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The Grand Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn combines to create the appearance of a giant, brilliant star. Many theorize its what guided the Wise Men to the baby Jesus. The phenomenon happens just once every 800 years. In this time of darkness and turmoil, we could use this light. It will occur on Dec. 21 as the winter solstice occurs, the longest night of the year.
The notion that celebration is how we best honor the beautiful heritage of the Latinx diaspora misses the much larger call placed on us as Christians that supersedes a simple homage for 30 days.
What if our learning, in an election year, is that we are called to integrate our spiritual and civic lives, to love God, to love our neighbor and to render to Caesar as disciples of Jesus?
Methodist Christians have a long history of connecting faith and social action. At our best, Methodist Christians are known for their “practical divinity” in that you see them singing, praying, ...
The fight for racial justice, equality, and equity continues decades later, against the backdrop of de facto segregation that still exists today.
African-American mothers are 243% more likely to die as a result of pregnancy than white women.
Floridians face an urgent need to act against climate change to preserve God’s creation for future generations.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month. One of the best ways we can support our pastors and show them our appreciation is to regularly pray for them. But it can be difficult to know exactly what we should pray for. To help get started, the denomination assembled fifteen areas of pastors’ lives and ministries where they would value your prayers.
What is God’s dream for us? How can we become the answer to the words we say in worship, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done”? (Matthew 6). In Wesley’s words, we are being called “to reform the nation, particularly the church, and to spread scriptural holiness over the land.” -A letter from Bishop Ken Carter
Who was the stranger who joined us when we sat down to break bread together at the Haywood Smokehouse?
"The problem is not with a politician quoting scripture. Promoting biblical literacy in the public square can be a good thing. The biggest problem is not even with misinterpreting scripture. We are all susceptible to it. The problem is in its misuse, to promote an agenda that is not only antithetical to the Gospel, but is destructive to the highest and best human institution that God created: the family."
The Council of Bishops recommends the One Church Plan as our best way forward. This vote was by a significant majority. The One Church Plan allows for contextualization of language about human sexuality in support of our mission with all people.
Luke tells the story of the birth of Christ.
Bishop Carter shares a Christmas message that includes a prayer from the traditional service of lessons and carols and thanks for those who have made gifts to the Hurricane Irma fund and UMCOR.
A conversation with the author of "The Message," Eugene Peterson, about really following God.
What great things God could accomplish if we rediscovered an orthodoxy in service of the healing (and not dividing) of our bodies, that is, our churches?
“The Old Testament has often had a more insecure place with the Christian tradition,” said Stephen Chapman, professor of Old Testament at Duke Divinity School. “Even when the Old Testament is known, what’s known is a simplified version.”
The hope of Easter sunrise is found at the tomb amid the darkness and disbelief. The shocking turn of events leads the disciples out of their grief and despair, and Paul claims this reality not only as apostolic testimony but also as existential promise: "When Christ who is our life is revealed, then you also will appear with him in glory."
The last words Jesus speaks in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 33:34 are known as "the cry of dereliction," defined as "the state of being abandoned or deserted." There's no getting around it. Jesus spoke the way we feel but are often afraid to express when he shouted at a silent sky, "My God, why?"
Melissa Cooper, program coordinator of the Life Enrichment Center, offers the second in a two-part essay series on the state of intergenerational ministries. She takes a critical look at the challenges of leading together in the 21st century.
For Miranda Harrison-Quillin, staying at Lambeth Palace has been a life experience. In her third post about living in a monastic community in London, Miranda examines the legacies of John and Charles Wesley and the rules that guide her as a member of St. Anselm.
Rev. Scott George, senior pastor of Pine Castle UMC in Orlando and the development director of Orlando Hope calls for healing and wholeness for all.
Being “called to the side of another” is a difficult venture, but one that is a mandate from God, writes a managing director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.
Bishop Ken Carter shares fifteen books he read in 2016. One of the ways God blesses us is with the ideas, narratives and worlds created by a fascinating diversity of women and men.
