From the Pastor’s Desk February 2020

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

I have been asked about the changes that were adopted at the called General Conference held last year.  The Traditional Plan was passed and I will try to explain the changes for which the plan calls. But wait! This may all change again at the General Conference that will be held in                  Minneapolis in May. As of now this is the plan.

              On January 1st of this year we began to operate under the rules adopted at the Called General Conference of 2019. Those rules addressed the manner in which the church would deal with the issue of serving LGBTQ persons. I will try to summarize these changes here. First, persons who are LGBTQ are still welcome in our churches. That part of the Book of Discipline has not changed. If a person who is LGBTQ, or any person for that matter, wants to become a professing member of a United Methodist congregation, they must first meet with the pastor of the church. It is the pastor who determines where their heart is, and if they are ready to profess their faith. In the United Methodist Church, entry into membership is not based on a church vote.

Concerning the definition of homosexuality, the definition of “self-avowed practicing homosexual” was expanded to include “a person living in a same-sex marriage, domestic partnership or civil union, or is a person who states he or she is a practicing homosexual.” Under the new rules, bishops are now prohibited from ordaining any person as an elder or deacon if the Board of Ordained Ministry has found them to be a homosexual, even if that board recommends that they be ordained. This gives bishops less latitude in dealing with this issue. Another provision concerns penalties for performing same-sex weddings or unions. Any clergy found guilty in a church trial of performing a same sex wedding or union will be suspended without pay for one year. Loss of credential will occur after that period if the clergy continues to perform same-sex weddings or unions. However, the bishops have opted to suspend this portion until after this coming conference.

The General Conference added a provision which allows churches to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church without having to purchase the property. Financial procedures were added which could be prohibitive for some churches. Disaffiliation must be related to the issue of homosexuality.

Churches have until 2023 to disaffiliate without being subject to property purchase. The vote on this particular issue was found to involve votes which would nullify this decision; however, the Judicial Council has delayed hearing this case until May of 2020. That means churches may assume that the rule on which they voted applies for now. All of these changes are now in effect. There are proposals to the 2020 General Conference to change these new rules. Because of this, many groups, churches and individuals within the United Methodist Church are planning what they will do after General Conference. Some are planning to leave now regardless of the outcome. Some have vowed to stay and fight. Some have said they are tired of fighting and plan to leave.

What should we do? Pray for our local church and the United Methodist Church. Changes may come that are more restrictive or less restrictive. We should still plan to be a welcoming church that loves all people. If one cannot abide with the new changes or subsequent changes, then one can make a decision about one’s church future. Until that  happens, look upon each person you meet with love and respect. No one has approached me about leaving as a church. Some have expressed their opinions relative to the issue of homosexuality and the church. My hope is that we at Manistique First United Methodist Church will continue to make disciples for Jesus for the transformation of the world. That is our goal regardless of the outcome of the conference to come.

Pastor Don

United Methodist Women January 2020

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

A View from the Belfry January 2020

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

Lay Leader Lines January 2020

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

From the Pastor’s Desk January 2020

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

A note from the financial secretary and treasurer December 2019

Monday, November 25th, 2019

Operation Christmas Child

Monday, November 25th, 2019

Our sincere thanks to all who took part in “Operation Christmas Child”. We packed 30 boxes this year which will be sent to children all over the world.

It is indeed a privilege to take part in this project that will bring the love of Jesus Christ to these children and their families.

