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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Short message from the pastor regarding the Commission on a Way Forward

The Commission on a Way Forward and the One Church Plan

As you are aware The United Methodist Church has for decades been involved in discussion and debate regarding sexuality (and by extension regarding marriage). It operates according to policies and procedures described in the Book of Discipline. Regarding same-sex relationships the Book of Discipline currently states:

G: We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God. All persons need the ministry of the Church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self. The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching… (§161. II. The Nurturing Community)

Which basically means people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, or queer (LGBTQ) are welcome to participate in the life of the church. However United Methodist pastors cannot conduct same-sex weddings. And persons who identify as LGBTQ cannot be ordained as elders or deacons. Some believe the statement/policy should continue and be enforced. Some believe it should be changed.

Every four years, the governing body of the UMC known as the General Conference gathers to evaluate our Book of Discipline and make changes if needed. At previous General Conference gatherings this subject has dominated discussion. Many feel the subject has hindered the effectiveness of the governing body. So at the last General Conference gathering in 2016 it was decided a special session would be held in February 2019 in an attempt to resolve the matter for the United Methodist Church.

The Council of Bishops commissioned a task force called “The Commission on a Way Forward”. It has spent two years trying to formulate a way forward that could adequately address the issue. Earlier this year this commission presented three possible plans to the Council of Bishops. My understanding is all three plans will be discussed and voted upon at the special session in 2019. I was present when Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey announced the Council of Bishops has endorsed what is called the One Church Plan.

A rough summary of the One Church Plan is that it allows:

  • each individual Annual Conference (led by their Boards of Ordained Ministry and Clergy Executive Sessions) will determine whether persons involved in same-sex relationships may be certified, licensed, or ordained for service and leadership
  • congregations will be able to decide their marriage policies and
  • pastors will be able to determine whom they will marry.

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Live from Livingston – September 2018

Newsletter_10_201809 (PDF)
Newsletter_10_201809 (DOCX)

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Sermon = Who we trust him (Mark 4)

Plenum creaturis

d7c3d6a14df055cc53497c632e622a83Sermon = Who We Trust Him
Text = Mark 4:35-41
Sunday = 5th Sunday after Pentecost (B)

Powerpoint presentation in Google Drive

  • volcanoes in Hawaii and Guatemala
  • *** violence in schools
  • death + destruction because of natural disasters
    • earthquakes volcanoes floods
  • and because human beings choose to do violence against others
  • we might not face volcanoes or mass shootings
  • more often we face other kinds of storms
  • Jesus says Let us go to the other side
  • They leave the crowd
  • Take Jesus with them in the boat just as he was
  • A great storm comes up
  • Waves beat against the boat
  • Filling with water
  • Jesus is in the back asleep on a cushion
  • Bible reading from Mark 4 addresses issue of chaos
  • *** how God in Christ responds to chaos in the world
  • how we respond to it
  • who Jesus is
  • and how we respond to Jesus
  • chaos is…

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Live from Livingston – June 2018

Newsletter_08_201806 (DOCX)
Newsletter_08_201806 (PDF)

Volume 1 | Issue 8 | June 2018


We completed our journey through Lent and the Paschal Feast (also known as Easter) then Pentecost – my favorite Feast day of the Christian calendar – and then that strange Sunday called Trinity Sunday which emphasizes not an event but a doctrine. We now enter – cue drum roll – Ordinary Time! Recently called the Season after Pentecost which is better. Pentecost marks when by the power of the Holy Spirit the Christian church continues the work and mission of Christ. One can say Advent through Pentecost focuses on the story of Jesus. The season after Pentecost answers the question, So now what? And focuses on the church, how we witness to the saving work of God in Christ.

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