Clemson Carolina Challenge

The Wesley Foundations at Clemson and USC will be competing in our annual Clemson Carolina Challenge until November 29th. Although the two football teams will not be playing on the field, the spirit of the rivalry continues between our two ministries as we wait to see which campus ministry wins the highest donations and is declared the “winner.” Obviously there is no real loser as all the money goes to two great ministries!

We have a simple website that we would love to be potentially promoted on the SC website, UMCSC social media and in the Advocate. We are encouraging all our traffic to be directed to http://www.clemsoncarolinachallenge.weebly.com to learn more and to donate.

You can also donate through Venmo to @ClemsonWesley. Simply write in the note which school and campus ministry you are supporting.

This is only a week-long challenge and will primarily be promoted on our social media platforms due to COVID-19 impacting local church involvement.

Please let me know if I can provide any more information and thank you for the support!

Best,

Mackin Wall, Campus Ministry Associate

Methodist Student Network at USC

 

Will our denomination split?

With the pandemic postponing May 2020 General Conference, many Methodists are wondering, “Will our denomination split? Will the pandemic inhibit the November 2021 General Conference from happening?  What is going on with the potential Separation Protocol that was to be reviewed by General Conference?”   

I don’t have all the answers to these questions, but I do encourage you to stay informed by signing up for United Methodist News, an email that comes each day with important updates on regional and global issues of our church.   

The link below will take you to a recent article about the Judicial Council and it’s review of the Separation Protocol. 

https://www.umnews.org/en/news/protocol-legislation-tops-agenda-of-top-court?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTVdVeE1EUXlPRFF6WldVNCIsInQiOiJWekFQVzA5MlRCTjFGYzBQYVNsMGxXZmRFbDk4NWFPZEtwZ0t4aERnVDNGS0F3YXE0OUpWcW9LR1BtcStFMVFZbjVqM1pZdHN3bk5WVVBIUVQ2cE1oT2JGdXFOdE54T0NBXC9oNENrZFh2RnFEV2tsXC9KWGtcL0FJeHlrOE5kdTU1KyJ9

Lessons from a Yogi-Preacher: Strength, Flexibility, Balance and Stillness

I’ve been practicing yoga since 2007, when the demands of a growing church were stressful.  We were in a building planning process at Trinity UMC, Blythewood, and good minds were involved.   But it was arduous.  I needed something to help me not only in the pulpit, but also in the saddle, where my body wasn’t listening to my brain.

I did my first class, and the next morning woke up feeling like a million bucks.  I was hooked.  Eventually I learned that practicing yoga didn’t just transform my muscles, but it transformed my mind and spirit.

Yoga teaches strength.  When you are in a one-legged, downward dog, with one leg high to the sky, you find strength.   If you don’t, you fall on your face, literally and figuratively.   These days, we all need more strength.   Living in a divided country, with a pandemic, is sapping our strength, but God can strengthen us.  “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”   Psalm 46

Yoga teaches flexibility.   This one is hard for me.  I like structure, plans, and routines.  After all, I’m a Methodist, and we follow “The Book of Discipline.”   Yet, when I’m in forward fold and lay my head all the way on the mat, there is a letting go, a release.  In the documentary about famous horse trainer Buck Brannaman, there is a line, “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.”   One of my yoga teachers says, “What doesn’t bend, breaks.”  These days, we all need more flexibility, more letting go and letting God.

Yoga teaches balance.  Standing on one leg, arms stretched to the sky, I was doing tree pose in an outdoor class at Lake Junaluska, and a bird pooped on my arm!  I must have truly looked like a tree.  Life can easily knock us off-balance.  The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word “yoga” is yoke or unite.  Yoga fosters unity and balance in mind, body, spirit, and promotes unity with God and others.   These days, we all need more balance and unity.  “…..lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  Ephesians 4:3

Yoga teaches stillness.   I rarely sit still.  Even at work, I have a stand-up desk with a yoga mat underneath.  I swim, ride horses, and do yoga – about 6 days a week.  At the end of yoga class is Shavasana, corpse pose.  You lay completely still, arms and legs outstretched.   The lights are dim and the room is silent.  You melt into the mat and breathe.   Finding stillness and silence on the mat helps me find stillness and silence in the noisy world.  These days, we all need more stillness and silence.  Turn off the news.  Silence your phone.   “Be still, and know that I am God!”   Psalm 46:10

