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March 10, 2007

Large Church Conference

We just concluded our first Large Church Initiative in the Holston Conference. It was hosted by First Centenary and Christ United Methodist Churches. Our speakers were Bishops Al Gwinn & Hope Morgan Ward, Rev. Adam Hamilton, Kent Millard, and Leonard Sweet. We offered over 40 workshops and three onsite learning experiences. I do not have the figures of the number of attendees but on Wednesday we had about 225 registered participants. Those who attended were from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee & Virginia.

The conference was advertised as a Large Church event but many came whose hope and drive was to reach at least 250 persons in worship and go beyond. I was impressed with the presentations, plenary sessions, workshops, and sermons. We experienced emergent worship, contemporary worship, and traditional worship.

As soon as the evaluations are read and reported I will post the results. What a Holy Spirit filled time!

Posted by Bishop at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2007

Recent Reading

As part of our spiritual journey together, the Extended Cabinet and I have just finished reading and reviewing the book "Blood Done Signed My Name" by Timothy Tyson. It is the account of a United Methodist preacher kid's remembrances and research into a gruesome slaying that occurred in Oxford, NC while his father was the pastor there. It is extremely well written and gives us a view of that tumultuous era of the 50s, 60s, and 70s in our nation. I recommend this as quality reading. We are grateful to Grady Winegar for recommending this for our spiritual edification.

Posted by Bishop at 06:02 PM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2007

Not Either Or But Both And

We are all often guilty of making sacred the ways God moves in our lives and some time make the mistake of making our experience normative for others. Some of us accepted Christ as the result of a worship experience that dramatically impacted us. There are others who saw and experienced Christ as we observed others involved in a mission outside of the worship hour. This could have been witnessing people of a congregation involved in ministry with the homeless, reaching out to latch key children, building a Habitat House, speaking up for justice for those who could not speak for themselves or in a mission trip overseas.

I believe all of these to be valid avenues to experiencing the Risen Christ. The trouble comes when we elevate one over the other. The Great Commission calls us to go and make disciples while the fifth chapter of Matthew's gospel tells us Jesus admonished us to let our light shine that people may see our good works and give glory to God. In each instance the goal is the same and that is to share this good news of God's redeeming act in Jesus Christ and to demonstrate God's desire to be in communion with humanity. And we need not argue over which is valid.

If we look at the track record of the Church in recent years we need to spread the good news by all means available to us rather than spend our time debating which is more sacred, godlier, or more valid.

Posted by Bishop at 12:04 AM | Comments (2)