The United Methodist Church (UMC) was created in 1968. Every 4 years since,
there has been a meeting of the only body that can speak for the church,
General Conference (GC). The topic of how we, as a denomination, are in
ministry with persons who are lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT)
has been a topic of every GC since 1972, including a special GC in 2019.
Some of the highlights of GC decisions include the following: In 1972 the
words, “We do not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider it
incompatible with Christian teaching,” were added to the phrase “persons of
homosexual orientation are persons of sacred worth.” In 1984 GC added that
persons who are LGBT shall not be clergy candidates or appointed as clergy in
the UMC. In 1992 GC declared that ceremonies to celebrate homosexual
unions shall not be conducted by United Methodist clergy or in United
Methodist churches. In 2019 GC added a minimum penalty for clergy found
guilty of performing a same-sex wedding - one year’s suspension without pay
for the first offense and loss of credentials for the second.
A more thorough review of these developments can be found here.
Since GC 2019 several proposals have been submitted for consideration at
GC 2020, to be held May 5 - 15. While we will not know what the future of the
UMC is until after GC 2020 it does look like there is a strong possibility the
UMC will be changing, likely with at least some churches/persons forming a
new denomination, or denominations. With that statement, please breathe --
take a moment and breathe. We know nothing yet, and will not until at least
You may remember we at Marble Memorial UMC had 'conversations' last fall.
Those were to prepare us to talk with each other in a respectful, calm manner.
This, and other topics, are very important to many people so we spent time
looking at how.
We are in the process of setting up further meetings about this specific topic
where we will explore what we think, what others think and why, especially
looking at how the Bible addresses this topic and how it affects people. These
dates have not been firmed up yet but will likely begin in April. Watch for
specific meeting days and times. I believe this will be time well spent for any
decision we as individuals and as a congregation may need to make following
I encourage you to keep up with developments regarding the UMC from our
Michigan Annual Conference at Michiganumc.org where you can sign up for
weekly emails about denominational news and mission. You also may want to
go to www.umnews.org/en to sign up for a daily United Methodist News
service email. We also provide hard copies of the monthly Michigan
Conference magazine. You may want to schedule a time to talk with me about
this, or another topic. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the
church office, 734-439-2421, to set up an appointment.
Please be in prayer for those of the LGBTQ community, who these discussions and
decisions directly impact, our denomination and leaders, here at Marble Memorial
UMC and around the world.
Also, let us remember and always be living into our denomination mission of
'making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world' and our
church vision of "Inviting people, living the love of Christ." May we be
prepared to address this very important issue while we continue in our entire
See you Sunday! Pastor Jackie Roe
Some people make resolutions at the beginning of a new year. It does seem like a good time to focus on specific things after a December filled with celebrations of the birth of our savior. The preparations for Christmas often keep us busy with gift purchasing, decorating our homes, businesses and the church building, card sending, gift giving, concerts, parties and preparing our homes for family and friends or preparing to travel to be with family and friends. So, the time after that, with a new year beginning is a good time to focus on ways we can change our life. This seems especially true as we begin a new decade.
Because Christ came to earth on Christmas, we can always be made new when we follow him. As John Wesley, the founder of what became the United Methodist Church, asked all his new clergy, “Are you going on to perfection”? As long as we are alive, we are changing. Paul writes in his second letter to the Corinthians: “ 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor 5:17)
With that as our theme verse, beginning January 5 we will start a new worship series: “The New You”. This series will unfold as follows:
As we near the beginning of the new year I expect I will be in conversation with people who will make reference to resolutions, new beginnings, or a need to change things in their life. I plan to let them know being a ‘new you’ is our focus for January and invite them to worship with us. I suspect you will be in similar conversations. I pray you too will invite others to worship with us if they don’t have a church home.
Also, be sure to watch for announcements about our upcoming “Conversations Continued” as we discern how we will include persons who are LGBT in our ministry.
See you Sunday! - Pastor Jackie Roe
Advent is upon us! As we await the celebration of the birth of Christ we prepare our hearts for this great happening. This year we are experiencing this waiting with a worship series: The Promise of Christmas. When I was a child the promise of Christmas was presents!