It's time to pack up the Christmas ornaments of 2016, but not the spiritual reflections that come with the season. Originally published in December 2012.
Yuletide Chat with Bishop Ken Carter continues with some of the bishop's favorite themes for the Advent season. Originally published in December 2012.
Bishop Ken Carter shares a Christmas reflection with John 1:14 as the scriptural reference.
The third installment in Bishop Ken Carter's Advent series focuses on interpretations of the vision by the prophet Isaiah. Originally published on December 16, 2012.
Specially invited to work and pray in a London monastic community for 10 months, Miranda Harrison-Quillin talks of the challenges of following the liturgical rhythms of the church year in a society, where Christmas trees and sugar plum cookies make an early arrival.
Bishop Carter's Yuletide Chat, a series of messages for Advent season, continues. Originally published on December 9, 2016.
Rev. Dr. Rini Hernandez, district superintendent of the Southwest District, reflects on the life lessons he learned living in Cuba during the era of Fidel Castro.
Bishop Ken Carter celebrates the Christmas season with tips for pastors and worshipers and some of his favorite sermon ideas from Christmases past. Originally published on December 2, 2012.
Serving as chaplain at a memory care facility, a retired UMC bishop learns that the longing for home is an innate hunger, buried deeper than our memories or imaginings. And it lies at the heart of Advent.
Less talk and more joy. Less explanation and more playfulness. Less selling and promoting and more embodying and expressing the sheer wonder and joy of our faith. This is what ministry is meant to be like, grounded in the laughter of God, a seminary professor says in this ordination sermon.
The first in a series of blog posts by Miranda Harrison-Quillin, invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to join a monastic community in London for 10 months. She will share her insights, experiences and reflections about her new life.
A pastor charged with teaching a third grade VBS class realized she was learning not only from the children but with them, by openheartedly engaging in the activities meant for kids.
A funny thing happens when people start simply being kind and welcoming to one another. They get to know each other. They gradually come to understand that the one who is different from them also loves Jesus and is doing the best that they can with what they have.
Many congregations dream of being places of radical welcome, but that vision is not sustainable through tithing alone. It’s time to think differently about how to accomplish such work, writes the executive director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.
“Evangelical” is the good news that points to Jesus and his coming kingdom which forgives our sin, overcomes our injustices and heals our divisions.
It's one of the Bible's most well-known commandments. So why aren't we following it? Commentary is courtesy Relevant Magazine.
In light of recent violent events, this is a re-posting of the Florida Conference Cabinet's December 12, 2014 "statement of faith and hope in a time of racial injustice."
Spiritual growth and community top the list.
"A faith that has lost the ability to imagine the other’s existence is stale and loses the capacity to stir the spirit of love."
Bishop Carter shares thoughts about the 2016 Annual Conference, including the changing leadership roles for clergy and laity and how the Orlando murders shaped the context of the meeting.
Abiding is difficult in this busy age. But the practices of silent contemplation, shared reflection and anticipation of God’s grace give leaders a way to abide with those they lead, writes a pastor.
Few places in the U.S. support the conditions for small churches to act like big churches. So they have an opportunity to focus on the activities that both foster the particular gifts of the congregation and make a distinctive witness to the community, writes the executive director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.
I love the church. I am not naive about the church, or my own human nature, but I love the church. I loved serving as a pastor in the local church, and now I am blessed in the ministry of being a bishop. My love for the church recognizes her flaws; we hold the treasure of the gospel in earthen vessels, Paul wrote, to show that the transcendent belongs to God and not to us.
How skepticism can actually strengthen our faith.
The image of God at Pentecost is multilingual, multicultural and multi-ethnic, not for a politically correct agenda, but because the gospel demands it. The gospel is polyphonic, the dean of Duke Chapel says in this Pentecost sermon.
This Mother's Day we honor Susanna Wesley. The example of faith and religious reverence she set for her children John and Charles inspired them to become powerful spiritual leaders and to launch the Methodist movement.