When the Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) and Methodist churches united 50 years ago, the EUB leaders insisted on an integrated denomination. But many questions of race and justice remained unresolved. As the church considers its response to homosexuality, how does racism shape the conversation? How must the church and its people redefine or reinvent themselves so that we can stand united in Christ? How is the church “forever beginning?”
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way; Thou who hast by Thy might led us into the light: keep us forever on Thy path we pray.
God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come: we gather in Your Name thankful for Your abiding presence. You’ve breathed Your dignity into our very essence and we move in response to Your voice. Thank You for being our Great Hope among the adversities, joys, and stony paths of life. Thank You for claiming each one of us and for giving us great purpose and identity in You. In this time together, incline our hearts to Your testimonies, give us a teachable heart and the ability to do all that You ask of us. Establish Your word and confirm Your promises in this moment. Speak the truths that You would have us echo. Bless us in this time together and enable us to wholly focus on and be strengthened by all that is You. In Jesus’ Name, we pray and ask it all. Amen.
In the gift of this moment, we affirm that we are divinely loved and lovable.
We are the children of God.
Together, we will learn from the actions and words of one another.
Christ’s lessons on love are centered in how we treat others and in how we treat ourselves.
We will exercise courage in this study as we share stories of struggle and strength.
We will stay at the table and receive those stories with grace.
We will not be afraid to launch into the deep.
We will commit to the vulnerability necessary to allow God to break us open.
We will set and respect boundaries and honor confidentiality together.
When uncertainty arises, we will remember the Spirit of “peace that passes our own understanding” and can intercede for us.
We will remember that even when we don’t feel “United,”
The uniting love of Christ can reveal a pathway to greater
wisdom and mutual respect.
No matter what, there is a place for each one of us in this study together.
Let us hold each other up in prayer, hold each other accountable in love, and
trust that our God is making all things new.
Thank you for the gift of being present to one another in this holy time.
POEM BY JAMES WELDON JOHNSON "LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING,"
Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us.
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.
Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.
God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who hast by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand.
True to our God,
True to our native land.
VIDEO CONTENT - Video will be available on 5/30
Video with Bishop Forrest Stith and Rev. Sarah Schlieckert
Bishop Stith is a retired bishop, president emeritus of the African-American Methodist Heritage Center, and bishop in residence at Asbury UMC in Washington, D.C.
Rev. Schlieckert is pastor of Calvary UMC in Waldorf, Md., and a child of the Evangelical United Brethren Church. Her great-grandfather and grandfather were EUB pastors and her pastor-father was born into the EUB Church.
HEAD & HEART DISCUSSION
BEYOND THIS SESSION
PRAYER AND PATHWAY TO JOURNALING
“(By unity) I do not mean, ‘Be of my opinion.’ You need not: I do not expect or desire it. Neither do I mean, ‘I will be of your opinion.’ I cannot; it does not depend on my choice: I can no more think, than I can see or hear, as I will. Keep you your opinion; I mine; and that as steadily as ever. You need not even endeavor to come over to me or bring me over to you. I do not desire you to dispute those points, or to hear or speak one word concerning them. Let all opinions alone on one side and the other: only ‘give me your hand.’ (2 Kings 10:15)
“I do not mean, ‘Embrace my modes of worship,’ or, ‘I will embrace yours.’ This also is a thing which does not depend either on your choice or mine. We must both act as each is fully persuaded in their own mind. Hold you fast that which you believe is most acceptable to God, and I will do the same. I believe infants ought to be baptized; and that this may be done either by dipping or sprinkling. If you are otherwise persuaded, be so still, and follow your own persuasion. I have no desire to dispute with you one moment upon any of the preceding. Let all these smaller points stand aside. Let them never come into sight ‘If thine heart is as my heart,’ if you love God and all humanity, I ask no more: ‘give me your hand.’
“I mean, first, love me…: love me with a very tender affection, as a friend that is closer than a brother; as a brother in Christ, a fellow citizen of the New Jerusalem, a fellow soldier engaged in the same warfare, under the same Captain of our salvation. Love me as a companion in the kingdom and patience of Jesus, and a joint heir of his glory.
“I mean, Secondly, commend me to God in all your prayers; wrestle with God on my behalf, that God would speedily correct what God sees amiss, and supply what is wanting in me.
“I mean, Thirdly, provoke me to love and to good works.
“I mean, Lastly, love me not in word only, but in deed and in truth. So far as in conscience you can (retaining still your own opinions, and your own manner of worshipping God), join with me in the work of God; and let us go on hand in hand.”