  – The United Methodist Women 

A View from the Belfry December 2019

Monday, November 25th, 2019

Hello from this very wintry belfry! As I write this, we have had our Trunk-or-Treat event, which was very successful, despite a COLD wind which sent January shivers up and down our spines even though it was still October. This bat appreciates all the volunteers we had helping with the Halloween candy distribution in the parking lot. They included Ruth Annelin, BJ Ash (the fireman in the photography booth), Kristin Anderson, Pastor Don Bedwell, Kerry Billings, Sara Blanchard, Janet Helmbold, Connie Kelsey, Sherry Koschmider, Kali Lewis, and her mother Mary Schulze, and Gayle and Bill Tufnell. Kerry also decorated the church for the occasion, with Halloween spooks, pumpkins, bales of hay, corn stalks (thanks to Vic and Sharon Vanderville), and other assorted decorations. Now it’s on to Thanksgiving and its turkey, cranberries, pumpkin pie, and everything else in between, which will be followed all too soon by the Christmas rush to shop, wrap, write cards, put up and decorate the tree, make the house festive, bake the cookies, make the candy, hang stockings, etc. etc. etc. Sometimes I wonder what Jesus would say if He came back in human flesh during all this hubbub. Would He have to dodge a flying sleigh pulled by flying reindeer and transporting a rather robust man in a red suit? Would He muse over a tree with all kinds of glitter and tinsel on it, as well as balls, lights, and perhaps decorations ranging from angels to Barbie and John Deere tractors? Would He wonder, as I do, what these things have to do with His birth as a baby in a dark and smelly stable, and lying in a food trough instead of a bed? Perhaps He’d see all the happiness on peoples’ faces, as well as the exhaustion, and the worried and sad looks on the faces of those for whom this season has more challenges and sad memories than peace and joy. Maybe He’d enjoy the Christmas carols about a silent night, or a little town called Bethlehem, or people singing about joy coming to the world. He’d most likely wonder how and why Grandma got run over by a reindeer, or what losing two front teeth has to do with Christmas, and why a child should want them so badly when they will most likely be growing back soon anyway. Hopefully He wouldn’t be too dismayed by all the long lines of people waiting at a store all night for the doors to open so everybody can get inside early to get whatever toy or doodad everybody wants and simply must have this year, knowing that whatever the “must have” item was last year may well be lost, broken, or cast aside as not anything anyone wants any more. I hope He might stop at a church on Christmas Eve, perhaps when He sees light pouring out through beautiful stained glass windows, and hears the strains of a Christmas carol played by an organ, floating softly through the air. If He enters, I hope He will see a sanctuary filled with  people, celebrating His birth as a tiny babe, and worshiping Him. He would  hopefully see the love these people have for Him and for each other, and for all the other people in the world who are not there or in any church for whatever reason. Sometimes we forget that God sent Jesus to all people, including those who are not in any church, who do not want to go to any church, or who even scorn and hate the people who do go to church. After all, these are the people for whom Jesus came and for whom He is still searching and   holding the door open, inviting them to enter. He asks us to do the same for them, this Christmas and always. Can we? Will we?                                                                                                                                     Merry Christmas and best wishes for a life filled with love, peace, and the presence of Jesus in your heart.

Lay Leader Lines December 2019

Monday, November 25th, 2019

United Methodist Women December 2019

Monday, November 25th, 2019

The United Methodist Women’s annual Christmas Tea is Saturday, Dec. 7 at 1 PM. The theme is “Let Heaven and Nature Sing,” and will include the popular Cookie Walk and a Kitchen Gourmet Table. Proceeds from the sales will benefit the church Deacon’s Fund and the Manistique Ministerial Association. The tea is always open to the community so be sure to attend and bring your friends.

 The UMW Christmas Party will be held the following week on Wednesday, Dec. 11, at 5 PM. This will be a potluck dinner. All members of FUMC are invited to attend. Be sure to mark your calendar now.

An “emergency” end-of-year UMW General Meeting will be held Thursday, Dec. 12 at 1 PM to discuss finances of the UMW and donations for the end of 2019.

Looking ahead: the first UMW General meeting of 2020 will be Tuesday, January 7, at 1 PM. If you are not already a UMW member, why not make a New Year’s resolution to join. The group is open to all women interested in the health and welfare of women and children worldwide.

  The monthly hymn sing continues the first Monday of each month at the Medical Care Facility. We meet at 10 AM to present a brief program of familiar hymns and a seasonal message. New participants are always welcome.

  It is time to finish up your goal in the 2019 UMW Reading Program. A new program begins in January 2020. See Mary Prater for more information.