A Call to Prayer for General ConferencePosted: November 9, 2015 Filed under: Bishop's Blog, Memphis Conference, Prayers, Tennessee Conference | Tags: 2016 General Conference, bill mcalilly, bishop, Bishop Bill McAlilly, bishop mcalilly, bishops, General Conference, Nashville Area, Prayer, united methodist 1 Comment
I have just returned from Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Lake Junaluska, N.C., where I joined resident bishops of The United Methodist Church in a learning retreat. We heard presentations from L. Gregory Jones, former dean and now senior strategist for leadership education at Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C., and Marty Linsky, who, with Ronald Heifetz, has written extensively on the topic of “adaptive leadership.”
The retreat was meaningful. One of the byproducts of our time together was deepened conversation about what it means to be spiritual leaders before, during and after General Conference, the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church which meets once every four years.
A small group of us met daily for breakfast and prayer around this idea and were offered space on the agenda to have a larger conversation with our colleagues about what that spiritual leadership might look like. I’m hopeful that all United Methodist Church bishops will offer prayerful, spiritual leadership in the days leading up to, during and after 2016 General Conference, May 10-20 in Portland, Oregon.
I am asking of United Methodists in the Nashville Episcopal Area these three things:
- Pray and fast each Friday beginning in Advent and continuing through General Conference.
- Have a Day of Prayer on April 1, the Friday after Easter, to pray for all who will be leading and serving during General Conference. This could take the form of a prayer vigil where the church is open 24 hours and persons agree to spend an hour in prayer.
- Pray for the delegations of the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences by name each day:
Memphis Conference Delegation: Click here.
Tennessee Conference Delegation: Click here.
There are a number of groups offering preparation leading up to General Conference and resources are being produced for local congregations to access. Click here for more information.
The United Methodist Publishing House is producing a small guide for the Church which is a re-release of a little guide Francis Asbury published in 1792. The title is: The Causes, Evils, and Cures of Heart and Church Divisions. It will be available in the spring and promises to be a good resource.
There will be other resources forthcoming. One in particular that you will want to watch for is written by Western Pennsylvania Conference Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton: What Are We Fighting For? Coming Together Around What Matters Most.
Your appointive cabinet has covenanted together to be spiritual leaders by Leading, Learning and Loving. I will be sharing more about this in coming days.
In the meantime, I invite you to join me in stepping deeper into a life of prayer as we lean into the season of preparation for Advent, Epiphany, Lent and Easter. As my colleague, Virginia Conference Bishop Jung Jin Cho, prays, “Your Will, Lord, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.” May this be our deepest prayer in the days to come.
Your Servant for Christ’s Sake,
A Pastoral Letter about health care to the People of The United Methodist Church – Nashville AreaPosted: January 29, 2015 Filed under: Bishop's Blog | Tags: bishop mcalilly, Discipline, health care, healthcare, Insure Tennessee, mcalilly, Memphis Conference, Nashville Area, Tennessee Conference, Tennessee Legislature, united methodist 6 Comments
Grace to you from Jesus Christ, who calls his Church to care for “even the least of these.” One of the ways we participate in that possibility is to create personal, environmental and social conditions in which each individual can receive good health care. In the Gospel of John 10:10b Jesus says, “I came so that they could have life – indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.” It is our deep desire that all persons across Tennessee might have the possibility of living the abundant life.
The Social Principles of our church remind us of this truth in its statement on the Right to Health Care. “Health is a condition of physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being. Stewardship of health is the responsibility of each person to whom health has been entrusted.” [Para. 162(v), 2012 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church]
In caring for our neighbors and allowing more of our fellow citizens to have access to good healthcare, I urge your prayerful support for Insure Tennessee, an initiative that Governor Bill Haslam has recommended to the State Legislature. Its passage will allow 200,000 more Tennesseans to have adequate health coverage. The program will be open to Tennesseans earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level (approximately $16,000 in annual income for an individual or $33,000 for a family of four).
A special called session of the Tennessee Legislature will be convened on February 2nd to consider the Insure Tennessee plan. I encourage you to do the following four things prior to that date.
1) Become fully informed and educated about the benefits of the Insure Tennessee Plan.
