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               4/22/12                        TITLE:EPISCOPAL ADDRESS: THE
               FINAL VERSION prompter         RESURRECTION REVOLUTION
               script with bishop’s “notes”
       TIME    VIDEO:                         AUDIO:
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               HYMN: “CHRIST THE
               LORD IS RISEN TODAY”
               VERSES 1 & 2
1.             Bishop Weaver                  On behalf of the COUNCIL OF BISHOPS, I greet you
                                              with PAUL’S WORDS, to the Galatians - ancient yet
                                              ever new:
2.                                            “GRACE AND PEACE TO YOU from GOD the

                                              FATHER and the LORD

                                                        JESUS CHRIST!...To GOD be the GLORY

                                              forever and always! Amen.”


3.             Lower Third:                   My name is PETE WEAVER from NEW ENGLAND. I
               Bishop Peter D. Weaver
               Boston Area                    am, by GOD’S GRACE, a DISCIPLE of Jesus Christ.

                                              This is the MOST IMPORTANT thing we need to

                                              know about EACH OTHER as we begin this 2012

                                              GENERAL CONFERENCE. Before any of us were

                                              DELEGATES, we were DISCIPLES. Before any of us

                                              were BISHOPS, we were BELIEVERS. Before any of

                                              us were MEMBERS IN CAUCUSES, we were

                                              MEMBERS IN CHRIST JESUS and therefore,

                                              MEMBERS ONE OF ANOTHER. Before any of us

                                              had a RESOLUTION in our HANDS to VOTE on, we

                                              had a RESOLUTION in our HEARTS to DEVOTE

                                              ourselves to the LIVING CHRIST.
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4.               Frankly, it is only because of our ONENESS and

                 MISSION in JESUS CHRIST that any of us would

                 want to spend ELEVEN LONG DAYS inside this

                 CONVENTION CENTER – when the SUN is shining

                 and the BEACH is waiting outside. But here we are.

                 We are, BY GOD’S GRACE, disciples of Jesus

                 Christ; that’s who we are.




5.               TURN to your NEIGHBOR and say, “WE ARE, BY

                 GOD’S GRACE, DISCIPLES OF JESUS CHRIST.”


6.               It is my role this morning TO START A HOLY

                 CONVERSATION in which we all take part– about

                 WHO WE ARE (our identity), WHAT WE DO (our

                 mission) and HOW WE ARE TO DO IT (be church)

                 in this critical time.

7.               What a GREAT TIME to be in this HOLY

                 CONFERENCING! It’s EASTERTIDE - the

                 RESURRECTION REVOLUTION is underway. Can

                 you FEEL it? It’s that great 50 DAYS between the

                 EASTER CELEBRATION of the RISING OF CHRIST

                 and the PENTECOST CELEBRATION of the RISING
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                 MISSION of the NEW CHURCH. I love the

                 traditional LITURGICAL TERM, EASTERTIDE. The

                 word “TIDE” in English means both A PERIOD OF

                 TIME as well as the RISE AND FALL OF THE

                 OCEAN. EASTERTIDE is a powerful TIME but also

                 a TIME when OUT OF THE OCEAN of GOD’S LOVE

                 comes a SURGING TIDE of RISING

                 RESURRECTION LIFE. HEARTS are TURNED

                 AROUND, and the WORLD is turned UPSIDE

                 DOWN. It’s EASTERTIDE – the time in our

                 TRADITION when GENERAL CONFERENCE almost

                 always meets. Once again WE GATHER, this time

                 by the TIDE WATERS of TAMPA BAY in the

                 EASTERTIDE of the RISEN CHRIST which RISING,

                 RISING, RISING is carrying us into A NEW DAY.

