September Issue of the Greenwood District Newsletter

sept newsletter

is now available. The email has been distributed to all Greenwood District Pastors and others throughout the District and Conference.

Click on the image at the left to read this month’s newsletter.

Items of interest include:
– Hunger Awareness Month in the Greenwood District
– Youth Lake Worship
– September Clergy Meeting
– Charge Conference Training
– Multiplying Ministry Retreat

Bishops Bring Together Congregation in North Charleston to Address Recent Police Shootings

SC Resident Bishop, Jonathan Holston, with The Rt. Rev. Richard Franklin Norris, presiding bishop of the Seventh Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; The Rt. Rev. Kenneth Monroe, presiding bishop of the South Atlantic Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; The Rt. Rev. James B. Walker, presiding bishop of the Seventh Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, led the congregation at St. Peters African Methodist Episcopal Church in North Charleston in a service of prayer, healing, and reconciliation on June 2, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Connecting with “Those People”

SchottLeeWe often hear our friends, colleagues, strangers talk about those people as if they could some how contaminate us, our place of worship, our community. Maybe we have even joined in the conversation about those people. Yes, we talk about them but what can we do about them or for them?

Rev. Lee A. Schott, a United Methodist pastor of Women at the Well UMC, has a few ideas and suggestions. Women at the Well UMC is one of only two United Methodist churches in the U.S. that are within prison walls. Scott’s church is in the women’s prison in Mitchellville, Iowa.

Before you read Schott’s suggestions about how to meet, embrace, and assist people who are different from us, think about your church community. How open is your church to someone who looks, dresses, talks, acts differently from your members? Is your church welcoming and friendly to guests? What happens during the Passing of the Peace? How involved is your church family in the community around your church building?

If you could not answer those questions quickly with significant examples of connecting with brothers and sisters in your community, perhaps you and your members need to study and practice the suggestions that Schott offers in her article, Connecting with Those People. Here is her list of suggestions; you will have to read her article for the full explanation:

  • Watch
  • Wonder
  • Be a safe listener
  • Reduce your church’s barriers
  • Watch your language
  • Reach across the walls
  • Don’t just “do missions.” Build relationships
  • Maintain boundaries
  • Pray

You can read Schott’s entire article here: http://www.churchleadership.com/leadingideas/leaddocs/2015/150513_article.html.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is evaluating your church’s participation in mission, outreach, and nurture in light of Schott’s comments and then re-commit your church family to truly see and connect with THOSE PEOPLE.

Five Guidelines for Doing Good Well

Just readMcAllisterWilsonDavid2014 (1) the article, “Five Guidelines for Doing Good Well, by David McAllister-Wilson, president of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.

Dr. McAllister-Wilson begins his article with a quote from Tony Campolo during a recent luncheon meeting. I quote here: “David, do you know how many Christian organizations are at work in Haiti today? There are 900. And after 40 years of all that mission work, Haiti is no better off today.” “Why do you think that is?” I asked. He said: “Because they aren’t there to do good. They’re there to feel good.” (end quote)

McAllister-Wilson goes on to say he knew Campolo was saying that for shock value but acknowledges that the statement was rooted in some truth. As more local churches and individuals move into missional ventures beyond the Church’s national and international venues, McAllister-Wilson says, “This means congregations must change some fundamental assumptions. “Missions” is not a program we take on once we are strong enough. It is not discretionary spending. It is the basic need of the church. We have to prepare church leaders to be mission entrepreneurs and to acquire new knowledge and skills.” He goes on to outline some steps that churches should take in that direction.

Read the entire article here: http://bit.ly/1GiCWUq

Choreographing Your Worship Service

Lovett Weems, Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., recently wrote an article entitled “When Silence Isn’t Golden.” In that article he talked about the uncomfortable silences in church services when the service is broadcast live over radio [or streamed online]. He makes the point that it takes just a few seconds of silence for the listener to change stations [or stop the live streaming]. (My editorial additions)

Weems points out to his readers that moments of unnecessary silence in a worship service are not just awkward from a broadcast perspective but also for the worshiper in the pew. He mentions just a few of the unnecessary silences that we all may experience in a worship service:

  • Pastors and staff not ready to begin one portion of the service as soon as the previous portion ended
  • Readers taking time to walk from a pew while it was already time for their reading to begin
  • Musicians taking undue time to begin their music
  • Ushers not moving until the offering invitation was concluded
  • Announcements by various people without all coming to the microphone together
  • Someone speaking without a microphone
  • The time for singing groups to move to their places and return to their seats

Years ago, a United Methodist pastor in the North Carolina Conference spent one morning each week with the church music director and the organist planning the service. Bill was a firm believer in keeping the service moving and flowing smoothly from prelude to benediction and postlude. He would “walk” through the service during these weekly planning times looking for silence or awkward moments in the service. It worked! Those of us in the congregation and on staff were appreciative of the time he took to plan and choreograph every worship service, whether it was Sunday morning or a special worship service.

The question then is how do to eliminate these unnecessary silences so that your worship service moves and flows smoothly from prelude to postlude. Weems offers some ideas for choreographing your worship services. You can read his entire article here: http://www.churchleadership.com/leadingideas/leaddocs/2015/150415_article2.html