Connectionalism in Action
Submitted by the Rev. Tezenlo Thong
Superintendent, Mile High/Pikes Peak District
On learning recently that Ellicott
United Methodist churches were in need of The Faith We Sing
, a hymnal supplement to The United Methodist Hymnal
, the people of East United Methodist Church
in Colorado Springs decided to generously donate 50 copies plus two copies of pianist edition to the two churches. The Rev. Ed Bollock, pastor of East UMC, said, “It is a gift from the people of East UMC. Hope these provide joy and thanksgiving in your praise and worship of God.”
There are many ways in which we can live out our “denominational connection.” In this case, the need for hymnals was expressly stated. Extending connectional help to small churches does not, however, have to be in the form of hymnals and Bibles (used or otherwise), used choir robes, used pew chairs/benches, etc. We are increasingly hearing from our small and/or rural churches a profound desire for a ministry of presence and partnership. They want larger churches to help revitalize small churches, so that they can continue to serve and witness in their communities. What ministry of presence and partnership can our larger churches provide? To name a few: music, preaching, VBS, workshops, repairs and painting, and service to neighbors.
We are connected by a common mission and shared governance with the purpose to reach out into the world. We rightly take pride in our unique connectional system. However, sometime you hear of a member of one Methodist church making a snide remark about a neighboring Methodist church. You have also heard stories of “rivalries” and fear of “sheep stealing” among Methodist churches in close vicinities. Rivalry, a sense of neglect or lack of support and misunderstanding often belie our unique emphasis on connectional system. The formation of circuits hopefully would lead us to a strong sense of oneness and cooperation in pursuing our common mission and witness.
If you are a larger church, what can you offer? If you are a smaller church, what do you need? Please share your gifts and needs with your district superintendents
, and hopefully they can help connect our churches for the transformation of the world.