A podcast featuring news, opportunities and witness of the ministries of the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. Listen for stories and updates of what's happening in the Louisiana Conference.
In this episode of the Louisiana NOW podcast, we catch up with Rev. Ali Young and Rev. Van Stinson, both with the Louisiana Conference Office of Clergy Excellence. What does it mean to have an office focused on ‘clergy excellence’. We unpack that and much more as we discuss what it means to pastor in today’s divisive and ever-changing environment. Young and Stinson focus on how the Conference invites those in discernment into the process, how to equip young clergy and new clergy for fruitfulness, and how to offer opportunities for development both personally and professionally to sustain clergy throughout their careers.
Jesus Revealed: A Conversation with Rev. Matt Rawle
In this episode of Louisiana NOW, we are joined by Rev. Matt Rawle. The Louisiana pastor has written yet another book: Jesus Revealed, The I Am Statements in the Gospel of John. In his latest book, Rawle explores the seven “I am” statements as works of art that resonate throughout John and all of Scripture. He shows how these words point beyond themselves to the deep mystery of Jesus Christ. For more on Matt’s latest book, head here or here.
"Our Church is Not Dead”, A Conversation with Dez Dunn
On the final day of Annual Conference, the Louisiana Conference delegates overwhelmingly approved a resolution to urge the Louisiana Legislature to create a second majority-black Congressional district. But, the vote was not unanimous, and the scattered handful of “no” votes inspired Dez Dunn to address the conference. In this episode of Louisiana NOW, we catch up with Dez. We will re-visit his speech, learn more about his reasoning for speaking, more about the support shown for Dez and even more about his battle against cancer.
If you would like to see the Anti-Racism Taskforce report and Dez’s speech, head here.
Called to Reconciliation: A Conversation with Rev. Dr. Jonathan C. Augustine
In this episode of the Louisiana NOW podcast, we visit with Rev. Dr. Jonathan C. Augustine. Jay Augustine will be one of several guest speakers at the 2022 Annual Conference in Baton Rouge, June 14-17. He is a nationally acclaimed social justice advocate and serves as senior pastor of St. Joseph African Methodist Episcopal Church in Durham, North Carolina, a law professor at North Carolina Central University, and strategist with the Duke University Center for Reconciliation. He is also a former civil rights litigator and the author of Called to Reconciliation: How the Church Can Model Justice, Diversity, and Inclusion, which will ground his talk and our work at annual conference. You can find Called to Reconciliation here. For more on Annual Conference, please head here.
A Conversation with Bishop Tracy Smith Malone
Bishop Tracy Smith Malone will be a special guest at the 2022 Annual Conference. Bishop Malone will preach our opening worship and will also address the laity at the Laity Session. Our conversation focuses on her address to the Louisiana Conference and much more.
Bishop Malone was assigned to the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church effective September 1, 2016. As resident bishop, she provides spiritual oversight; shares in equipping, teaching and encouraging mission, outreach, witness and service; and serves as a shepherd of the church in providing a prophetic witness of justice, mercy and unity. Malone serves on the Boards of Trustees at the United Methodist-affiliated colleges, seminaries and organizations in East Ohio. She also is currently the president of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, the secretary of the Council of Bishops, and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Africa University. Malone was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and was raised in Chicago, Illinois. She is the daughter of the late Rev. Willie and the late April Smith. She grew up in The United Methodist Church and accepted her call to ministry at the early age of 13.
For more on the 2022 Annual Conference, please head here: www.la-umc.org/ac22
Focusing on the Road Ahead
In this episode of the Louisiana NOW podcast, we feature speeches from Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey and Bishop Thomas Bickerton. Both bishops recently addressed the Council of Bishops and the church during the most recent Council of Bishops meeting. The bishops of The United Methodist Church completed their Spring meeting in a spirit of collegiality and love for one another and the worldwide denomination.
In a moving time of worship, the bishops celebrated the leadership of the Council with the passing of the gavel as New York Area Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton assumed the mantle as the new president of the Council of Bishops (COB) of the UMC.
In his address, Bishop Bickerton called on the United Methodists to commit to “spending most of our time positioning our church for the next chapter of our life together: talking about the movement of the spirit in our midst, the exciting days that lie ahead, and the joy we will have being able to live out our calling to preach the Good News of God’s love rather than the bad news of what’s happening to us in the current moment.”
“This is our church – let us claim it, guard it, preserve it, and use it to bless generations for years to come just as we were blessed by those who came before us.”
Using Romans 12, Bishop Harvey called on her colleagues and fellow United Methodists to remember that together, “we are the body of Christ, and when we actively start lopping off parts of the body, we cease to be who God has called us to be.”
Noting that trying to “figure out how to make sense” of separation and the time spent has been “egregious.” Bishop Harvey said that the Book of Discipline is often silent or vague when it comes to addressing separation.
That’s because, she said, “the Book of Discipline is designed to give us direction for how to be United Methodist, not how NOT to be United Methodist.”
Watching online videos from church leaders that start with the premise of understanding the process of disaffiliation saddens her, she said, “in the very pit of my stomach.”
“We ought never pander nor foster division,” she said. “We do not need an enemy to lead! We lead out of and because of the love and grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!”
Bishop Harvey said that she is a “big tent church person” who believes every voice is important to the whole. But, she added, the church needs to be very clear about who it is and who it is called to be.
For more on these meetings, please head to the Council of Bishops web site: https://www.unitedmethodistbishops.org/
Well produced with great, informative content. Keep up the great work!