                 *********

8.               YOU KNOW the EASTER STORY, GOD’S STORY,
                 OUR STORY, the story of DEATH TO LIFE. As
                 MATTHEW 28 tells it, it’s the DAWNING of a NEW
                 DAY, but MARY MAGDALENE and the other MARY
                 are caught in the OLD REALITIES of DEATH and
                 DYING. Sound familiar? Like an EARTHQUAKE,
                 everything SHIFTS. The IMMOVABLE
                 IMPEDIMENTS ahead, like the ROCK, ROLL. What
                 was CLOSED DOWN OPENS UP. JESUS, once
                 ENTOMBED in DEATH, is LOOSE in NEW LIFE.
                 The RISEN CHRIST meets the WOMEN. The TIME
                 and TIDE of EASTER are FLOWING. “DO NOT BE
                 AFRAID.” GO – STEP into the NEW FUTURE. GO
                 with the RESURRECTION FLOW. GO to the
                 OTHER DISCIPLES; GO to GALILEE. Then before
                 you can even TURN THE PAGE, Jesus says, “GO
                 and MAKE DISCIPLES of ALL NATIONS,
                 BAPTIZING, TEACHING. And by the way, I’LL BE
                 WITH YOU.” And those FOLLOWERS of JESUS
                 don’t even wait to FORM A COMMITTEE – they GO.
                 It’s EASTERTIDE. We are STILL in the
                 RESURRECTION REVOLUTION, called to GO to
                 NEW PLACES.
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 9.               No wonder, CHARLES WESLEY erupted with
                  PRAISE and DOXOLOGY. “CHRIST THE LORD IS
                  RISEN TODAY. ALLELUIA! EARTH (including
                  TAMPA BAY) and HEAVEN say, ALLELUIA!
                  ALLELUIA
10.               We cannot contain our DOXOLOGY, our PRAISE for
                  the TRANSFORMATION GOD has already begun in
                  RAISING JESUS FROM THE DEAD. If God can
                  BRING TO LIFE the CRUCIFIED CHRIST, surely
                  God can BRING TO LIFE a CALCIFIED CHURCH.
                  RESURRECTION DEFINES who we are, OUR
                  IDENTITY. We are NEW CREATURES in CHRIST,
                  a RESURRECTION PEOPLE, DISCIPLE
                  FOLLOWERS of Jesus, the RISEN ONE.
11.               It’s not just who I am in ISOLATION from YOU. But

                  because of what CHRIST on the CROSS has already

                  done for YOU and for YOU and for YOU and for ME,

                  it’s who WE are TOGETHER. We are, to use

                  WESLEYAN LANGUAGE, CONNECTED, not because

                  we AGREE on everything, not because we even LIKE

                  EACH OTHER, but because WE ARE ONE IN

                  CHRIST. It is GOD’S GIFT to us. So we begin this

                  GENERAL CONFERENCE, FOCUSED not on what

                  we LACK, but on the EXTRAORDINARY GIFTS OF

                  GOD that have ALREADY been GIVEN.

12.               Oh, we may NOT YET AGREE on matters of the
                  BUDGET or CALL TO ACTION or HUMAN
                  SEXUALITY or the
                  WORLD-WIDE NATURE of the church or MINISTRY
                  ACCOUNTABILITY or the THOUSANDS of other
                  matters before us. In fact, I have RARELY SEEN a
                  UNANIMOUS VOTE on ANYTHING at General
                  Conference, even the MOTION to ADJOURN - at
                  MIDNIGHT on the LAST DAY.
13.               We won’t always AGREE. But we are “ONE BODY
                  and ONE SPIRIT…we have ONE LORD, ONE
                  FAITH, ONE BAPTISM, ONE GOD and FATHER of
                  ALL who is ABOVE ALL and THROUGH ALL and IN
                  ALL” even IN THIS AGENDA. SOME OF US are or
                  will be in PAIN, some HOPEFUL, some a MIXTURE
                  OF BOTH, but ALL OF US are ONE. Therefore for
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                  the SAKE of the RISEN CHRIST, who FIRST
                  LOVED US, let us LOVE ONE ANOTHER!
14.               The RESURRECTION is not just a PAST EVENT,
                  done and over with. The EASTERTIDE continues to
                  FLOW with SALVATION FOR ETERNAL LIFE and
                  TRANSFORMATION OF EARTHLY LIFE. It flows
                  with the RISING REIGN of GOD, the KINGDOM OF
                  GOD for LOVING, JUST and ABUNDANT LIFE
                  HERE and NOW. Alleluia.

