Important retreat/workshop for ministering with children and youth

Refresh conference graphic

This is coming up soon. As in the first weekend in September. And whoever wishes to go needs to register soon.

A weekend retreat/conference about ministry with youth and children Friday-Sunday September 6-8 at the Wesley Center outside Alexandria. They have 45 spaces and one must register. The cost is $60 although scholarships are available. This is an important opportunity that I urge at least one or two folks from our church to participate.

The way I understand the flyers one does *not* need to go and stay from Friday through Sunday. The most important day (with the breakout sessions) is Saturday. Perhaps a few of us can head out Friday evening then spend the night then dive in Saturday and return Saturday evening.

Here is the letter promoting the weekend event and the flyer – along with information about how to register and also about scholarships. One person from our church would qualify but we don’t have much time!

Julie Lafosse leadership Letter (DOCX) Julie Lafosse leadership Letter (PDF)

Refresh YM Flyer (PDF)

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A note about Annual Conference 2019

Thank you for your prayers as Armetta and I traveled to Shreveport to spend a few days at the Louisiana Annual Conference 2019.

This was my second Annual Conference and it was different in a few ways. The biggest difference was location. No longer held under the sports dome at Centenary College now Annual Conference will take place at the Shreveport Convention Center. The main reasons are (1) more space and (2) technology. Those organizing and leading Annual Conference can do much more with the space and technology available at the Convention Center (screens, lighting, sound, and so on). There is also much more room for booths and exhibits. In the main meeting area there was a much clearer division between “this is where voting delegates sit” and “this is where non-voting delegates and guests sit”. There was much greater concern that only voting delegates could be in the central area and would be able to cast votes.

I thought the speaker for “teaching moments” this year Rev Dr Gil Rendle was interesting and generally excellent. I was able to attend two out of the three teaching moments (presentations) and took notes. The main theme of his presentations was how to lead congregations in a changing world. More specifically that the culture around us has changed dramatically. Yes of course it has. But how? And how do we in response to this fulfill our mission from God to make disciples for the transformation of the world? One of his main points is that instead of jumping to “this is what we need to do” (solutions) we need to begin with conversations in which we find the right questions to ask. One of which is “what is our purpose?”

Notes_GilRendle_AnnualConference2019_1-3_2-3_no 3-3 yet (DOCX)
Notes_GilRendle_AnnualConference2019_1-3_2-3_no 3-3 yet (PDF)

Which sounds a little like what I have been sharing over the last few months. That before we jump to “this is what we need to do” we need to see differently. To ask God to provide us with vision. Who are we as a body of Christian believers? Who are we as Livingston United Methodist Church? What is our role in the town and parish of Livingston? That when we begin to ask even more “what is our purpose?” it might lead us to see better what we need to do and/or change. Or – and keep this in mind – in might not change what we do. However we understand better why we do what we do and that in turn gives us new energy and joy in our ministry together. I encourage our church to consider an informal process of asking questions and along the way seeking renewed vision of who we are and what is our role in this mission field (= Livingston).

Most people are not afraid of hard work. What can exhaust people us is not seeing more clearly the purpose of our work and ministry. The more important questions for us are not “what” but “why”.

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Finding God’s Vision – Questionnaire


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A note about General Conference 2019

An important note about General Conference 2019

I will try to keep this short and simple. Many of you know about the special called General Conference that took place in St Louis. This was a crucial meeting to help settle/resolve United Methodist Church teaching and practice regarding same-sex weddings and ordaining persons in same-sex relationships. I have shared elsewhere a little about discussion and debate up to this point, about the Commission on a Way Forward, about the plans being considered, and the One Church Plan.

In a nutshell this issue has taken up a great deal of time, energy, and attention. United Methodists (at least in the United States) wanted to see this resolved, largely so we could get back to focusing on our primary mission. The district has asked clergy to say something to their churches, so people hear about this first not from national media but from their pastor, and to direct church members to reliable information.

Short version = The One Church Plan did not pass. A Modified Traditional Plan passed. The vote was close, 438-384.

Longer version = Rather than attempting to describe the four days of General Conference 2019 I would direct you to excellent reports by Chris Ritter at People Need Jesus website = His final report is especially important and helpful = I was trying to follow on social media what was going on, by 5:30 p.m. there were tweets that the Traditional Plan had passed, people wondered “what does that mean? what happens next? what are the details?” The final report by Ritter fills in important details about the Modified Traditional Plan that passed.

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Live from Livingston – February 2019

Newsletter_2-1_201902 (PDF)
Newsletter_2-1_201902 (DOCX)

Volume 2 | Issue 1 | February 2019


One thing I have been trying to do is help our church immerse more deeply in “basic Methodist Christianity”. For a town with a population of around 1800 Livingston has a lot of churches. So why Livingston United Methodist Church? Our goal is not to turn everyone into Methodists. Our goal is to bear witness to the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus. And yes to do this out of the distinctly Wesleyan (Methodist) tradition. I am new to the United Methodist fold and am learning it myself. We can say our goal is to “spread Scriptural holiness”. I have been reading Responsible Grace by Randy Maddox who describes how Charles Wesley understood salvation as recovered holiness (not merely forgiveness). More deeply “basic Methodist”.

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Notes from the Listening Session – December 2, 2018

Here are my notes on the Listening Session with Bishop Harvey regarding (1) the Commission on a Way Forward and (2) the three plans and especially (3) the One Church Plan.

Listening Session on the Commission on a Way Forward and the One Church Plan – edited (PDF)
Listening Session on the Commission on a Way Forward and the One Church Plan – edited (DOCX)

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Live from Livingston – December 2018

Newsletter_11_201812 shorter (PDF)
Newsletter_11_201812 shorter (DOCX)

Please note there are couple items in the calendar for December marked ??? which means “to be confirmed, after Church Council meets on December 9 to decide on a couple calendar items”.

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