On Sunday, July 30, we celebrate “Better Together Sunday” as we focus on I Corinthians 12:12-13 and verse 26. We’ll also invite the congregation to meet in small groups to discuss what keeps us up at night as a way to support each other. We hope to learn what support you need from the church, and learn where we can focus our efforts to be better together in the coming year.

At each worship service, we’ll invite you to break up into small groups for informal discussions led by a facilitator. Facilitator training will be Wednesday, July 26 at 6 pm in H1. Training will include guidelines for note taking, turning in notes, how notes will be analyzed, and how to discern important messages for the church from the aggregated comments. We will have notebooks and pens for all facilitators on Sunday.

Conducting the discussions using “Holy conferencing” refers to the spirit and principles that guide us to be caring in our conversations—that is what makes them holy. How we talk to and about each other is as important as the decisions we make together, and when we exercise deep spiritual maturity, we can better relate to and even love one another in spite of our differences.

Following are the eight principles of holy conferencing, as proposed by UMC Bishop Sally Dyck:
1) Every person is a child of God. (1 John 4:20-21)
2) Listen before speaking. (Romans 14:1)
3) Strive to understand from another’s point of view. (Phil. 2:6-8; Phil. 2:3-5)
4) Strive to reflect accurately the views of others. (Matthew 12:36-37)
5) Disagree without being disagreeable. (Eph. 4:25-27, 29; 5:1-2a)
6) Speak about issues; do not defame people. (Matthew 5:21-22)
7) Pray, in silence or aloud, before decisions. (Luke 6:27-28)
8) Let prayer interrupt your busy-ness. Begin by asking God to help us listen,
love, and be open to the movement of God through us and others.
© 2012, Bishop Sally Dyck, Minneapolis, Minn.; Eight Principles of Holy Conferencing: A
Study Guide for Churches and Groups by Bishop Sally Dyck, The United Methodist Church.

Let us pray that we would all approach each of our days seeking Grace with an attitude of gratitude.

 

In the past, we’ve talked about loneliness, parenting, health issues, life and work balance, stress, and estrangement. If you aren’t in worship,but would still like to make your concerns known, please email Dave Ryan, chair of the Church and Society Ministry Team, who is leading this exercise and taking what we learn to Valley Interfatih Project to help the community beyond our own church walls.

Our vision to have a “love that crosses all barriers and embraces all people” gives us direction to be bold and all-embracing in our love for all people, even, or especially, those on the outside. We profess that “all are welcome,” while we struggle with our own human prejudices and frailty. Indeed, “all fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

The hope is that when we follow the Risen Christ, and walk with him, we meet others on the road who want to be a part of a faithful spiritual community. We continue to build a church drawing on the lessons, experience and hope expressed by Jesus and the apostles.

When we have Christ at the center, we can accomplish much.

 

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