Living in Joy
These are interesting times to be a part of The United Methodist Church. While the denomination has been in decline for decades, the rate of decline has increased in the last decade. This is not only true of The United Methodist Church, but is true of all mainline denominations. We are all also aware of the coming General Conference in 2019 in which the matter of homosexuality in The UM Church will be the sole topic.
Living in this state of decline and anxiety can make it difficult to be joyful. A few days ago, my devotional reading from The Upper Room Disciplines was written by Gennifer Benjamin Brooks. She wrote:
We continue to see evidence of the victimization of African Americans in substandard education, inadequate housing, a flourishing school-to-prison pipeline, an overwhelmingly African American prison population, food de-serts in their communities, and double-digit employment. And yet worship in African American churches is exuberantly joyful and celebrative, praising God’s glorious presence that empowers them to answer the call and face the challenge of serving God faithfully, despite the heinous reality of systemic oppression at every level of society and even in the Christian church.
Living in joy does not mean burying our heads in the sand. It does not mean having a “pie in the sky” outlook. It does not mean denying the reality in which we live. It does not mean giving up and saying, “All is lost.” Instead living in joy means “praising God’s glorious presence that em-powers (us) to answer the call and face the challenge of serving God faithfully.”
As I travel around the Canal District, I continue to be touched by the way churches are serving God faithfully, in the face of decline and anxiety about the future. Churches are looking for new and innovative ways to connect with the communities they serve. Pastors are prophetic voices in those communities. Laity look for ways to live out their faith in all areas of their lives.
One of the roles as a superintendent is to be the “chief strategist” in the district. Yet, so often, I find myself marveling at the ways in which clergy and laity are serving faithfully. I often find myself watching and observing in awe, more than leading and strategizing. It’s an honor and privilege to serve among the faithful folks in the Canal District.
Canal District Office:
Rev. Ed Peterson
800 E Market St.
Akron, OH 44305
Phone : 330-252-0299
Office Hours: Monday through Thursday
9;00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
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