Thursday, May 24, 2012

National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month.  Many of our church families are involved in the foster care system and it provides an important service to children and youth that promotes a healthy nation. In his Presidential Proclamation our nation’s leader, President Obama says “Half a million children and youth are in foster care in America, all entering the system through no fault of their own.  During National Foster Care Month we recognize the promise of children, and youth in foster care as well as former foster youth.  We also celebrate the professionals and foster parents who demonstrate the depth and kindness of the human heart.”

I would encourage anyone who has ever thought about it, to study further the possibility of becoming foster care providers.  The need is greater than ever, especially when it comes to foster care for special needs young people.  If you don’t have foster care in your life you can always be supportive of those who do.  Foster care can be especially stressful at times and moments of respite, appreciation and monetary support can mean the world to these families.

In a Biblical sense we are all in foster care, adopted by God when we were once far from home.  As I Peter 1:10 says “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”   God has received us into his family through grace that was provided by the blood of Jesus on the cross.  That grace calls us to receive others in like manner with hospitality and love.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Thoughts about Guaranteed Appointment

Grace and peace to you from the Lord Jesus Christ.  I am sure that many of you have heard reports from General Conference that a vote was taken that would eliminate what is known as “guaranteed appointment” for elders, provisional elders and associate members.  Along with it there were two added paragraphs that monitor appointment-making.  One requires the bishops to establish a task force to develop a list of criteria to guide the cabinet and the bishop as they make missional appointments.  The other paragraph requires an annual reporting of all elders, provisional elders and associate members who have not received a full-time missional appointment with rationale, statistics and learnings that have been gleaned as appointment-making is carried out in a new way.  Also this information will become a part of the evaluation of the bishop by the Committee on Episcopacy at the conference and jurisdictional levels.  This tells me that careful monitoring and criteria are a part of this plan.

What has changed?  In some ways nothing has changed because effectiveness will always be an expectation for our clergy.  When there was a guaranteed appointment pastors were called to effectiveness and still effectiveness is our goal.  We want to make disciples for Jesus Christ and live our lives solely for the work of God’s kingdom.   God is on the journey with us and the Spirit empowers us for the ministry to which we have been called. 

General Conference is still in session and many issues are still to be decided. I plan to come to every district this fall to have further conversations about the changes that will be a part of the 2012 Book of Discipline.   The church is living into a new era and many of our changes will help us to grow and improve as a denomination.  My prayers are with you.