As the church faces an uncertain future, churches in the Peninsula-Delaware Conference are called to explore the heart of their faith with this 18-week interactive study on who we are as a people of God, as United Methodists, and as the people of the Peninsula-Delaware Conference. This interactive resource can be used in a variety of ways in congregations.
Our beloved denomination is in the midst of another pivotal moment in history. Globally, in our churches, we are considering the future of the denomination, what it means to be the Church, what it means to be United Methodists, and what it means to be spirit-filled Christ followers making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world in this present age. Some may question, “Will we remain united? Will we create a new form of unity? Will we dissolve? Will the Church continue to be able to give a faithful voice and witness to the will of God in the days ahead? What is the will of God?” There are many conversations and many questions that may arise in our uncertainty. We can see the ground shift as we engage in strategic sessions, pour over new plans, and predict the year to come. These are natural and necessary steps. And in the midst of all of our uncertainty, this we know for sure – God is. God is with us and God’s Spirit has the power to birth in us a common understanding of how we might live together, disciple together, love together and serve God together.
This Bible Study was developed so that we might enter into a process of discernment and wonder together. It isn’t meant to cater to one outcome or cajole participants into a certain line of thinking. Rather, receive this study as an invitation into communal dialogue chiefly interested in our common roots and the common interest we share as United Methodists within the universal body of Christ today.
This study was designed to center us in our core identity. And so we ask – Who are we? Who are we as the people of God? Who are we as the people called Methodists shaped by Wesleyan theology? Who are we as the members of the Peninsula-Delaware Conference? Who are we becoming as we journey on toward perfection? It is our deepest hope that you will allow responses to emerge around the room and that you will receive these responses with great care. Furthermore, it is our hope that as we study and wrestle with Scripture alongside people we know, and hopefully with people we do not know so well, that we will pay close attention to and compassionately engage one another, quiet ourselves and await God’s voice in our discernment in order to make room for emerging responses that can guide us.
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.