A transforming weekend
with Bishop Swanson

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. - "One of the blessed curses of Methodism is, we have a strong emphasis on education," Bishop James Swanson told a group attending Transformation earlier this month. "We can't talk the language of the poor anymore. The place where we are really doing poorly is with poor people. So, learn to talk the language of the community."

As keynote speaker for the annual spiritual growth weekend held April 2-3 in Lake Junaluska, Swanson preached, then opened up the floor for question-and-answer sessions. He answered questions about the role of laity, evaluating pastors, clergy sexual violations, and why Baptist and Pentecostal churches seem to be eclipsing United Methodist churches. He also commented on the challenges of ministering to the poor, drawing on his personal experience.

"Dealing with the poor is a very different ministry," he said. "They tend to have low self-esteem. They don't trust you because they think you're going to take advantage of them. We want to do charity. They want to do liberation. Charity makes us feel good, but it makes slaves out of the people who receive it.

"It's one thing to feed me," Swanson added. "It's another thing to teach me to fish so that I never have to be fed again."

At least 187 adults, youth and children representing 11 districts pre-registered for Transformation, while additional participants registered onsite, organizers said. Age-specific programs were provided for children and youth at Lambuth Inn, while youth congregated at Shackford Hall. Transformation is sponsored by the Board of Laity and Wesley Institute.


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A Transforming Weekend

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New President for TWC


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