Well, it seems as though the President of the Methodist Conference, Revd. David Gamble has caused something of a furore, by his recent address to the Church of England Synod in Westminster.
For those who aren’t aware of what has happened, the media has reported our President as saying that the Methodist Church is prepared to die and be absorbed into the Anglican Church! Upon hearing this I checked out the newspaper reports and also the Presidents blog on the Methodist Church website, http://www.methodist-presandvp.blogspot.com/ (11th February).
I’m aware that some people may have been similarly alarmed about this, and so fears need to be dispelled. I cannot see anywhere that the President was even implying this. The so called `offending` moment came when he concluded that in the spirit of unity the Methodist people would refer back to the covenant prayer that we all share in; in this prayer we declare that God’s will takes precedence over our own; “not my will but yours be done…..” “I am no longer my own…..” are the phrases we use.
I’m trying not to take sides in this debate but I believe that what David Gamble was really stating was that in the case of furthering the Kingdom of God painful decisions will have to be made. I believe that he was saying that institution and structures are not to be placed before Gods mission. Surely that is missional thinking at its best.
It is the same with the Reshaping for Mission exercise that our Methodist circuit is involved with. I hope and believe that the closing of the Ripley circuit to create two further circuits will make our localised mission work stronger. The cost is the loss of the Ripley circuit but the gain is for Christ’s Kingdom.
And as we stand at the onset of Lent, that time when we look towards Calvary and the death of our Lord Jesus, we need to be mindful that resurrection can only come after death. Scripture tells us, “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22. Our Lord Jesus Christ had to go to the cross for our salvation. I don’t begin to understand it but I do give thanks for it! It was through his death and resurrection that salvation has come, the miracle of Easter.
As we go through the storm that Revd David Gamble has created, or the turbulent waters of Reshaping for Mission, or even the death of the Ripley Circuit, we may find that Gods work is resurrected yet again for a new age and for the people of today.