Discernment Information and a Quiet Period
On September 22, Advent used the eNews to distribute its first information about the current discernment period. There have now been nine eNews editions, including this one, that have provided information about the process as well as information and opinion that represent both sides of the discussion about the issues facing our denomination and church. The purpose has been to provide resources that will enable the professing members to be fully informed as they participate in the congregational vote on February 4.
In addition to the information provided by Advent, two informal groups made up of members of Advent have formed to advocate for a decision either to stay in the denomination or leave the denomination. These groups have communicated through Facebook, emails, letters and in-person meetings (both at on-campus and off-campus sites), as well as personal conversations. By organizing they have been able to express their opinions and contribute to a robust discussion of the issues involved. But some questions have come to the staff of Advent, asking why information about meetings sponsored by these groups has not been shared by the church. Please understand that these groups were not created by Advent, their communications and events are not sponsored or advertised by Advent, Advent does not decide who they communicate with, and their views are not an expression of the “position” of our church.
Advent, through the actions of the church council, has not made a recommendation about separating or not separating from the denomination, believing that this decision belongs to the church membership. The information that Advent has provided has been designed to provide information while avoiding advocating for one side or the other. This information has been shared exclusively through the weekly eNews, the Sunday morning bulletin, verbal updates on Sunday mornings, or through information posted on the church website under the “Denominational News” tab. Information or opinions shared in any other manner is personal to that individual or group and has not come from Advent.
Today marks the last day of active discernment for Advent until January. Beginning tomorrow, November 18, until Friday, January 4, we will observe a quiet period in which Advent will not be distributing information related to the denominational discernment process or referring to it during worship. Of course, individuals will continue to discuss, consider, and pray about the decision currently facing our congregation. We encourage every member to continue to pray the prayer of discernment daily. The decision about possibly separating from the United Methodist Church deserves our prayerful attention. However, as a congregation, beginning tomorrow and lasting until the first Friday in January, we will turn our attention to Thanksgiving and Christmas – specifically to focus on the celebration of the birth of our Lord. It is our hope that every member of Advent will determine to live these days with generosity, gratitude, and grace!
Pastor Tim and Pastor Rachel would be happy to talk to anyone with questions about any part of this process or decision. Feel free to call or email the church to be in touch with either pastor.
We are deeply grateful for your love and concern for our church. In a world that has many distractions and concerns, we now invite you into a season that is focused on joyful worship and genuine fellowship as we celebrate the birth of our Lord!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.