Laity Sunday is October 15th
Laity Sunday in the United Methodist Church is on October 15, 2017 and the Board of Laity of the WNCC invites all congregations to celebrate the ministry of the laity on this Sunday.
Methodism has long celebrated and recognized the ministry of the laity. In the early days of American Methodism, the laity served and maintained congregations between visits of the circuit riders. Today, lay people are at the front line of daily ministry in our congregations and in our communities.
Quadrennial themes are set by the Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders and approved by the board of directors of Discipleship Ministries. Here you can find resources surrounding this year’s theme of “Go therefore with hope through hospitality”: https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/laity-sunday-2017-therefore-go-with-hope-through-hospitality
We are all called to be ministers. Some are called to ordained ministry – to order the word, celebrate the sacraments. Others are called to non-ordained ministry within the church and others to less obvious places. But, we are each called. And we make up the Priesthood of All Believers.
Here’s an excerpt from a sermon by Rev. Meredith Wende at First UMC in Wharton, Texas that beautifully expands on this concept.
In the old covenant, the priesthood was confined to a special family chosen by God; in the new covenant, the priesthood is made up of every member of the Body of Christ. There are no longer some who hold this role and others who don't. There are no longer some whose roles are sacred and others whose roles are ordinary. There are no longer some who channel God’s mercy to the world and others who don’t. The priesthood of 1 Peter--the priesthood of the new covenant--is made up of all believers.
This means that the Christian is a creature that was designed for ministry. If all Christians are part of a royal priesthood, then every Christian is called to be in ministry. Every Christian is called to the job description of the priests of old: channels of the holy to the ordinary, channels of the sacred to the mundane, channels of God to the world. Every Christian is called to be in ministry, because every Christian is a part of a holy priesthood.
Every Christian is called to find the particular outlet in his or her life in which God needs a priest. Every Christian is called to find the particular outlet in his or her life in which God needs someone to bring the holy to the ordinary.
That's the reason for the priesthood of all believers. If we do not live out the ministry for which we were created, we will wind up spiritually dead. If we do not find the ministry of meaning and substance to which God is calling us, we may find ourselves looking for life after death, but missing the life before death.
As laity, we should be asking what's my ministry? What is the outlet to which God is calling me? Where am I being asked to bridge heaven and earth? Where am I being called to bring the holy to the ordinary?
As the Board of Laity, we honor every lay person in our conference and we celebrate your ministry in The United Methodist Church!
Resources for Vital Congregations
GBHEM Leadership Resources
A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist
RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:
The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:
- Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
- Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org.