                  *********


15.               As one of the SEASONED SAINTS in my HOME
                  CHURCH loved to sing, “MY SOUL’S SO HAPPY
                  that I can’t sit DOWN!” So if we can’t SIT DOWN as
                  RESURRECTION PEOPLE, WHAT are we TO DO?
                  What is our MISSION?
16.               As those gifted by the RESURRECTION with NEW
                  LIFE for the SOUL and SOCIETY, the Risen Christ
                  gives us the MISSION to GO, SHARE IT.
17.               On that EASTER SUNDAY, the WOMEN met the

                  LIVING CHRIST. They REALIZED they were now a

                  part of a RESURRECTION PEOPLE, but JESUS

                  DID NOT SAY to them, “SO LONG, I’LL SEE you in

                  HEAVEN at the FINAL RESURRECTION.” NO, he

                  said, “TELL ALL MY DISCIPLES, ‘I’LL SEE YOU IN

                  GALILEE.’” To paraphrase CHARLES WESLEY,

                  LOVE’S REDEEMING WORK may be done, but

                  GOD’S WORLD-TRANSFORMING WORK has just

                  BEGUN – through DISCIPLES - in GALILEE, in the

                  WORLD of our HURTS and HOPES, where YOU and

                  I LIVE.

18.               The NEW TESTAMENT scholar N.T. WRIGHT says

                  simply, “THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH is

                  NOTHING MORE OR LESS than THE
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                  OUTWORKING…OF…RESURRECTION!” Mission

                  is the outworking of resurrection.

                  *********

19.               ONE CHILLY SUNDAY MORNING, I SAW that

                  “OUTWORKING OF RESURRECTION” when the

                  FEEL of EASTERTIDE was still in the AIR and

                  WATER. I found myself STANDING HIP DEEP in

                  the RIVER-TIDE SURGES of the CONTOOCOOK

                  RIVER that runs through a SMALL TOWN in NEW

                  HAMPSHIRE. We were in the river to BAPTIZE

                  FIVE TEENAGERS in CHRIST. Like an

                  EASTERTIDE, the RISING RIVER wanted to LIFT

                  US OFF OUR FEET. The GENEROUS PASTOR had

                  lent me an OLD PAIR of WADING BOOTS with the

                  ADDED WARNING, “BY THE WAY, they MIGHT

                  LEAK.” Well, I thought, REMEMBER your OWN

                  BAPTISM and be THANKFUL. YES, remember your

                  own BAPTISMAL JOURNEY of coming to KNOW

                  and FOLLOW JESUS.


20.               Up on the BANK OF THE RIVER were SCORES of
                  PEOPLE CHEERING. We had just PROCESSED
                  from the UNITED METHODIST CHURCH down the
                  MAIN STREET of town past “MR. MIKE’S ALL-
                  YOU-NEED-MARKET” and the “WHISTLE STOP
                  SWEET SHOP” to the RIVER. We came SINGING,
                  “SYAHAMB’ EKUKHA NYEN’ KWEN KHOS” –
                  “WE ARE MARCHING IN THE LIGHT OF GOD”.
                  Some were DANCING; some were RUNNING.

21.               I’m not sure the TOWN OF CONTOOCOOK had ever
                  seen anything quite like this. WHAT WERE these
                  UNITED METHODISTS UP TO? FOLKS having
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                  their MORNING COFFEE in the “EVERYDAY CAFÉ”
                  leaned out the door to see what was happening.
                  CHILDREN tugged at their PARENTS to let them
                  JOIN THE PARADE. All of THIS WAS HAPPENING
                  because THESE TEENAGERS had DECIDED to
                  BECOME, by GOD’S GRACE, DISCIPLES of JESUS
                  CHRIST, to be BAPTIZED in the river, to JOIN THE
                  UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

22.               What the SPECTATORS did not know was the

                  RESURRECTION JOURNEY that had brought these

                  TEENAGERS and THIS CHURCH to THIS PLACE.



                  The TEENAGERS HAD BEEN BORN, not in New

                  Hampshire, but in the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC

                  OF THE CONGO. Their FAMILIES had been part of

                  VITAL METHODIST CONGREGATIONS there in the

                  CONGO, SOUTH KIVU PROVINCE. But when the

                  MURDEROUS and GENOCIDAL CONFLICTS

                  between the HUTU and TUTSI arose, they were

                  driven from their HOMES and Methodist

                  CHURCHES. The only POSSESSIONS some of them

                  carried with them WERE BIBLES.


