I’m writing this note to you on Tuesday, September 25th. Sitting here in my office, looking out on the puddles forming in the church parking lot, and feeling the cold, I’m getting worried that winter is just around the corner!! I’m getting myself a bit nervous thinking about having to winterize my boat, make sure my snow blower will start, and a half dozen other things! …I know --- stop worrying and just do it…

Well, we’ve got some things to do in the church before winter too. Your church leadership has already started to invite new chairpersons and members to the administrative committees for this next year. (Please answer the invitation in the affirmative!!) And, we’ve begun the process of formulating our priorities and therefore our budget for 2019. We need to have this pretty well wrapped up by the end of November. It’s an exciting and yet challenging time of the year!

The theme this year for focusing our thinking and planning is Discipleship, and specifically, the mission statement of The United Methodist Church:

“The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

“So then,” you may ask, “what’s a ‘disciple?’” “Why a disciple of Jesus?” “How do you ‘make’ a ‘disciple?’” And finally, “What about this ‘transformation’ – transform from what to what?” I pray you’ll be in attendance each Sunday from September 30 through October 21 as we dig into each of these questions. They should be the motivation for our commitment to God and the church. We definitely need to be able to answer them … especially for new ears!

Here’s a little teaser to stimulate your answers:
A disciple is a student, a learner. That’s it! That’s all we’re called to make – students! We don’t make believers! We don’t make worshipers! We don’t make missionaries! We don’t make people who think a certain way or believe a certain thing! We make learners … of Jesus! So, you might still ask, “How? How do we make students?! And, if that’s it, how does the transformation of the world comes about??!!”

Great questions, huh?!

Well, think about these and come be part of the conversation over the next few weeks. My hope is that we will get excited about the answers we rediscover, and thereby, our individual and corporate purpose. I’m confident it will positively motivate our commitments for 2019 and renew our excitement and expectations in them.

Now, on another note…
I’ve talked about the upcoming special General Conference session, which is scheduled for February of 2019. The reason for this special session is to vote on a way forward for The United Methodist Church regarding our doctrines and polity about sexuality, especially homosexuality.

Therefore, I call each and every one of you to join me in conversation about this. I will hold a first gathering in the fellowship hall on Wednesday morning, October 10, from 10 to noon or Friday evening, October 12, from 6:30 to 8:30. (These will be the same agenda in order to accommodate those who work and those who can’t come out in the evening.) I hope one of these days and times will work for everyone’s schedule. We will start with a time of worship and prayer. I’ll then have some information to share with you from our Bishop; and I’ll then share my experience and thinking on the subject. We’ll have some time for dialogue, but end this first gathering with questions, objectives, and plans for a follow up gathering(s).

Please prioritize this and be present. There is NO reason in my mind or heart to think that this topic or eventual outcome should split Moultonborough UMC or cause anyone to leave. Please be in prayer for hearts at peace, that we might come together to be in open and honest holy conversation.

May the love of Christ be with you and yours,
Pastor Bob
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