For the past four years we as a district have worked with our current vision / mission statement. We have measured all ministry by these few words:
"Proclaiming the love of Jesus Christ ...
through our Unity, our Celebration, our Sharing...
and thereby making disciples of Jesus Christ
for the Transformation of the World."
We are the United Methodist Church, we know about unity! Through the years the mistake has been made by those of us who suffer from speed writing to transpose the i and the t in United, resulting in the Untied Methodist Church. It is one of the many reasons I need to slow down when I type, but it is also what some would call a Freudian slip; it isn't how it is, but yet in some ways it is!
The "United" in our name comes from our Evangelical United Brethren sisters and brothers who in 1968 merged with the Methodists to form a single united church for Jesus Christ. Thought the years, we have conveniently dropped the "United" and simply call ourselves Methodists. While this is a whole other article, it shows how being in unity together has diminished over the years.
It is so very important to me as your Superintendent that we in the Atlanta Emory District proclaim the love of Jesus Christ through our unity. We have much that divides us for sure. There are congregations in downtown and congregations in the suburbs as well as blessed congregations that are still in rural areas of our district. Our styles of worship divide us. Our nationalities divide us. Our economic status divides us. Our theology divides us. Our politics divide us. I could go on and on with all the many things that divide us as United Methodists in the Atlanta Emory District.
I have shared with many that we are the most diverse district in our Annual Conference. While diversity is a blessing and good for us, division and being untied is bad for us. How are we able to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ if all we do is draw lines in the sand and refuse to remember we are united in one Lord, one faith, one baptism? It is that love of Jesus Christ which should give us strength to join our hands and hearts together in order to share the love of our redeemer Christ with a world that feels unloved.
We are united in Christ, my friends, and we must strive to reach across the aisles and across the miles, across the discussions of politics and across the races, across the languages and the cultures, and even across the differing theologies to be united in the love and life of our Christ so that His message and His will for this world will come into fruition. His
message and His will is so much more important than ours.
I call for us in this district to join our hands and our hearts in unity as sisters and brothers of a large family to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ, to not just to proclaim it, but to show it to our own as well. I pray we will do all of this for the sake of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
We are one in Christ Jesus ... let's live like it with joy and thanksgiving.
Together with you in love and ministry,