23.               They FOUND what they thought was a SAFE
                  HAVEN in a small UN REFUGEE camp called
                  GATUMBA just over the BURUNDI BORDER. On
                  one HORRIBLE NIGHT, the REBELS paid off the
                  CAMP GUARDS and entered with their MACHINE
                  GUNS BLAZING. ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-SIX MEN,
                  WOMEN, and CHILDREN – nearly ONE-FOURTH of
                  the camp – were MASSACRED that night.
                  HUNDREDS of others were WOUNDED and LEFT
                  FOR DEAD.

24.               In the WAKE of this HORRENDOUS ACT, The
                  UNITED NATIONS resettled many of the
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                  SURVIVORS, some on the OTHER SIDE of the
                  GLOBE in NEW HAMPSHIRE. There, HALF A
                  WORLD AWAY from their HOMES and VITAL
                  CONGREGATIONS in the Congo, another VITAL
                  UNITED METHODIST CONGREGATION in
                  Contoocook, New Hampshire welcomed these
                  IMMIGRANTS. GOD began to WORK
                  TRANSFORMATION in EVERYBODY!
                  RESURRECTION REVOLUTION is not TOO
                  STRONG a word. It’s the REVOLUTION that the
                  RISEN CHRIST does IN US and then does
                  THROUGH US as DISCIPLES in transforming the
                  WORLD WHERE WE ARE.
25.               As people WELCOMED each other and SHARED

                  RESOURCES together, PRAYED,      SANG,

                  DANCED together, some SHARING HOMES

                  together, everyone’s FAITH IN CHRIST GREW

                  DEEPER. Their WORLD VIEW BECAME WIDER.

                  WORK FOR WORLD AND COMMUNITY JUSTICE

                  became more PASSIONATE,       WORSHIP BECAME

                  LIVELIER, and NEW PEOPLE wanted to BECOME

                  A PART OF A VITAL CONGREGATION like this –

                  INCLUDING THOSE TEENAGERS.

26.               One of the TEENS, standing by the RIVER waiting

                  to be BAPTIZED had SURVIVED the MASSACRE

                  because his FATHER had thrown his OWN BODY

                  over HIS SON to SHIELD HIM. The FATHER was

                  KILLED and his son remained BURIED under his

                  father’s CORPSE until DAWN.

                  Also standing by the RIVER was a MOTHER, who
                  the night of the MASSACRE, had gone into LABOR.
                  She was LINED UP to be MACHINE-GUNNED down,
                  but the GUNMAN RAN OUT OF BULLETS. The
                  LITTLE BABY BOY who was born in the MUD and
                  BLOOD of that NIGHT now stood with us BY THE
                  RIVER WATERS OF BAPTISM.
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27.               In the BAPTISMAL QUESTIONS FROM OUR
                  LITERGY to these YOUNG PEOPLE, we spoke of
                  REAL THINGS they knew all too well. QUESTION:
                  “Do you RENOUNCE, REJECT, and RESIST
                  WICKEDNESS, EVIL POWERS of this WORLD, SIN,
                  INJUSTICE, OPPRESSIONS?” Then we spoke of a
                  REAL RISEN CHRIST – “SAVIOR”, “LORD”.
                  QUESTION: “DO YOU TRUST IN HIS GRACE?”
                  Like the SWELL of an EASTERTIDE came the
                  RUSH of joyful RESPONSES – “YES, YES, YES,
                  YES, YES.” TRANSFORMATION of LIFE and
                  WORLD.
28.               As we BAPTIZED each of these in the RIVER

                  TIDEWATERS, I THOUGHT of all they had

                  EXPERIENCED. And I THOUGHT of the

                  RESURRECTION POWER and PRESENCE of

                  CHRIST in THEIR LIVES and in MY LIFE. And as

                  we BAPTIZED each one, I found myself

                  WHISPERING those ANCIENT BAPTISMAL

                  WORDS: “BURIED with CHRIST, we RISE with

                  CHRIST.” We RISE with CHRIST!


