A Sunday Prayer 10/28/18

Lord,

There are so many responsibilities I have to take care of. So many things that seem so critically important. So many distractions that sidetrack me. Which means it’s often so easy for me to end up giving You the leftovers.

My leftover heart.

My leftover passion.

My leftover energy.

My leftover time.

My leftover commitment.

My leftover love.

I confess I have all kinds of excuses about why I do this. But when I’m honest, I know they ring hollow. So help me face the truth, honestly confess and do things in a brand new way starting right now.

By trusting You with all of me.

Giving You all of me.

And loving You with all of me.

It may not seem like much. In fact, it may not be much. But it’s all that You want – forever and ever.

I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Statement from Interfaith Arkansas on the Pittsburgh Shooting

Interfaith Arkansas, which throughout its nearly sixty years of work, has worked closely with the Jewish community in Arkansas as partners seeking openness, inclusion, justice and peace for all. We stand today in solidarity with our Jewish communities in light of the senseless killings in the synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA and condemn the violence against Jewish people and their holy places. We are deeply concerned and troubled by the creation of a culture where this kind of evil and anti-Semitic violence expresses itself.

We encourage leaders, individuals and communities to live out attitudes and actions of faith, love, compassion, kindness, justice and peace in the face of people who perpetrate hate and violence.

Rabbi Barry Block of Temple B’Nai Israel in Little Rock has invited everyone to a brief memorial service in the Temple Sanctuary on Monday, October 29 at 6 p.m.

Real Faith Works in Real Life

It will happen whether you’re ready or not. You’ll experience cancer, the loss of a job, being the victim of a crime, struggling with addiction, losing your job, watching your marriage break up or any of a number of other tragedies. That’s when you need to remember how God helped you deal with seemingly insurmountable odds in the past, search God’s heart about what you need to do and take bold steps because God’s got your back. This is real faith. And it works in real life.

From the Bishop: A Response to the Judicial Council’s Declaratory Ruling

October 26, 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Arkansas Annual Conference,

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Many of you have seen various accounts of the Judicial Council’s decision that was released earlier today concerning the constitutionality of the three plans included in the report of The Commission on a Way Forward.

It is a lengthy ruling that will necessitate additional study and understanding. But while it may be dangerous to simplify a complex ruling, I want to offer you my best understanding of the Judicial Council’s unanimous action. First, a significant number of the accountability mechanisms included in the Traditional Plan are unconstitutional in their current form. Second, the One Church Plan is for the most part in harmony with the Constitution in its major provision. Third, since the Connectional Conference Plan includes constitutional amendments, the Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction at this time to issue a decision. Here is the link that will take you to the complete ruling.

I am aware that some of you are excited and others of you are deeply concerned by the Judicial Council’s decision. This is why it’s important to remember several things. The Council of Bishops sought a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council in order to facilitate the work of the General Conference next February. To that end, the Judicial Council’s clarity is helpful. The Council’s decision concerning constitutionality is not a statement about the value of any of the plans. That is the General Conference’s work to prayerfully discern. Both those who support the One Church Plan or the Traditional Plan now have the opportunity to create amendments to be offered at General Conference that will perfect the plan they prefer.

Life is complicated and often painful. The United Methodist Church is experiencing this now. I hope the laity and clergy of Arkansas will not become even more polarized over this issue, but will instead find ways to reach out, pray for each other and stay connected. I also pray that we will all remember that our main work is not settling difficult issues; it is making disciples of Jesus Christ, who make disciples equipped to transform lives, communities and the world.

Come, Holy Spirit, come!

Grace and peace,


Gary E. Mueller
Bishop

God Loves Other People Just as Much

Some people dress in ways you never would. Others have tats and rings that give you the shivers. A number have political, moral or religious beliefs with which you radically disagree. Many listen to music that hurts your ears. So why are all of these things that seem so problematic really not? Because what matters most is the fact that God loves these other people just as much as God loves you. And that needs to be the starting point of your relationship with every single one of them.