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Reading & Reflection: Faith and Order

April 12, 2012

Summary of The Faith and Order Petitions to 2012 General Conference

Total Number of Petitions: 26

Paragraphs in the 2008 Book of Discipline that would be likely affected are: 100, 103, 104, 120, 129, 139, and 304 (7 paragraphs)

Subjects: clarification of mission (120), purpose of the church (129), inclusiveness (139), qualification for ordination (304), and Human sexuality (304) and Divorce (304) – 13 petitions amending paragraph 304 and Global BOD and changing the title of BOD

Summary:

The overall purpose of The Faith and Order Legislative Committee is address theological issues and questions that divide the Church and also to find ways to bring healing and wholeness to the body of Christ.   Most petitions lack emphasis and focus on language of unity, language of wholeness, language of healthy diversity and language of healing as they have narrow understanding of Wesleyan Quadrilateral – Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience.

Petitions such as amending 100-G (covenant for world-wide UMC and Global BOD) have no clear ecclesiology articulated either in the amendment or rationale. Church of Jesus Christ cannot be stretched (like a rubber) but to be simply received as a gift (of unity and diversity) and to be proclaimed as a source of help, hope and healing that the world is craving for. It is no longer “unity in diversity” but “diversity in unity.”

The goal of UMC through the F and O is not to build a “super church” nor to standardize faith experiences and expressions, but rather to build a “global church” and to find ways to deepen the fellowship and connection of 37,000 faith communities so that they may see on one another authentic experiences and expressions of the “one holy, catholic and apostolic church.”

-Sam Royappa

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