29.               Those TEENS, along with OTHERSWHO HAD BEEN

                  APTIZED IN THE CONGO, joined the CHURCH

                  and are now ENGAGED in GROWING IN THEIR

                  DISCIPLESHIP. Some are FACING DAUNTING

                  CHALLENGES        – (PRAY for them). Some are

                  working to CHANGE the WORLD through

                  STUDYING INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS,

                  SPEAKING UP for JUSTICE,     SERVING in their

                  CONGREGATIONS,       SHARING WITH OTHERS

                  how Christ makes A DIFFERENCE in our LIVES

                  and WORLD.
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30.               Four of these YOUNG DISCIPLES of JESUS

                  CHRIST from the CONGO, by way of NEW

                  HAMPSHIRE, are HERE WITH US TODAY. Will

                  you GREET them? - MAKOPA and BYISHIMO

                  (allen) RUGABIRWA, ANTOINE GISORE, and

                  MUSAFIRI (Fabien) MUSORE.


31.                     HOW DID THE CONTOOCOOK RIVER

                         FEEL the day you were baptized?

                        You have come through so much. WHAT

                         DOES YOUR FAITH IN CHRIST MEAN TO

                         YOU?

                  THANK YOU for being here today. These YOUNG

                  MEN will be in the PERFORMANCE AREA of the

                  Iliff School of Theology Food Court on the SECOND

                  FLOOR at BREAK TIME and NOONTIME if you

                  want to greet them.



32.               DISCIPLES OF JESUS CHRIST for the
                  TRANSFORMATION OF THE WORLD – it is the
                  BOTTOM LINE and TOP PRIORITY of our
                  RESURRECTION REVOLUTION MISSION .

33.               But YOU KNOW such STORIES. YOU and I ARE

                  such stories of NEW LIFE,    RESURRECTION,

                  SALVATION,

                  BEING BORN AGAIN,       NEW CREATION,

                  BURIED WITH CHRIST,         RISING WITH

                  CHRIST. Whatever WORDS you choose, AS
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                  DISCIPLES our “MISSION is the OUTWORKING of

                  RESURRECTION”, letting that INCREDIBLE GOOD

                  NEWS flow THROUGH US to others. It is

                  RESURRECTION with the INWARD BUOYANCY of

                  PERSONAL HOLINESS and the OUTWARD SURGE

                  of SOCIAL HOLINESS. It is a MISSION about

                  “when we ALL GET TO HEAVEN” and when we all

                  GET TO JUSTICE. It is GOSPEL PEACE down deep

                  and out on the street. It is about the HEART

                  WARMED and the WORLD TRANSFORMED.

34.               ONE MISSION, UNFOLDING IN A VARIETY OF

                  CHRIST-LIKE WAYS - like the “FOUR FOCI”:

                  MINISTRY WITH THE POOR,

                  the GLOBAL HEALTH INITIATIVE,

                  PRINCIPLED LAY AND CLERGY LEADERS,

                  and NEW MINISTRIES WITH NEW PEOPLE, And

                  it’s like “GOD’S RENEWED CREATION”, bringing

                  together OUR CONCERN for PERVASIVE

                  POVERTY, the PROLIFERATION OF WEAPONS

                  and the POLLUTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT.

                  These are all STREAMS in the ONE MISSION of

                  MAKING DISCIPLES of JESUS CHRIST for the

                  TRANSFORMATION of the WORLD. Because of

                  WHO WE ARE - resurrection people, THIS IS WHAT

                  WE DO.


35.               Please take note that THIS MISSION, what we do,
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                  does not come from a FEARFUL DESPERATION for

                  MORE MEMBERS to share in OUR WORK of

                  SAVING THE CHURCH. NO. It comes rather from

                  GOD’S FAITHFUL INVITATION for MORE

                  DISCIPLES to share in GOD’S WORK of SAVING

                  THE WORLD.


36.               We are all very aware of the TROUBLING

                  STATISTICS and IMPLICATIONS of DECLINE,

                  particularly in TOO MANY of our churches in the

                  UNITED STATES. We also are AWARE of and

                  CELEBRATE the GREAT GROWTH in so many

                  OTHER PLACES in our GLOBAL CONNECTION.

                  But frankly, it is not the DECLINE IN

                  MEMBERSHIP in some parts of our church that is

                  most DISTURBING. Rather it is the DECLINE IN

                  DEEP DISCIPLESHIP:        DISCIPLESHIP THAT

                  DARES – no, DELIGHTS in SHARING CHRIST with

                  OTHERS and living the RADICAL CHRIST-LIKE life

                  that DRAWS OTHERS TO JESUS, so they too

                  become FOLLOWERS,         DISCIPLES,

                  ENGAGED WITH GOD in TRANSFORMING the

                  world. For where there is DEEP DISCIPLESHIP,

                  others join the joyful CHORUS, “YES, YES, YES,

                  YES,” I WANT TO BE PART OF THIS LIFE-

                  CHANGING, WORLD-CHANGING EASTERTIDE OF

                  RESURRECTION REVOLUTION! Where GROWTH
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                  is most TRANSFORMATIONAL, it reflects MORE

                  THAN QUANTITY; it is INFUSED with this

                  RESURRECTION QUALITY of DISCIPLESHIP.