Namaste, the light in me honors the light in you,

Cathy

Lay Servant Virtual Training November 7-8

Columbia District Lay Servant Virtual Training Event on Zoom.    Time to join in learning and fellowship with fellow lay servants.  If you are a returning lay servant or a new lay servant, this is for you.  If you registered for March classes that were cancelled, contact Chuck Sovick (chuck_sovick@yahoo.com) to register for November (don’t use this registration link because it will ask you to pay, and you already paid in March).  After you register, you will receive an email with a Zoom link for the training.

REGISTRATION LINK https://fs22.formsite.com/umcsc/codistlayservantfall2020/index.html

Registration deadline is November 4.

SCHEDULE

November 7:

9:00 AM: Opening Prayer and Introduction of Executive Board

9:15 AM: Break out in Classes:

  1. Polity
  2. Spiritual Gifts
  3. Basic Lay Servant 101

November 8:

1:30 PM: Opening Prayer

1:35 PM: Breakout Classes

4:00 PM: Return to Main Room

4:00-4:30 PM: Recognition Ceremony & Closing Prayer

Course Books

Course – Lay Servant Ministries (The Basic Course)

Participant: Lay Servant Ministries, Participant’s Book (Basic Course) –  by Sandy Zeigler Jackson and Brian Jackson Participant’s Book – Paperback – March 13, 2013

ISBN-10: 0881776262
ISBN-13: 978-0881776263

Course – Spiritual Gifts

Participant:  Each One a Minister: Using God’s Gifts for Ministry by William J. Carter – Paperback – October 1, 2003

ISBN-10: 0881773751
ISBN-13: 978-0881773750

Course – United Methodist Polity

Participant:  The Method of Our Mission: United Methodist Polity & Organization by Laceye C. Warner – Paperback – July 15, 2014

ISBN-10: 142676717X
ISBN-13: 978-1426767173

Leading and Living in Anxious Times

There can be no doubt. We are living and leading in anxious times: a pandemic, racial injustice, political divisiveness, economic crisis, violence and unrest, church shut-down/restart, and the uncertainty of the future of our denomination. While we may think of this time as extraordinary, it’s certainly not the first time in history when the world was in turmoil. As people of faith, we may turn to the scriptures and find stories of anxious times: the Hebrews enslaved in Egypt, Esther trying to stop her husband/king from annihilating the Jews, Naomi grieving the death of her husband and two sons, David facing Goliath, the Israelites in exile, the Jews living under Roman oppression, and Paul persecuted and imprisoned. In all these stories, we see that God was still at work, God was present, and God was victorious in bringing healing and redemption. The cross reminds us that violence, death and suffering are not the final word. Jesus Christ is the final word, the Word become flesh, who made his dwelling among ordinary people who faced extraordinary anxious times. In the cross and resurrection we find hope of a new beginning, new life. We are in the “in between” time – like Jesus, trapped in the dark tomb for 3 days. We long for the bright light of Easter morning, and the joy of resurrection. While we await a more peaceful time, we need to be patient, pray without ceasing. trust in God, live one day at a time, share our burdens with one another, look for signs of grace, and breathe deeply.

The Upper Room has created resources for anxious times, and you may find devotionals here:

https://www.upperroom.org/resources/alive-now-and-weavings-issues-for-anxious-times?utm_source=The+Upper+Room+Ministry+Engagement&utm_campaign=83bfd9fe12-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_01_15_05_38&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0542d9a4cf-83bfd9fe12-204312017

A Cure for the Dis-ease

“The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’”  Acts 17:24-28

I came across this passage today while doing a devotional in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young.   I’m sure you have read or heard of her book.   She writes as if Jesus were talking directly to her, and to all of us.

