the 2016 General Conference authorized. Pending a review by the Judicial Council — the denomination’s highest court – for constitutionality, three plans (submitted as petitions to change the Discipline) will presented in the report. The delegates, acting as a single legislative committee, will then discuss and discern which proposal they want to refine. The Judicial Council’s rulings are expected in late October.

Advent Coming

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Advent means “Coming.” It has been a mark of the beginning of the Christian year and the season to prepare for the celebration of Christmas. Advent is a time to celebrate that even in the midst of exile, darkness, and despair that “God is with us—Emmanuel.” Advent consists of four Sundays before the 12-day season of Christmas. The colors are purple and/or blue for mourning and repentance. The only exception in some congregations has been the third Sunday known as “Gaudete” (Rejoice Sunday) when a rose or pink colored candle is used. An Advent wreath is a common symbol of this season. One candle is lit each of the weeks up to Christmas Eve when the Christ Candle is lit.

This year we will explore the messages of “How to Find…Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.”  We have become a DIY (Do It Yourself) culture. Our spiritual lives are more than weekend fixer-up projects. There are seldom quick fixes for any of our spiritual conditions. We begin to look for practical ways to engage our faith and to use the spiritual disciplines of prayer, scripture, means of grace, fasting and generous giving to discover the foundations of this season. 

  • Hope is more than wishful thinking.
  • Love is beyond the kindness shared with family or stranger.
  • Joy is the song that sings even in the darkest night.
  • Peace is the tranquil stillness before the God of all creation.

 How do we find these gifts? How do we encounter the living God who seeks to transform our lives by the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ? Come to worship on December 2, December 9, December 16 and December 23 to gain the tools to help you know How to Find. You may also discover that your family, neighbors, or friends might be more open to an invitation to join you in church during this season of the year than any other single time. Take the chance to invite them to come. Invitation cards are available at the Connect Desk for you to mail or drop off to a friend.  Be prepared to learn new ways to be obedient to the power of God with us.

 Praying for an Advent Blessing,

Pastor David

Information on everything happening for Advent and Christmas can be found HERE.

Posted by David Brown with