Yes, I knew Christmas was more than presents. I grew up nurtured by Christian parents who valued worship attendance and participation in church as part of their and our family’s faith journey. I knew Christmas was when Christ was born and I knew that was important. Christmas Eve worship was important as was time with friends after worship. I also knew Christmas morning held the promise of presents!! As an adult the promise of Christmas I value more than presents is Christ’s presence.
The Promise of Christmas Worship Series:
See you Sunday in worship – I hope you invite someone! This month is a good time to invite someone when you are talking about Christmas presents. The best present to share is God’s presence! I hope we all are inviting in our words and actions as we live the love of Christ.
By the time you read this September Slam will have occurred. Hopefully it was a nice weather day but even if it wasn’t, I am hopeful many families came and enjoyed activities on our grounds. A big thank you to all who helped in any way: financially, with items, with your time, your prayers or inviting someone to come! This was coordinated by our Children and Youth Ministry Coordinator, Amanda Thornton.
Thank you, Amanda. Also by the time you read this Brenda Kempher and I will have returned from Leadership Institute 2019 in Kansas City at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. The description of the institute was: “The United Methodist Church is at a crossroads. For forty-eight years United Methodists have been in conflict over the official position of the denomination regarding God’s welcome of, and how the church will be in ministry with, LGBTQ persons. 2020 will be a defining year for the UMC as General Conference seeks to come to a resolution of the conflict. What will this mean for your church? For the future of United Methodism? Leadership Institute 2019 is aimed at helping United Methodist leaders navigate and lead through the next steps for the denomination.”
My breakout sessions included “Difficult Conversations” and “Navigating Transition: Leaning into the Future Without Fear”. General sessions included “A Defining Moment/For the Bible Tells Me So”, “Leading Divided Communities”, “Moral Leadership in a Divided Community” and more. I am eager to share what I learned and I suspect Brenda will be also. Please note neither of us have asked the church for financial help for this event. October has Marble Memorial meeting around ‘Conversations’. I am very thankful to Carol McCrae for facilitating these important conversations. Please see elsewhere in this newsletter for more information.
Also in October there are three events in our district/conference that I hope some of you will attend. Lay Servant classes will be offered. The basic class is great information about being a Christian as a United Methodist. There are several advanced classes which provide more specific information. The Reach Summit will be held in October as will our Heritage District Conference and workshops. Bishop Bard is the keynote speaker at the Heritage District Conference. The day will also include several workshops with great information on being the church in 2019 and beyond. See elsewhere in this newsletter about all of these events.
Marble Memorial will pay for your registration for any or all of these events. There is a lot occurring as we live out our vision statement “Inviting people, Living the Love of Christ.”
See you Sunday in worship – I hope you invite someone!
I had a wonderful vacation last week. A friend from college and I went camping. We usually are on the go every day and are very busy. This year we ‘did’ less and enjoyed relaxing more. We did take the “Tahquamenon Falls Riverboat Tour” also known as the Toonerville Trolley Train and Boat Tour.It is a 6.5 hour tour starting with a 35-minute narrow gauge train ride, followed bya 2-hour, narrated riverboat cruise. At the rapids above the falls, the river boat docks for an hour and fifteen minutes. There is a .625 mile hike to their view of the falls which is across from the State Park. (I had always wondered how people got over there when I visited the State Park.) You return via the boat and train. It was a good trip which I recommend. Do note the hike is labeled as moderate and there are lots of steps to see the falls.
On our boat trip back, the captain pointed out the smoke from a forest fire and let us know he was calling it in. When we got on the trains, we were told we couldn’t leave until the captain got the all clear that the fire was not near the train tracks. About a half hour later we got the all clear and the two trains left the boat area. Suddenly, in the middle of the forest, someone from the tour company came running from behind telling us to “stop the train!” The train was halted and we were told to wait until instructed to go on. We could see smoke. Then we could see the spotter plane. Then a Department of Natural Resources officer came to us on a four-wheeler. This was when I realized we might be there awhile. He asked if there were any diabetics on the train. There was a person who was diabetic whom he talked with. The officer then went to the other train. Someone from the company said food and water were coming. Now I was really wondering how long we were going to be there. The company brought us bottled water and candy bars –my friend and I split one. The DNR officer then asked if anyone needed medicine soon. He didn’t know that we would be there that long he was just planning ahead. People shared resources like pain reliever and bug spray.