A good website to consult is www.insuretennesseenow.com.
2) Personally contact your Tennessee legislators and give voice to your opinions. Letters, emails and phone calls can all be effective. If you need contact information for a senator or representative, it is available at www.capitol.tn.gov/legislators (Find My Legislator section on right side).
3) Share this letter with friends, family members and neighbors as a part of your witness of care for fellow citizens who need better health coverage. Click here for a PDF copy.
4) Pray for our legislators that they might seek God’s will as a part of their own discernment process.
The New Testament teachings of Jesus remind us over and over again of his ministry of healing and wholeness. I encourage you to respond promptly and faithfully to this opportunity to join him in this mission.
I invite you to share this with your congregation this Sunday. Click here for a PDF copy.
Expecting Greater Things,
Bishop William T. McAlilly
Nashville Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church
(Middle and West Tennessee and Western Kentucky)
We are 30% of the way to $1 million goal for ‘Imagine No Malaria’Posted: January 26, 2015 Filed under: Bishop's Blog | Tags: $1 million, Bishop Bill McAlilly, bishop mcalilly, Imagine No Malaria, Memphis Conference, Nashville Area, Tennessee Conference, united methodist 2 Comments
The Jan. 16 issue of the Romans 12 Newsletter produced by the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship includes information about a United Methodist church in Iowa that is working to raise money for Imagine No Malaria and the unique way the church decided how and why to be engaged in mission in a meaningful way.
I want to encourage you to read the newsletter, themed “Running from Malaria,” because it offers helpful information about reframing ministry questions that address global health issues and living as disciples of Christ. A pdf of the newsletter may be viewed and downloaded here.
Because this newsletter talks about Imagine No Malaria, this seems the right time and place to address where we are with our Nashville Area campaign to save 100,000 lives by raising $1 million for Imagine No Malaria by this year’s Memphis and Tennessee Annual Conferences in June 2015.
Through Dec. 31, 2014, our total giving from both conferences is $292,484.36. The total includes $123,068.01 from the Memphis Conference (with approximately 400 churches) and $169,416.35 from the Tennessee Conference (with approximately 600 churches).
I’m going to round up that total number and say we are 30 percent of the way toward our goal!
I am so proud of all our local congregations that are imagining God’s greater things as they raise awareness and save lives. I have heard and read stories about many creative fundraising events, including volleyball tournaments, chili cook-offs, bake sales, Thanksgiving dinners, children’s events, craft sales, Christmas offerings, t-shirt sales, concerts and more.
Unlike many other diseases that await a cure, malaria was eliminated in the U.S. in the 1950s. Even though it is 100 percent preventable, it continues to kill a person every 60 seconds in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Imagine No Malaria is part of a global partnership to beat malaria once and for all. Over the last 15 years there has been a 54% drop in mortality from the disease.
Imagine No Malaria is our opportunity to respond to our calling as Christians and United Methodists—to show our love through generous gifts. As John Wesley said, “It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving.”
United Methodists are committed to a denominational goal of $75 million for Imagine No Malaria and have so far raised just over $64 million. Our Nashville Area goal is $1 million by June 2015.
If your church has not already worked to raise at least $1,000 for Imagine No Malaria and submitted these funds to your conference treasurers, I hope you will make plans to do so in the coming months so we may celebrate reaching our $1 million goal in June at our Memphis and Tennessee Annual Conferences.
To learn more and find resources, visit www.imaginenomalaria.org or contact your district office.
~ Bishop Bill McAlilly, Nashville Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church (Middle and West Tennessee and Western Kentucky)
DMin degree program is one more way Nashville Area of The United Methodist Church is living into its missionPosted: January 9, 2015 Filed under: Bishop's Blog | Tags: bill mcalilly, bishop, bishop mcalilly, christ, clergy, DMin, Doctor of Ministry degree, jesus, John Wesley, Memphis Conference, Nashville Area, Tennessee Conference, Wesleyan, Wesleyan education 3 Comments
As I am well into my third year of serving the Nashville Episcopal Area (Memphis and Tennessee Conferences), one issue always on my mind and heart is making sure we have a well-planted Wesleyan theology throughout all of our congregations and ministries.