37.               The SAD TRUTH is that too many of OUR
                  CONGREGATIONS are CONFUSED about WHO
                  THEY ARE and WHAT THEY ARE TO DO. TOO
                  MANY have swapped the “LET’S GO” of the GREAT
                  COMMISSION for the “STATUS QUO” of NO
                  MISSION.
38.               Given these MISSIONAL CHALLENGES and

                  OPPORTUNITIES, we now come to our CRITICAL

                  ROLE as a GENERAL CONFERENCE in these

                  ELEVEN DAYS of EASTERTIDE 2012.


39.               It will come as NO SURPRISE to anyone here that

                  the CENTRAL QUESTION before us is HOW THE

                  UNITED METHODIST CHURCH will be more

                  EFFECTIVE in fulfilling GOD’S RESURRECTION

                  MISSION. “FOR THE SAKE OF A NEW WORLD,

                  we see a NEW CHURCH.”

                  *********



40.               Shortly after EASTERTIDE 1744, JOHN WESLEY

                  called together some FRIENDS for the FIRST

                  METHODIST CONFERENCE. He asked those

                  friends – FIVE CLERGY and FOUR LAITY – to give

                  “THEIR ADVICE RESPECTING THE BEST

                  METHOD of carrying on THE WORK OF GOD.” In

                  short, what would be the METHOD for the
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                  METHODISTS?


41.               The FIRST MORNING of the conference, WESLEY

                  BAPTIZED an ADULT, SAMUEL HOLLOWAY, as if

                  to FOCUS the conference on the BOTTOM LINE and

                  TOP PRIORITY of their mission: MAKING

                  DISCIPLES of JESUS CHRIST. Then came the

                  question: HOW WOULD THEY ORGANIZE TO DO

                  IT?


42.               Indeed, as EVERY PIECE OF LEGISLATION comes

                  before this GENERAL CONFERENCE, let us picture

                  those BAPTIZED,      CONFIRMED,           NEW

                  DISCIPLES we have seen here and know and ASK,

                  “HOW WILL THIS LEGISLATION enable MAKING

                  DISCIPLES of JESUS CHRIST for the

                  transformation of the world?” Let us think of the

                  VITAL CONGREGATIONS we know, like in the

                  CONGO or NEW HAMPSHIRE or WHEREVER you

                  live and ask, “HOW will this LEGISLATION

                  contribute to our ADAPTIVE CHALLENGE of

                  developing MORE VITAL CONGREGATIONS?”

                  NONE OF THIS is for the sake of THE

                  PRESERVATION OF OUR INSTITUTIONS, but ALL

                  OF IT is for the SAKE of the SALVATION OF THE

                  WORLD? What is the “Best Method of carrying on

                  the work of God” for UNITED METHODISTS

                  TODAY?
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43.               Again look all around at this AMAZING GLOBAL

                  GATHERING and ask, “HOW will this

                  LEGISLATION help us to be a TRULY GLOBAL

                  CHURCH? HOW WILL THIS LEGISLATIVE

                  ACTION help us in MAKING DISCIPLES and

                  DOING MINISTRY with all KINDS OF PEOPLE:

                  those of various NATIONS,    GENERATIONS,

                  RACES,      CULTURES,         SEXUAL

                  ORIENTATIONS,         CLASSES and ABILITIES?”

                  In short, HOW will the EASTERTIDE FLOW TO ALL

                  GOD’S CHILDREN everywhere? HOW WILL OUR

                  MISSION SHAPE OUR DISCIPLINE which in turn

                  will SHAPE our CHURCH to be in RESURRECTION

                  MISSION SHAPING our WORLD? Can we focus the

                  DISCIPLINE on DISCIPLING?