There were people of all ages on the train –from young children to a man in our car who had recently had a heart procedure. While we were waiting, we got to know each other, even if we didn’t share names. We talked about where we lived and tried to pass the time having no idea how long we were going to be in the woods.
As you might imagine things got interesting. Some people wanted to walk out of the woods. They were told if they did, they would be arrested when they walked off the tracks. At least one person walked several feet and reported there was no fire. People wanted a refund for the inconvenience. Some people were getting ‘edgy’and some said things like ‘this is just the way our vacation is going this year’.
My friend pointed out how these kinds of situations show people’s character. I realized she was right. Adversity, whether it is being stuck in the woods, the death of a loved one, an accident, injury, illness or something unsettling in our community, family, church or otherwise in life does show our character. I realized that I don’t always respond the way I really want to respond. When things aren’t going the way I want them to how do I respond? Does it show God’s love? Does my reaction show I care about other people or does it show I care about only myself? James 1, verse 12 reads,“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” When I am under trial do, I act so as to be one who is ‘Inviting people, living the love of Christ’ as our congregations mission statement says? I admit I don’t always. I am grateful for the love and forgiveness of God when I don’t act in a Christ-like way. I hope you will think about how your respond when things aren’t going the way you want them to go: are you showing the love of Christ?
Eventually we were given the permission to continue the trip. In just a few minutes the train was passing through smoke. I had expected to see the fire in the distance but no, the fire was on both sides of the tracks, right next to the tracks where we saw burned trees on both sides. No one was talking about wishing they had walked or wanting a refund any more. We were cheering for and thanking the DNR people who were made it safe for us to travel through the area. We saw the plane that was dropping water from a plane, and where we got off the train the DNR officers’ cars were there, along with State Police troopers and a medical helicopter above us. The DNR responded quickly, efficiently and professionally as did the boat/train company. I thank them and would definitely go on this trip again – hoping for no forest fire. 😊
How do you respond to adversity? I pray we all show Christ’s love.
See you Sunday in worship –I hope you invite someone!
~ Pastor Jackie
P.S. My friend wrote a positive review on "tripadvisor". The next day the company replied it was a 14-acre fire and the DNR was still putting out hot spots.
I cannot thank you, the members and friends of Marble Memorial United Methodist Church for all the prayers, love and support this month. As many of you know my mom died, unexpectedly, July 3rd. While my family and I miss her on this earth we are glad she is eternally with God. She had a strong faith in God for which I am grateful. The prayers, cards, e-mails, texts, hugs and other ways you supported me is very appreciated. The beautiful flower arrangement from the congregation was beautiful and also appreciated. There were so many other ways you showed your love and support: donations in her memory, allowing our Administrative Assistant, Lisa ,to take time away from the office and go in my place on the mission trip, Lisa doing a week’s worth of work in two days and then going on the trip, those who came all the way to Kalkaska for the service, and brought me my prescription eye drops, being okay with my tears in worship and at other times as I grieve and the time away after her death to name a few. Death from this earth is something we know will happen. Yet, when it happens to someone we love, especially a mom, it hurts our hearts and changes our lives no matter what we believe.
Many of you also know my dad fell two weeks after my mom died. He was pull starting his leaf blower, which he has done many, many times. This time he fell forward breaking a vertebra in his neck. He will be in a neck brace for 10-12 weeks. While that will not be fun it could have been so much worse! Once again, I was away so I could be with him while he was in the hospital in Traverse City. Because he is in a neck brace, he will be with my sister most of this time but he will also be at his home in Kalkaska with my brother for a few days and with me here in Milan.
Your prayers for healing for my dad and for all of my family as we adjust to one permanent ‘new normal’ without my mom and one temporary ‘new normal’ while my dad is in a neck brace are appreciated.
Also, thank you for the prayers for my healing when I had laser eye surgery due to glaucoma between the above two events. The surgery seemed to have helped and I don’t see the eye doctor again for four months! God’s healing powers are amazing.
