Alyce McKenzie traveled to Amarillo on March 1-2 for a Preaching Workshop hosted by 4Amarillo – a collaboration between First Presbyterian Church, Polk Street United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church and Central Church of Christ. The free event was open to all preachers, church leaders, church members and anyone eager to renew their faith.
On Sunday morning, she also preached at Polk Street UMC. Also leading the workshop were Ron Scates from First Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, Alyce McKenzie, Chris Seidman from The Branch church in Dallas and Joel Gregory from Baylor’s Truett Seminary in Waco. The theme was “Easter’s Coming. So What?”
McKenzie was also quoted in a recent Relevant magazine story, “Why Matthew 25 Became the Rallying Cry for Christians on the Left.” The story explored how Democrats have rallied to Matthew 25 as a way to prove that their legislative agenda has scriptural backing too. Read the story here.
A Collect for the UMC by Mark Stamm has now been released on the UMC Discipleship Ministries website. Titled Prayer for a Denomination in Trouble, it includes a petition: “Guide the people called United Methodist through our current distress to a place of peace and rekindled vision.” Read the entire Collect and his process paper here. Stamm has also been busy with a number of preaching gigs this semester: in a service for spring term orientation on January 14; at Perkins Community Worship on February 13; at Arapaho UMC in Richardson on February 2; and at Cornerstone UMC in Garland on February 9. On March 29, he had a chance to renew his online preaching skills, preaching in a virtual service at Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church in Sachse.
Abraham Smith, Professor of New Testament, gave a Black History Month speech on February 27 at the U.S. Navy Supply System Command in Mechanicsburg, Penn. Titled “Staying Awake; Hearing the Challenges of Ethical Leadership in the Writings of Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Howard W. Thurman,” the talk looked at historic forerunners of the recent hashtag theme #StayWoke. Wells-Barnett and Thurman, he argued, used the diction of staying awake or keeping awake in their writings as calls for ethical leadership, that is, as calls for a commitment to a revolution of values.
“Wells-Barnett and Thurman offer us clear and compelling counsel for changing the narrative or the myths about persons who are often counted as nobodies,” said Smith. “These two African Americans teach us to be conscious of the operations of power; to commit ourselves to honest self-assessment and recalibrations of our social values; and to cultivate affirming and confirming communities of inclusion and equity.”
With the postponement of General Conference, what’s next for the United Methodist Church? The Rev. William B. Lawrence, Professor Emeritus of American Church History and former Perkins dean, weighed in with his concerns in an essay published on UM News. While multiple proposals for a possible separation of the denomination will be delayed, he writes, other matters cannot wait. For example, the delay in General Conference raises questions about the authority of agencies to spend or receive funds after Dec. 31, 2020. Read his commentary here.
As part of an ongoing feature called Living Our Faith, The Dallas Morning News posed a question, “What will it take for congregations to become more diverse?” Robert Hunt, director of Global Theological Education at Perkins, was one of the writers cited. Read his response here.