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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Methodist Influence

I have been a member of the United Church of Canada most of my life (Baptized at age 4), and have served as a minister for more than 20 years. Even so, I know very little about the denominations that joined together in 1925 to form this uniquely Canadian church. I can generally sort out which church buildings "look" Presbyterian or Methodist. (You can often get clues from the name!)

For the last few years I have had this intuitive "knowing" that I needed to learn more about Methodism. What a blessing it is to have some genuine United Methodist Church pastors as friends and neighbours!

Conversations with these friends have offered me glimpses of what Methodism has to offer, and have pointed me towards good things to read, and ideas to explore further. I will be flying down to Nashville in October to attend a Wesleyan Leadership Conference entitled:

"A New Vision for Wesleyan Community"with Dr. Elaine Heath
The Wesleyan Leadership Conference aims to help The United Methodist Church recover what it means to be Christian and Methodist in the 21st century. One step in this process is to ask the question: How do we develop disciple-making communities that are centered in the work of Jesus Christ in the world?

I am hoping to pick up some methods that can be used in my United Church context, in which I believe there is deep hunger and need for spiritual formation and growth as disciples.
Elaine Heath is a professor of evangelism at a United Methodist Seminary in Dallas. She wrote a fascinating book called the Mystic Way of Evangelism, and is the co-author of "Longing for Spring", which explores a radically different model for "doing church", that is deeply rooted in the heritage of early Methodism. I am planning to write mini-reviews of both of these books, as a way of preparing for my time in Nashville.

Sam Persons Parkes, who is enrolled in the Toronto School of Theology's Doctor of Theology program, has come to Trinity twice in recent months as a guest preacher. On his latest visit he brought a wonderful presentation he created, and which he has allowed me to share here. Click the link and enjoy!