Posts Tagged ‘united’

Sermoncropped-angel20of20grief201.jpg podcast, December 22, 2014, from Seminole Heights United Methodist Church, Tampa, FL

Click here to listen.



By Matt Horan

Many thanks to those who read the first version of my motion on sacramental authority for deacons.  It was a privilege to have the opportunity for dialogue with Bishop Kenneth Carter of our Florida Annual Conference about the resolution.  He was complementary of the spirit of the motion, and gave me thoughtful feedback from his extensive experience working with teams on this very topic at both the annual conference and general conference level.

My discussion with Bishop Carter helped me imagine a better outcome for the resolution that would invite more leaders–laity and clergy, elders and deacons–into the conversation about those times when it is important for deacons to be granted sacramental authority.  I am hopeful that the Florida Annual Conference will eagerly receive the resolution, and that perhaps our discussion will serve as an opportunity to model for the rest of the connection how the subject might be broached as United Methodism becomes an agile, Spirit-led vehicle for making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Below is the text of the revised resolution as submitted.


A Resolution Regarding Deacon and the Sacraments

WHEREAS John Wesley urged the people called Methodists to partake of the sacrament of Holy Communion as often as possible, and

WHEREAS Wesley urgently sought more and more qualified clergy to offer the ministry of word and sacraments to more people, and

WHEREAS we live in extraordinary times in which there are more and more local churches closing, fewer and fewer people connected to local churches, and therefore fewer and fewer opportunities for people to receive the sacraments, and

WHEREAS the open table of The United Methodist Church should increase access to the sacrament for all, and

WHEREAS deacons in The United Methodist Church bridge the gap between the local church and the community in which it resides, and

WHEREAS participation in the Sacrament of Holy Communion creates community and builds bridges between people who receive it, and

WHEREAS deacons sense a call away from the ordering of the church, but do not sense a similar call away from the ministry of the sacraments, and

WHEREAS the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church states: “For the sake of extending the mission and ministry of the church, a pastor-in-charge or district superintendent may request that the bishop grant local sacramental authority to the deacon to administer the sacraments in the absence of an elder, within a deacon’s primary appointment.” (Paragraph 328);

Therefore, be it RESOLVED that we, the laity and clergy of the Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, look forward with hope to a day when the General Conference will amend the Book of Discipline to direct that deacons be commissioned and ordained to a ministry of word, service, and sacrament in order to extend the mission and ministry of the church, and

Further, be it RESOLVED that we hereby request that our bishop take an opportunity, either during this annual conference or by the other communication channels at his disposal, to issue a statement that would more clearly explain the circumstances under which he would be led to grant authority to deacons to administer the sacraments in the absence of an elder, so that our pastors-in-charge and district superintendents might be able to more effectively identify the opportunities that are afforded by paragraph 328 of the Book of Discipline to extend the mission and ministry of the church.


Posted: May 22, 2012 by Matt Horan in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

By Matt Horan

While I was in seminary, my candidacy mentor received an email in which one of his church members revealed that he was gay.  He didn’t tell me who it was, but asked me how I would respond.  Sometimes he would give me test cases like this—giving me occasional samplings of pastoral life.

I wrote a compassionate response, full of empathy, but also full of Scripture that made the case that the Biblical view of human sexuality was one man and one woman.  My mentor thanked me for my work, and said that he’d take it into consideration.  He planned to meet the young man in person rather than have the conversation over email.  (As I think about this test case six years later, it occurs to me that I never did hear his actual response to the church member.  I’ll have to ask…)

My view on this has not changed.  The writers of Scripture had no ambiguity about their views—they thought that homosexuality was wrong.  I’ve heard people try to wriggle out of the verses in a variety of ways.  I’ve read that that David and Jonathan were gay lovers.  I’ve read the same thing about Ruth and Naomi.  I’ve read that the main sin in Sodom was not that the men wanted to have sex with the angels who had come to Lot’s house, but that they didn’t show them hospitality.  I’ve read that the word “homosexuality” is too broadly used in English translations, and that it really refers to sexual slavery or rape.

I’ve never met David or Jonathan or Ruth or Naomi, and I wasn’t there on Lot’s front porch when his neighbors clamored for his guests.  I never met Paul, and thus didn’t get to ever ask him about what he really meant when he said that men gave up natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  All we have is the text, and while I don’t fault faithful disciples of Jesus Christ for trying to find a new reading for the verses we don’t like, it just can’t be done on this issue.  To say that the writers of Scripture sanctioned anything but heterosexual relationships is simply not a leap that can be made without some of those Flubber shoes from The Absent-Minded ProfessorI can find nothing else but this: the Bible says homosexuality is wrong.

That is why Biblical interpretation is not the reason I have changed my mind about how I’d handle that test case now.  What the Bible says isn’t really in question.  Instead I have reexamined how we use the phrase, “The Bible says.” (more…)

By Matt Horan

There is a “New Calvinism” taking root in American Christianity.   The followers of Jesus whose personalities crave certainty, who crave a God of sovereignty and power, are flocking to voices like Seattle’s Mark Driscoll or Charlotte’s Steven Furtick.  Who knew that a guy could gain a second wind just past his 500th birthday?  Seems that John Calvin is doing just that. (more…)