Recently, during Sunday worship, my pastor, the Rev. Anne Rosebrock, using the Apostles Creed (circa AD180) in a sermon series, preached about the holy catholic (or universal) church.
She used 1 Peter 2:9-10 as the Scriptural text, which states in the words of Jesus’ disciple Peter: “But you are the chosen race, the King’s priests (a royal priesthood), the holy nation, God’s own people, chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into God’s own marvelous light. At one time you were not God’s people, but now you are God’s people; at one time you did not know God’s mercy, but now you have received God’s mercy.”
She continued saying, “We are empowered to live out as the church in the world, partners of building the Kingdom of God on the earth.” She called our congregation an outpost of that one church.
“We are connected with others born out of our love of God and Jesus Christ and His teachings,” she said.
We are connected. Connection is our strength as The United Methodist Church.
We are connected with the past. Many of our congregations in Indiana have been in existence between 100 and 200 years. We were given or born into these congregations, something to be appreciated but not worshipped. We were given our faith by parents, grandparents and/or others who came before us – saints of all times and places.
As Christians, we ultimately trace our past, our rituals, our affirmations and our Scriptures to a rich Judeo-Christian tradition that gave birth to our faith in God, Jesus Christ and God’s Holy Spirit.
We are connected with the now. In Indiana, our 1,200 congregations are dependent upon each other, our related institutions and the larger global church. We may share modern translations of Scripture and inspiring new hymns and anthems, but our worship, practice of faith, mission and ministry are only part of a larger universal whole. And, whether we like it or not, we are bound together with Baptists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, congregationalists, liberals, moderates and conservatives – all who worship Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Collectively connected, we are the church.
In our unity, our communion, there is also a rich diversity. In this issue of Together, you will discover both that unity of Christ’s spirit in a bicycle ministry for African pastors (here), as well as diversity in Indiana’s American Indians who wish to partner with Hoosier United Methodists (here). You will experience how United Methodists serve their communities as congregations in feeding others (here and here).
Together We Can is a campaign of our Indiana Conference and the greater United Methodist Church to emphasize the importance of being connected and giving to a connectional ministry that reaches across the United States and around the world in 70 countries. We simply can’t help others on a global stage unless we give collectively to connected common ministries through the conference tithe, ten percent of each congregation’s monthly income. One-third of our Indiana Conference budget is designated to the ministry and outreach of our General Church apportionments. Find out what those apportionments support from world missions to disaster relief to issues of justice to the education of future pastors. (Here and here)
In a most personal way, Bishop Mike Coyner shares his feelings about the eternal connection he feels with his recently deceased mother, Nina Coyner. He also gives testimony to the support he and his wife, Marsha, feel with hundreds of expressions of sympathies.
Yes, we are connected. Read the many ways in this issue of Together.
Daniel R. Gangler
Connection is our strength as The United Methodist Church.