We were to begin a new worship series on July 21st. That series, “The Art of Neighboring”, will now begin August 4th. Who is your neighbor? Do you know your neighbor? Why is it important to know your neighbor?
See you Sunday –and invite someone!
- Pastor Jackie Roe
History will be made Thursday, May 30 –Sunday, June 2 when the Michigan Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church meets for the first time! For the last two years the now former Detroit and West Michigan Annual Conferences of the United Methodist Church have meet together: same time and place. We did, however, have separate votes on things like nominating leadership, clergy relationships, resolutions that affected only one conference and budgets. This year, after years of much prayer and hard work we are one! This means, amongst other things, we can speak as the United Methodist Church in Michigan.
We will be meeting at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme, near Traverse City. This is one of the very few venues in the state which can hold the 1,400 or so members plus guests. Voting members from Marble Memorial UMC include Rod Hill and Brenda Kempher as your lay members and myself as clergy member.Julie Zawacki will be attending as a guest. She does not have a vote at conference, and is going ather own expense, but can share her observations and thoughts following conference.
This is the first year, at least in several years, where MMUMC has had two lay people as voting members.We have two voting members per the ‘lay equalization formula’ of the new annual conference. This formula is in place to ensure there is an equal number of clergy and lay people at the conference and voting on issues. All clergy who are members of the annual conference must have a lay person to equalize the count. This includes not only District Superintendents, conference staff, persons in extension ministry (such as hospital chaplains) but all retirees –even if they are physically unable to attend. Thus, Marble Memorial UMC has more than one lay member, at least this year. Sometimes people serving in various capacities in the conference will attend as part of this formula. Vicki Englebert attended this way when she was District United Methodist Women president.
During the conference we will be remembering clergy and their family who have passed from this earth during this past year, celebrating clergy milestones including retirees, and those beginning their time as clergy, adopting a conference budget for 2020 and voting on legislation.
The theme of this year’s conference is “Bold and Effective Leaders”. We will be pondering what it takes to be a bold and effective leader, what do we notice when we experience bold and effective leadership, and when you’re trying to be a bold and effective leader, what do you try to “stir up” from within? During our gathering we will look at the wisdom...and heart... and courage it takes to be the leaders God calls us to be as we strive to make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
For more information on the conference, including what legislation we will be dealing with, go to https://2019.michiganumc.org/. Please keep all involved with the conference in prayer as we gather –and travel to and from Acme.
See you Sunday and Invite Someone!
- Pastor Jackie Roe
May marks one year since we adopted our Vital Church Initiative Ministry Plan. Much has happened in this year including Pastor Bob Miller being appointed to Plymouth First UMC and my appointment here at Marble Memorial UMC. A change in pastors is always a major marker for a church and brings change of its own. Our ministry plan has resulted in even more change.
The changes as a result of our ministry plan have been made with the purpose of fulfilling our mission of ‘Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World’. In order to ‘make disciples’ we have to make sure guests feel welcome and comfortable when they are with us for worship or whenever they are in our building and on our grounds.
Some of these changes you may not have noticed or come into contact with, such as our web and Facebook pages. A web page is often visited by persons before they attend worship. Ours is now friendlier to use and is up to date. Some of you have shared our Facebook page, which is a great way to share info about the church! Guests are receiving an e-mail in addition to a hand written note on their visit and a $5 gift card to a local business donated by a member of the congregation.
Things I hope you have noticed include the ‘de-cluttering’ and more open hallways, our ‘connection cards’ and ‘Cup of Grace’. On our ‘connection cards’ we are receiving more information from guests and members alike! More of our guests are sharing contact information and members are volunteering to
be servants in various capacities – it is easier when all you have to do is check the box! ‘Cup of Grace’ has made the long hallway, which most of us walk down to get to the sanctuary, much more friendly as sound and people come to and from the room. Those of us who worship here on a regular basis don’t even notice that hallway but when someone attends for the first time, and has to walk down that long hallway, we want them to have a warm, welcoming feeling. Easter day two of our first-time guests were among the very last to
leave the Cup of Grace! That makes me think they felt welcomed. I heard them say they may be back!