I was reminded of how relevant this passage is to our current reality.   First of all, Paul reminds his diverse audience that God is indeed Lord of “heaven and earth, and does not live in shrines made by human hands.”   In the midst of the pandemic, we have been pushed out of the sanctuary, a shrine made by human hands.  Paul was combatting idol worship, which is still around today when we value facilities over faith, and end up accumulating debt, rather than disciples.    The Coronavirus has pushed us  beyond the four walls, beyond stained glass and pretty oak pews, beyond altars and brass candles, or whatever other shrines or rituals we have made to honor God.   We have been forced to worship outside, in parking lots, under picnic shelters, or on the internet.   God doesn’t live in a sanctuary, but in the world and in us, as we are the temple for God’s indwelling spirit.   “….indeed He is not far from each one of us.  For ‘In him we live and move and have our being.”    When the vaccine arrives, and we feel safer to return more regularly to our facilities, will we look for God’s presence only in the “shrine” or will we experience God in all life, in all mortal beings, in all things?  Where does the line exist between what is sacred and what is secular, if He is Lord of heaven and earth?  Secondly, Paul was attempting to persuade others about the meaning of scriptures, as he argued in the synagogue with Jews, other devout persons “and also in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.” (Acts 17:17)   In this strange exile, we have been removed from the building and put in the foreign land of technology.  We have the opportunity to creatively persuade others about our faith.   The internet has opened wide the doors of the church to “those who happened to be there.”   I’m hearing stories from pastors who tell me they have more “likes” or “hits” from persons visiting their worship on Facebook than they ever had visitors in the pews.   The word “prayer” has been googled thousands more times during this pandemic, than ever before.   Many persons are searching for comfort, hope, meaning, and God has opened a way, “that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him.”   When the vaccine arrives, and we return to a somewhat “normal” routine, how will we continue to reach those who are searching for God, but are not likely to come through our sanctuary doors?   What can we offer in the “marketplace” where people are shopping for comfort and security in the midst of great suffering during the pandemic?  A vaccine may inoculate us from COVID-19, but it will not cure the dis-ease that comes from the spiritual and emotional brokenness of life in this imperfect world.   The only cure for that dis-ease is the healing power of Jesus,  4Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.  Isaiah 53:4-5

 

A Pastoral Letter to Pastors and Churches

All will be well and all will be well and every kind of thing shall be well.”   Julian of Norwich(1343-1416)

Grace and Peace to the pastors and churches of the Columbia District:

First and foremost, I wish to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the creative  ministry you have been doing “outside the walls of the church”.   I have watched your worship on TV, FB, and Youtube, and have been inspired by your spiritual leadership.  Pastors and church leaders are charting new territory.  The church is in exile, and we have been placed in the foreign land of technology.  Ministry is relational, and it is difficult for the Body of Christ to not gather face-to-face.   I know you are eager and anxious about the next phase of ministry:  Return to Church.   The Bishop,  Cabinet and Conference staff have been working this week on decisions and guidelines.   As you receive these documents, no doubt concerns and questions will arise.  Please know that each church has a different context.   If pastors and church leaders discern that it would be highly risky for your particular population to gather (or too risky to share in communion), then it is certainly fine for you to delay re-opening, beyond the date given by Bishop Holston.   While the Conference will provide guidelines, you may also be overwhelmed by resources that are flooding your in-box and the internet.   To discuss “best practices” for your particular context, it would be wise to consult with leaders of similar church sizes.  I will set up Zoom meetings to discuss Return to Church (2 are set for next week: Monday – all pastors at 3:00pm, and Thursday, 12:00noon for moving pastors and SPRC Chairs).    In the midst of all these challenges, take time to care for yourself.  Don’t hesitate to call on me for guidance.   Stay grounded in God.  Pray without ceasing.  And remember our Wesley Rules:  “Do no harm.   Do good.  And stay in love with God.”

“Let nothing disturb you,

Let nothing frighten you,

All things are passing:

God never changes.

Patience obtains all things.

Whoever has God lacks nothing;

God alone suffices.   St. Theresa of Avila (1515-1582)

With thanksgiving to God for your leadership,

Cathy

Rev. Dr. Cathy Jamieson, Columbia District Superintendent and Secretary to the Cabinet