                  *********


44.               DURING EASTERTIDE 1912, the GENERAL

                  CONFERENCE of the Methodist Episcopal Church

                  EMBRACED the GIFT OF IMMIGRANTS coming to

                  America from all around the world. THEN, LIKE

                  NOW, there were JUSTICE ISSUES,

                  TENSIONS,        EXCLUSIONARY LAWS BEING

                  PASSED,         HATE CRIMES.

                  MIGRATION OF PEOPLE, then like now, was a

                  GLOBAL MATTER. The General Conference put in

                  the 1912 DISCIPLINE SPECIFIC SECTIONS about
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                  PRACTICAL MINISTRY WITH and BY

                  IMMIGRANTS for EIGHTEEN different LANGUAGE

                  GROUPS. AND LISTEN TO THIS:      SEVEN OF

                  THOSE SECTIONS were actually PRINTED IN

                  SEVEN of THOSE DIFFERENT LANGUAGES. In

                  fact, the DISCIPLINE devoted THREE TIMES

                  MORE PAGES to this MISSIONAL MATTER than to

                  MATTERS ABOUT BISHOPS.


45.               WOW! That Discipline must have been HUGE! Well,

                  NO, HERE IT IS    - MISSION SHAPING THE

                  DISCIPLINE. There’s a CHALLENGE for us -

                  REDUCE the DISCIPLINE to this SIZE while

                  EXPANDING its FOCUS ON DISCIPLING. Could

                  the DISCIPLINE be a TOOL FOR LIBERATING the

                  vast EASTERTIDE FLOW that is already BUBBLING

                  UP throughout the UNITED METHODIST

                  MOVEMENT, rather than using it as a TOOL FOR

                  REGULATING a VAST INSTITUTIONAL

                  STRUCTURE that, in some places, is almost DEAD

                  IN THE WATER?       COULD IT HAPPEN AT THIS

                  GENERAL CONFERENCE? WE are the ONES

                  CALLED TO ACT. We are the ONES GIFTED TO

                  ACT by the RISEN CHRIST!


46.               WHO ARE WE? WHAT ARE WE TO DO? HOW

                  ARE WE TO DO IT? We are the DISCIPLES about

                  to DECIDE…DISCIPLES of the RISEN CHRIST, like
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                  the MARYS and the WESLEYS and those attending

                  the 1744 and 1912 Conferences and those

                  TEENAGERS WADING in the WATERS OF

                  BAPTISM. So we DARE to enter the EASTERTIDE,

                  some DRAGGING our old cumbersome leaky

                  ECCLESIASTICAL BOOTS. But FEAR NOT, JESUS

                  is urging us on. “CHRIST IS ALIVE AND GOES

                  BEFORE US.”



                  This is a time, NOT FOR TIMID TINKERING, but

                  for BOLD BELIEVING and FRUITFUL FOLLOWING

                  of the LIVING CHRIST. There are already VITAL

                  CONGREGATIONS and CONFERENCES of all sizes

                  AROUND THE WORLD who are CLEAR about our

                  IDENTITY. They know WHAT THEIR MISSION IS.

                  And they have EFFECTIVELY REORDERED HOW

                  THEY DO CHURCH. LET US LEARN FROM

                  THEM. Let us OPEN OURSELVES to BE

                  transformed, to CHANGE, if we expect God to use us

                  FOR TRANSFORMATION.

                  *********




47.               This is the 200TH ANNIVERSARY of the FIRST
                  EPISCOPAL ADDRESS. I WAS NOT THERE in
                  case you were wondering, but GOD WAS THERE
                  and GOD IS HERE. It was EASTERTIDE 1812. IT
                  WAS A TIME, like ours, of GREAT CHANGE and
                  TRANSITION in the METHODIST MOVEMENT.
                  The OLD ORDER was DISAPPEARING. The
                  traditional CENTERS OF POWER no longer
      PRODUCER:   CLIENT:                                             18
      DATE:

                  dominated the DECISION MAKING. TOUGH
                  DECISIONS had to be made about MORAL ISSUES,
                  the STRUCTURE OF THE CHURCH and the
                  POWER OF THE BISHOPS.
48.               The OLD GUARD was changing. ASBURY was

                  aging and declining. The BISHOP PRESIDING was

                  the YOUNGER WILLIAM MCKENDREE, who much

                  to Asbury’s dismay, still wore

                  RED FLANNEL SHIRTS.


