Wesley United Methodist Church

Growing in Faith, Transforming Lives, and Creating Disciples for Jesus the Christ

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Hunger in our Neighborhood

By Lucinda Hurt, Wesley’s Table Food Pantry Co-coordinator

So this has been on my heart for a few weeks now. Most of you know Jason and I help run the food pantry at church. I feel the need to try to change the conversation around food and who deserves it and who doesn’t, or who deserves good food and who doesn’t. And I’m not looking to stir up some political debate, just give you some food for thought.

I’m a social worker and a Christian, I do not identify as one political party or another. I just try to do what’s right. I admit, being in social services I have seen my share of people cheat the system, not just “families driving Cadillacs and getting $600 in food stamps,” but white older adults trying to hide their money so the State will pay for their care, which by the way cost WAY MORE than the family cheating on $600/month food stamps. Every type of person cheats the system. And yes, even I find myself judging what people buy at times. I admit it. But I walk into the food pantry every week surrounded by goodness, by generosity of our local grocery stores, of our church and community members and it inspires me to change the narrative.

Every week we recover HUNDREDS, YES HUNDREDS, of pounds of food from local stores. Meat, produce, bread etc. You have seen the pictures. Today, we recovered just from Jewel, 18 cases of mostly chicken. That’s approximately 320 pounds of meat. If we don’t pick it up, the stores throw it away. Yes, organic grass fed lamb, bison, chicken, beef, meat of every kind in the garbage! Why are we fighting over who deserves what? Yes, I know my tax dollars pay for someone “who doesn’t work or who cheats the system” to eat a steak. My job is dependent on everyone’s tax dollars, including my own. And I could be in that line any day, especially in our current political climate. If you didn’t know me, would you judge me if I was buying a steak? How do you know that person isn’t treating themselves because this week, maybe they got their first pay check? Maybe it’s not enough to make ends meet. Maybe they are coming through the food pantries, employed by the very stores where we recover food-yes it happens every week! If no one buys the steak, guess where it ends up, in our food pantry and in many other food pantries and we give it away for free. And I give it away happily. No one deserves to be hungry and no one deserves to have to eat bad food that’s anything but food because they can’t afford it.

Jesus did not ask for proof that people were working or honest when he fed the 5000, he just fed them. So every week, Jason, myself, our church and our volunteers will do the same. And we will do the same until God changes our mission, if He ever does. So if you know someone who is struggling, who is hungry or someone who just needs an extra $50 and the end of every month, they are welcome at Wesley United Methodist Church every Sunday at Wesley’s Table Food Pantry from 130-330 (and of course at church service at 9am. We will gladly serve them, with joy, without judgement, and as Jesus would. If we don’t, they go hungry and the food gets thrown away. It’s as simple as that.

If you would like to join us in our mission, let me know we will gladly welcome you!

Webmaster’s note: You can sign up to volunteer for a variety of tasks at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b054daead2ba5f49-volunteer

#feedingourhungryneighbors #nooneshouldgohungry

Conversation on A Way Forward — Coal City UMC

Posted by on 8:38 pm in Conference News | 0 comments

An invitation from our Bishop:

Invitation to Conversations Around Human Sexuality
12/15/2017
“Can we talk?” A famous comedian often used that as her “hook” for drawing folks into her comic routine. The challenge in entering her world is that she never intended to have a conversation that included listening. Members of the United Methodist Church have been talking about issues of human sexuality since 1972. Some would say that we have talked about issues of human sexuality, but we have done very little listening to one another. I believe it is time for members and constituents of the IGRC to talk, and more importantly, to listen to one another regarding issues of human sexuality.

The Commission on a Way Forward was proposed by the Council of Bishops and approved by the 2016 General Conference to do a complete examination and possible revision of every paragraph of the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and explore options that help to maintain and strengthen the unity of the church. The Commission has encouraged United Methodists across our global connection to engage in conversations around issues of human sexuality. The purpose of these conversations is not to debate or change one another or to convince others to “switch sides”, but to engage in active listening and effective hearing of each other’s personal stories in a safe environment.

As we prepare to come together in a spirit of Holy Conversations, we do so acknowledging that faithful United Methodists, are deeply divided biblically and theologically over matters related to human sexuality. We are not all of the same mind and have differing perspectives on how to engage in relationships and ministry with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer brothers and sisters in Christ. I believe it is time to listen and to share with one another.

As part of our conversations we will use a portion of our time together to reflect on four questions that the Council of Bishops has crafted for our denomination. These questions, and our collective responses, will help us to interact with the Council of Bishops and the Commission on a Way Forward. We will also have a brief update and discussion of the current models proposed by the Commission.

Here are the four questions:
* In our diverse and global existence, what is the shared mission/purpose of the Church?
* Is there a proactive way for us to live together in our differences that doesn’t presume that we will resolve our differences? What would it be?
* What might be a form of unity that would empower us living together?
* What is our witness and what can be our witness to the world in relation to our differences?
The conversations that we will have are focused more on our identity, purpose, and mission as United Methodist. As we think about the challenges that our differences around human sexuality present us, we need to discuss how we will remain at the table for the sake of the mission of Christ despite our differences.

