Empowering laity for ministry in the church and the world includes building relationships and learning together as disciples. Joe McKenney of Simpson-Gillespie UMC in Charlotte shares the experience they shared this summer of learning and growing together.
[Offered by Joe McKenney, member, Simpson-Gillspie UMC, Charlotte] Prologue 1 Peter 3:15 "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear."
Summer at our church is a time for teachers to take a break and be spiritually refreshed. It is also a time for the entire church, who may not attend regular Sunday school, to be a part of our elective curriculum. This year we chose to focus on The Methodist Identity “Our Beliefs”. The resources for the study were a new video series
from Wesley Ministry Network and The Social Principles UMC 2013-2016; Provided by Sonja Clough at “The Fishin’ Hole”. During this series, we examined doctrine around the sacraments of Baptism and The Eucharist (Holy Communion). Then we dared to delve into United Methodist Social Principles dealing with:
- Use of drugs and alcohol
- Medical Marijuana Use
- Death Penalty
- Same Sex Marriage
- Women Preachers
- Death & Dying
- and many more social issues on the front pages of today’s current events.
We’ve seen over the years, these issues divide Christians, set the foundation for the start of new churches and denominations, and present to secular society a divided body. We started each session with the following disclaimer:
We do not go into this study to take sides or prove one
wrong or another right. This will not be a debate!
Our goal is to find ways to bring unity to a Christian body,
divided over issues.
“In essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty; and in ALL things charity”
We achieved this goal while providing rich learning and proving that summer learning can be enlightening and fun.