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The Centenary Connextion - May 17

This Sunday is a special day in the rhythm of the Christian year: it is Pentecost! Often referred to as the birthday of the Church, Pentecost commemorates the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the disciples in Jerusalem after the Ascension of Jesus.

This Pentecost Sunday, we are celebrating the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst with the Confirmation of eleven young disciples in a combined worship service at 11:00 AM in the sanctuary. Immediately following the service, everyone is invited to the fellowship hall for a luncheon in honor of our confirmands.

I hope you will join us as we celebrate this joyous day in the life of our church and in the journey of faith of these young disciples.

— Pastor Tyler

General Conference and Centenary

The following is abridged from an earlier Connexion message from Pastor Spivey:

On May 1, the General Conference removed language from The United Methodist Book of Discipline prohibiting United Methodist clergy from performing weddings for same-gender couples. This change allows churches and clergy to operate according to their conscience, without consequence. The vote was overwhelming: 93% for, 7% against.

As always, pastors decide when and for whom they will officiate a marriage. Removing the prohibitive language in The Book of Discipline does not mean all United Methodist pastors will be required to officiate same-gender weddings. Pastors will continue to abide by the wedding policies adopted by the local church to which they are appointed. Pastors who want to officiate same-gender weddings but whose local church policies prohibit such unions may partner with other churches open to sharing their facilities.

In the same vote, the delegates of the General Conference also elected to remove prohibitions that prevented a Board of Ordained Ministry from recommending a gay or lesbian person for ordination.

Traditionalist fears that churches would be forced to allow same-sex weddings and accept LGBTQ pastors did NOT happen. Churches have the freedom to set their own wedding policies, pastors have the authority to decide who they will marry, and the Bishop and Cabinet will appoint pastors only to churches that will accept them.

What will Centenary now do?

First, no action will be taken until after the North Carolina Annual Conference meets in Greenville in June. Our Conference may offer guidelines to help churches address the new situation.

Second, no unilateral decree will come from the Lead Pastor. Next week, he'll consult with church leaders to begin discerning a strategy for moving forward.

Early in the recent disaffiliation crisis, Centenary's leaders decided not to draw a line in the sand and force people to choose which side to stand on. We chose not to hold a contentious vote, trusting that by God's grace, we're stronger than the forces that seek to conquer us. We determined that our witness in the community is too important to damage by entering into an unnecessary and hurtful process of separation from our beloved brothers and sisters in the United Methodist Church. We acknowledged that our continuing call is to love one another as one body of Christ.

Centenary claims God's promise that "No weapon formed against us shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against us in judgment God shall condemn. That is our heritage as servants of the Lord." (Isaiah 54:17)

During the current season of unity and renewed purpose, Centenary has grown in numbers, outreach, and joy for the Lord. Please pray that we'll continue to move forward TOGETHER in that same spirit.

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