49.               But it was EASTERTIDE. BISHOP MCKENDREE,
                  without alerting BISHOP ASBURY, stood up and
                  read a STIRRING, FIRST EPISCOPAL ADDRESS.
                  When MCKENDREE finished, ASBURY struggled to
                  his feet EXCLAIMING, “I NEVER DID BUSINESS IN
                  THIS WAY. WHY IS THIS NEW THING
                  INTRODUCED?” Well, General Conference has
                  been FULL of NEW THINGS ever since! THINGS
                  that will again cause some of us to EXCLAIM, “WHY
                  is this new thing INTRODUCED?” HERE’S HOW
                  MCKENDREE suggested the CONFERENCE
                  HANDLE all the NEW THINGS before them. He
                  INVITED them, as WESLEY did in the 1744
                  Conference and AS I DO here today, to “DO
                  EVERYTHING AS IN THE IMMEDIATE PRESENCE
                  OF GOD.” DO EVERYTHING AS IN THE
                  IMEEDIATE PRESENCE OF GOD.”
50.               GOD IS HERE. The LIVING CHRIST is with us.

                  CHRIST promised to be WITH US ALWAYS to the

                  END OF THE AGE, even to the END of this

                  GENERAL CONFERENCE and the RESURRECTION

                  REVOLUTION out ahead.


51.               It’s like an EASTERTIDE; that RISING can almost

                  LIFT YOU OFF YOUR FEET - RESURRECTION

                  that brings NEW LIFE again and again and again

                  TRANSFORMING PEOPLE, CHURCH, WORLD, and
      PRODUCER:   CLIENT:                                              19
      DATE:

                  GENERAL CONFERENCE by the GRACE OF GOD

                  and POWER OF THE RISEN CHRIST.

                  .
52.               And the HOLY SPIRIT is HERE: “BY-EE-A DEL

                  ESPIRITU SANTO”. That was what the SPANISH

                  used to call the TIDEWATERS SPLASHING up

                  against THIS CONVENTION CENTER - “THE BAY

                  OF THE HOLY SPIRIT”.


53.                    ““As in the IMMEDIATE presence of God”


54.                           EASTERTIDE. Do you feel it?


55.               RESURRECTION REVOLUTION. Do you want to be

                                       a part of it?


56.                         I DO. The Council of Bishops does.


57.               Therefore I WOULD INVITE us as disciples together,

                  to begin this new day by COMMITTING ourselves to

                  GO where the RISEN CHRIST leads us in this holy

                  conferencing. I would INVITE you, as you are

                  ABLE, to KNEEL, STAND or SIT as we PRAY

                  WESLEY’S COVENANT PRAYER and then PRAY A

                  HOLY CONFERENCING PRAYER reflecting that

                  Covenant.
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      DATE:

58.           Wesley Covenant Prayer                    I am no longer my own, but thine.
              on screen?                      Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou
                                                                        wilt.
                                                      Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
                                               Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
                                                     exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
                                                          Let me be full, let me be empty.
                                                  Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
                                                       I freely and heartily yield all things
                                                           to thy pleasure and disposal.
                                                      And now, O glorious and blessed God,
                                                           Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
                                                     thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
                                                And the covenant which I have made on earth,
                                             Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.




59.            A Prayer of Covenant for                God of the Resurrection Revolution,
                 General Conferencing           This General Conference is not ours, but yours.
              on screen?                                      Only your will counts.
                                              Surprise us with whom you will have us conference
                                                                      this day.
                                                 Put us to your mission, let us know your pain.
                                               Let us get going for you, or get out of the way for
                                                                         you,
                                               experience the upside for you or the downside for
                                                                         you.
                                                  Let us be full of faith, let us be empty of fear.
                                             Whether everything or nothing we hope for happens,
                                                 we wholeheartedly turn all things over to you,
                                                         for your joy and your purposes.
                                                In this and every moment, O great and gracious
                                                                         God,
                                               creative Creator, sovereign Savior and sustaining
                                                                        Spirit,
                                                    you are our God, and we are your people.
                                             So be it.
60.                                          And this Eastertide Covenant, which we have made
                                             in Tampa, let it set off Halleluiahs in heaven. YES!
61.           Hymn: Christ the Lord is
              Risen today, V 4, modulating
              into “Siyahamba” FWS 2235-
              b

								
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