Why I am United Methodist…
I am very blessed to have been raised in a clergy home. While technically, I am a preacher’s kid, my father worked for the denomination. When I was born, he was on the Conference staff in Virginia and when I was three, he joined the Board of Education in Nashville (the predecessor to the present Board of Discipleship). From an early age I learned that the word “church” had different meanings. It meant the buildings of Ginter Park in Richmond or Calvary in Nashville, it meant the people of the congregation, but it also meant The Methodist Church world-wide.
I grew up under the umbrella of the denomination known as the people called Methodist. We were diverse and quirky; we were struggling and growing; we were serious and celebratory. Congregations had their own identity, but we were held together by our Wesleyan heritage that created the glue of Grace. Churches may have looked differently on the outside and inside, but they “felt” the same. As a youth I experienced service and mission through volunteering to paint the original building for the Bethlehem Center; clearing brush at Camp Dogwood; hosting birthday parties for boys incarcerated at the Spencer Youth Center; leading Saturday morning recreation with TNT (special needs tots and toddlers who grew to be teens and twenties); and trips with the Appalachian Service Project. I experienced the diversity of congregations by partnering with Edgehill and Sixty-First Avenue. I recognized the sweeping breadth of God’s love for people in the people who worked at the Board and in the congregations where I worshiped.
I believe that the breadth of God’s nature is still available to us. God hasn’t narrowed his ability to love us, humanity has tried to direct God’s love to fit into some kind of clearly defined model that makes them feel safe. God is bigger than that. I trust that God will make a way, even when there doesn’t seem to be a way right now. God is faithful.