Wesley Journal March 2019: Community
When we were drafting themes for issues of the Journal, I settled on community for the March issue mostly because it would be election season for the Student Council. I wanted to give students the space to voice both affirmations of and frustrations with community on campus, knowing that we're stronger when we can speak truthfully to each other, with genuine concern about our life together. We need that space and the Journal seemed like the ideal place to offer it.
And then, General Conference happened. The Special Called Session of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church met in St. Louis on February 23rd through 26th to discuss the UMC's stance on human sexuality, a topic that has been dividing us for years. While some hoped that this General Conference would provide unity, unity was not what happened. In the wake of General Conference, for United Methodists at least, community has taken on new meaning and new urgency. You'll see some of that in this issue.
There was a beautiful moment at General Conference. You'll see it in the background of some of the pages of this issue and you can watch it here. During the opening day of worship, after hours without any mention of the LGBTQIA+ community, those most impacted by the General Conference's decision, someone requested prayer, and a circle formed on the floor, holding hands and dancing with the rainbow flag while the band sang, "I need you to survive."
Friends, we need one another to survive. My hope is that in this issue, you'll find stories and thoughtful reflection to help guide you as you consider what community, here at Wesley and anywhere else you may go, means to you.
From the Student Council: a message from the Student Council Executive Board about community in the wake of General Conference
So, What Do We Know?: A reflection on General Conference by Marcus Matthews,
Bishop-in-Residence for Wesley and Executive Secretary for the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist ChurchJustice Corner: A Conflagration of Community by Lenora Whitecotton
The Gift of Community by Duchanna Brown Intentional Community by Ellie Crain A Commuter's Perspective by Teer Hardy Community/Comunidad by Alfredo Santiago Mental Health in Community by Laurel Capesius and Jesse St. Clair Community in Exile by Nate Choung You can read the entire Journal in PDF form by clicking here. We'd also like to recommend that if you haven't already read it that you spend some time with the New York Times' piece "We Are Not Going Anywhere: Progressive Methodists Vow to Fight Ban on Gay Clergy" which features Wesley's own Chet Jechura, who has written for the Journal in the past. As we move forward, throughout this school year and throughout whatever lies ahead for the United Methodist Church and Christianity in the United States and the world, remember Paul's words of encouragement in Philippians 1:6: "I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ." Let's go do the work ahead of us, surrounded and cared for by the community we build.
Editor, Wesley Journal
March 21st, 2019