First Wausau United Methodist Church
Monday, July 15, 2024
Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.

From the Pastor

 
 
 
Rev.  Rebecca Borke

Pastor

 


 

 

 

 

June/July, 2024

Dear First Wausau Family of Faith,

‘Tis the season of finals, graduations, and students eager to take a break from the 3 “R’s” – Reading, (W)Riting, and (A)Rithmetic. There are three more “R’s” which were the recent focus of the United Methodist General (worldwide) Conference, held April 23-May 3 in Charlotte, NC. They include Regionalization, Revise the Social Principles, and Remove Harmful Language. The delegates worked hard and considered more than 1,000 petitions that could transform the future of the UMC, including our local congregation.

The first “R,” Regionalization, recognizes that though the UMC has grown quickly and fruitfully throughout the world, our governance is not globally just, has been set up to allow conferences and churches in the United States to maintain disproportionate power. It could be described as a Christianized version of colonialism. 78% of the delegates affirmed that we are no longer a U.S. church with missions in other countries but a worldwide church with diverse cultures and self-determination on how best to work and lead in their areas.

The second “R” is for Revise the Social Principles. After several decades, the world has changed and presented new ethical issues and needs for justice. The updated 43-page Social Principles can be found at this link:
https:// www.umcjustice.org/documents/124. This is connected to the third R – Remove Harmful Language. By a vote of 523 to 161, the half-century ban on LGBTQ marriages and clergy was lifted. The new language describes “marriage as a sacred, lifelong covenant that brings two people of faith (adult man and adult woman of consenting age OR two adult persons of consenting age) into a union of one another and into a deeper relationship with God and the religious community.

In addition to the 3 “R’s,” many other significant decisions were made. These include granting deacons sacramental authority in their appointed ministry settings, entering into full communion with the Episcopal Church, reducing the number of Bishops in the US from 39 to 32, approving an apology to victims and survivors of sexual misconduct by clergy and lay leaders, and ending the option for local churches to disaffiliate. 

As the Council of Bishops President, Tracy S. Malone, said, "The work done at General Conference is not as important as what the church will do next. Let us imagine a church where no one, nobody, is marginalized. Let us imagine a church that transcends geography, cultures, languages, borders, barriers, and differences. As you go forward from this General Conference, tell the world about Jesus. As you go, tell them about his love. As you go, be love. Let ’s walk together, beloved, and let us never grow weary of doing the work of the kin -dom. ” Amen!

Gratefully,

Pastor Rebecca Borke