My invitation is for you to come to one or more of these gatherings to be intentionally engaged in a conversation about how we can remain united as a denomination around our mission rather than fragmented by our differences. Here are a few ideas that may be helpful in preparing for these conversations:
* Continue to pray that the Holy Spirit will lead us to a way forward.
* Review and be committed to using the Annual Conference Guidelines for Holy Conferencing.
* Read and reflect upon the parable of the Good Samaritan.
* Read the book, The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict, by the Arbinger Institute
* Come with a positive attitude and a hope-filled, respectful spirit reflecting the best of the IGRC.
Let us also commit ourselves to providing grace and space towards one another as we create a safe place to listen and to share our varying perspectives. Let us be determined to honor Christ by honoring one another as sisters and brothers. I want to thank you in advance for choosing to join me and others in these vital conversations.

Making a Way Forward Conversations will be held at the following locations. Please register on-line via the IGRC Web-site.
Jan. 20 — Coal City UMC, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Jan. 27 — East Moline Christ UMC, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Feb. 3 — Quincy Vermont Street UMC, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Feb. 10 — Mattoon First UMC, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Feb. 24 — Metropolis First UMC, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Click here to register for the Coal City event.

Bishop’s Statement Regarding Judicial Council Decision 1341

Posted by on 5:16 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am proud and thankful to be a Methodist.  The term, “Methodist” was assigned to our founder, John Wesley, and the members of his “holy club.” The term was meant to be critical and condemning because the members of Wesley’s small band were “methodical” in the way that they attended to the practice of ministry and soul care.

 

Today I take great pleasure in knowing that the denomination that I love has a process and a plan designed to hold its members accountable while doing its best to assure a fair process when addressing a variety of issues. Our process seems, at times, long and complex when it comes to rendering a final decision. I am reminded that Jesus, though often pressed and pushed, never rushed to a decision. Jesus was not reactionary; he was responsive.

 

The Judicial Council released its decision on a request for a declaratory decision from the South-Central Jurisdiction (SCJ) in response to the Western Jurisdiction’s (WJ) nomination, election, consecration and assignment of Reverend Karen Oliveto as a Bishop of the United Methodist Church.

 

In its decision, the Judicial Council ruled that the consecration of a gay bishop violates church law. The Judicial Council went on to say that Bishop Oliveto “remains in good standing, until an administrative or judicial process is completed.” [All UM pastors are deemed to be in “good standing” until they are found guilty, through due process, of violating the Book of Discipline.]

 

The decision of the Judicial Council rightly recognizes that their initial decision is only one step in our judicial process. The ruling by the Judicial Council is not the final step!

 

So, what does this mean for the people called “Methodist” and what does this mean for the IGRC?
  • First and foremost, it means that our process is ongoing.  I say to the Superintendents when we face difficult challenges as a Cabinet, “trust the process because the process does work!”
  • Secondly, it means that Bishop Oliveto will continue to serve as a Bishop while the process continues.
  • Finally, it means that we all must continue to exercise patience, grace, and fervency in prayer as we seek “a way forward” as a denomination attempting to address complex issues during difficult times.

 

The ruling of the Judicial Council does not alter or change our Book of Discipline. Only the General Conference has the legislative power to change our denomination wide polity and discipline. The mission of the IGRC and of the United Methodist Church has not changed. Our mission is “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

Please join me in praying for unity during our search for common ground around diverse views, for our denomination and its process, for the General Church’s “Way Forward Commission,” for revival and renewal to happen in the IGRC, and for lost sheep to be found.

 

Please also remember to pray for me as I do my best to listen and discern the direction the Lord would have us go as an Episcopal Area. The peace of the resurrected Lord be with each of us as we walk together in the love of Jesus Christ.

 

God Bless

 

Todays Thoughts

Posted by on 4:04 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I am sitting in the Pastor’s Study at Wesley UMC, Bradley, IL, trying to write the Advent and Christmas letter for 2015. How? I am sickened unto death by the violence and the darkness of the world. I am sickened unto death by the nonsense of arguing about a cup holding a $6 cup of coffee and whether it says “Christmas.” I am sickened unto death with the political season already upon us and the remaining months to come when people will say anything to get a “sound bite” for the 6 o’clock news. And even more disheartened when they claim to be Christian but will close their doors to the immigrant, the least and the lost. How will I write this letter?

I will write this letter because I have faith in the promise of GOD –that lightness will defeat darkness. I will write this letter because I believe the teaching of Jesus the Christ that my neighbor means more than the person living in the house next door, looks like me, thinks like me, or believes like me. I will write this letter because my faith tells me to have the hope and belief of a little child that truth and justice and righteous will prevail because that is GOD’s plan for creation.

So Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan or any other way you celebrate the life you have been given. Remember it was a gift.

P.S. Don’t post back if you don’t have anything good to say in reply.

 

I continued with writing the Advent/Christmas letter and then started preparing the Sermon for November 29th, the First Sunday of Advent.  I’m hoping that members of Wesley will join in an all-church study of the book, Sent:Delivering the Gift of Hope at Christmas by Jorge Acevedo.  The sermon for the First Sunday of Advent and the Fourth Sunday of Advent will be based on this book.  The first chapter talked about God’s opening statement to each of the recipients of that first Christmas message — Don’t be afraid!

 

How much clearer can God’s response to my lack of hope be!!! Don’t be afraid for today I give you news of great joy!  I am blessed.

Food Pantry

Posted by on 8:44 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Well earlier this week we made our third order to NIFB and today (Sunday Nov. 8th) Wesley’s Table served 51 households and 139 people. We are definitely growing and making a difference!

Sermons on Soundcloud.com

Posted by on 4:19 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Ok.. so i finally got around to uploading the sermon’s to a site called soundcloud.com or if you look above there’s an icon in the shape of a cloud that will take you there also. (looks more like a sideways heart with lines next to it then a cloud).