These changes, and much more, have been exciting. Yet, we miss some of what we had. You have graciously and even enthusiastically welcomed me as your pastor. Yet, I know you miss Pastor Bob and Rochelle – and that is good. In a similar way, we celebrate what we have done while missing some of what we had. These are not all the changes we have experienced in the last year, and there are more are to come. We continue to make decisions based on our mission of ‘making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world’ while finding ways to keep us all ‘growing in faith’, one of the core values we adopted this year. Thank you for your patience, understanding and efforts as we seek to live out our vision statement and core values:
“Inviting people, living the love of Christ”
And, As Followers of Jesus, We Seek to Make a Difference
in the World through these Core Values:
See you Sunday and Invite Someone!
Since our last newsletter, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church met deciding to keep our denomination’s official stance of not licensing or ordaining persons for ministry who are gay\lesbian and not allowing clergy to perform same sex weddings, nor can they be performed on our property. With this, the ‘punishment’ for doing these things was made more severe. The conference requested all decisions made be reviewed by our Judicial Council to ensure they fit our constitution. This meeting is scheduled for April 23-26.
Many persons are hurt over this decision. You may have seen a letter in the Ann Arbor News, or other publication, addressed to persons who are LGBTQIA +, signed by many United Methodists sharing disappointment with this decision, seeing forgiveness and committing to working within the United Methodist Church. (more information is at www.michiganstatement.org) People on ‘both sides’ on the issue cite the Bible as the reason they believe what they believe. Please know I, as your pastor, will continue to welcome ALL people to the community of Marble Memorial UMC. I encourage you to talk with me if you have questions or concerns around any matter, including this one. I will work to keep you informed of the Judicial Council decision and all official developments in this and all issues from our district\conference\general church.
In the midst of this there is some exciting things happening here at Marble Memorial UMC. As you likely know we value children and youth (as well as people of all ages) and this was identified as a priority in the ministry plan we adopted last May. Thus, we will soon be advertising a part time (10 hour a week) position for ‘”Children and Youth Ministry Coordinator”! The vision is this person will oversee our children\youth Christian Education and connect with groups of this age using our building and other community groups focusing on these age groups. The money to pay for this position will NOT come from the General Fund instead it WILL COME FROM OUR EDUCATION TRUST. This is how this position has been paid for in the past, at least in part. I am extremely grateful to the Craig family who donated this money to the church about three decades ago. I am also thankful to the leadership of this congregation for picking up this vision and for those who have said they will serve more with someone in this position! We plan to evaluate this in at least a year. Please pray for God to send us someone for this important position. If you are interested, know someone who may be or simply want more information contact the church office.
Our fire alarm system is up and being monitored! Trustee’s Ann Gee and Dave Ludwig and I will be on-call along with Milan Fire Department if the alarm goes off. Unfortunately, this project did not include a new video door entry system. I am sorry for the confusion and watch for this to be completed. We will keep the capital fund going as there are sure to be more upcoming building improvement needs.
See you Sunday! Pastor Jackie Roe
As I am writing this, delegates to the 2019 United Methodist Special General Conference are beginning to arrive in St. Louis. The conference is in session from February 23 – 26. Please be in prayer as this group decides how we, as a denomination, will move forward regarding same-gender weddings and ordination of people who are gay \ lesbian. You can see last month’s newsletter for more information.
The most complete information is available at the UMC.org website
under General Conference Special Session in the Topics section.
No matter what happens the work of the United Methodist Church ‘to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world’ remains as does our vision of ‘Inviting People, Living the Love of Christ.’ I will be attending an all Michigan Conference clergy meeting on Saturday, March 9 where Bishop Bard will be sharing with our conference clergy about the results of this conference and what it means for the church.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6. We will have a worship service at 7:00 p.m. as we begin to deepen our understanding of the death and resurrection of Christ. This Lent our worship series is entitled, “The Final Words from the Cross.” Each Sunday we will reflect on one of the seven final statements of Jesus, seeking to understand the meaning of Jesus’ dying words for our lives today.
Watch your next newsletter and future bulletins for information about Holy Week (Maundy Thursday and Good Friday) services.
See you Sunday! - Pastor Jackie Roe
P.S. The scriptures for each Sunday are being provided following requests during our study of “A Disciples Path”. There are still a few more sessions of the study and books