I want to help secure a Wesleyan theological foundation for our Christian faith and practice that embraces Scripture, tradition, reason and experience. I think this foundation is especially critical for the success of our new Area-wide mission to discover, equip, connect and send lay and clergy leaders who shape congregations that offer Jesus Christ to a hurting world, one neighborhood at a time.
As one of many ways to address this theological grounding, my office is currently coordinating the offering of a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree program that begins this month.
To initiate this program with about 10 students from each conference, I, along with Dr. Douglas Meeks and Rev. Tom Laney of the Cal Turner Center for Church Leadership at Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, Tenn., identified potential students. My hope and intention, however, is that this will be only the first cohort of an ongoing program. It is also my desire that those who complete the degree will help carry forth the teaching of Wesleyan theology across our Area.
The DMin program is a partnership with Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. and the Turner Center. Cal Turner, Jr., has provided a generous grant to make this program possible.
Students will meet four times over a two-year period for two weeks at a time at four different locations: Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tenn.; Methodist-LeBonheur Healthcare System in Memphis, Tenn.; Wesley Theological Seminary; and Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tenn.
The degree program will focus on issues important today that also were part of the original Wesleyan revival: healing and health care delivery, education, urban and rural poverty, and the penal/political/economic system.
The DMin program will employ an interdisciplinary approach to equip pastoral leaders for the challenges of their mission fields. Each course will include work on scripture, Wesleyan theology, congregational formation for mission, and social, economic and political analysis of mission opportunities in middle and west Tennessee and western Kentucky.
I want to express my appreciation to the Turner Center for the grant funds it is providing to cover the cost of tuition for those who decide to enroll. (Students will pay for books and travel.)
The Turner Center also graciously funded an event last August to introduce and explain the degree program to potential students. Dr. Meeks met with the group and, among many things, talked about how John Wesley served “in the world.”
As Dr. Meeks told the potential DMin candidates, if Christ’s love and forgiveness can’t be conveyed by our United Methodist churches in the midst of current events, we are no different than any other organization.
It is my hope that this DMin program will train and prepare these clergy to convey grace and share the gospel while “in the world” so others may learn and know the love of Christ.
~ Bishop Bill McAlilly, Nashville Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church (Middle and West Tennessee and Western Kentucky)
Council of Bishops issues statement concerning human sexualityPosted: November 8, 2014 Filed under: Bishop's Blog | Tags: bill mcalilly, bishop, bishop mcalilly, council of bishops, General Conference 2016, human sexuality, mcalilly, Memphis Conference, Nashville Area, Prayer, Tennessee Conference, The United Methodist Church, transformation of the world, united methodist 9 Comments
November 8, 2014
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Grace and Peace to you!
Below is a statement that yesterday afternoon the Council of Bishops adopted, unanimously, regarding our ministry with all persons, regardless of sexual orientation:
As bishops of The United Methodist Church, our hearts break because of the divisions that exist within the church. We have been in constant prayer and conversation and affirm our consecration vow “to guard the faith, to seek the unity and to exercise the discipline of the whole church.” We recognize that we are one church in a variety of contexts around the world and that bishops and the church are not of one mind about human sexuality. Despite our differences, we are united in our commitment to be in ministry for and with all people. We are also united in our resolve to lead the church together to fulfill its mandate—to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. As we do so, we call on all United Methodists to pray for us and for one another.
This statement is offered to the United Methodist Church to affirm our vow “to guard the faith, to seek the unity and to exercise the discipline of the whole church.” We are mindful that many across the Church will disagree; some expecting more, others expecting less.
As a global church, we wrestle with language that does no harm-either in the United States or abroad. What we are clear about is that the mission of the church to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world is our deepest call and commitment.
We acknowledge that differences and divisions exist within our denomination and across the Nashville Area. Therefore, we will prayerfully consider ways in which to open space for deeper conversation among one another with regard to our differences around our understanding of human sexuality.
Please continue to offer prayer for each other and for the bishops as we move toward General Conference 2016.
Serving Christ With You,
Bishop William T. McAlilly
*For more information about this statement from the Council of Bishops, click here to read Nov. 7 story from the United Methodist News Service.