As the United Methodist News Service has concluded, and pretty much anyone else observing The United Methodist Church in 2019 has agreed, the top story in United Methodism from this past year is the on-going fight over the place of LGBTQ persons in the church, especially as it played out at General Conference 2019 and the aftermath of that event.
The centrality of that conflict for United Methodists around the world has certainly made an impact on the sorts of content this blog has presented over the past year. Yet, rather than comment on the political mobilizations or talking points that often reinforce the views of one side or another, UM & Global has tried to provide unique perspectives on that conflict, such as the following:
* Dana Robert's excellent piece on the impact of a potential church split on women
* Articles on how central conference perspectives on this conflict differ from US perspectives and need to be taken seriously, including special attention to Filipino perspectives
* Coverage of how this conflict is playing out in European United Methodism and its search for a way forward as annual conferences and central conferences
* Research on the international financial arrangements of the church and how these would be impacted by a church split
* Reflections on what we as United Methodists can learn from our autonomous affiliated sisters and brothers about how to be the church across denominational lines
Yet 2019 was not just about the conflict over the treatment of LGBTQ persons. Mission continues, no matter what is happening with church structures, and this blog examined several important threads related to mission as well, including the following:
* The bicentennial of mission in the United Methodist tradition
* The practice of UMVIM and other short-term mission trips
* African women's perspectives on mission
* The definition of mission
* Multiculturalism and cross-cultural interactions as a central part of mission
While it's certain that 2020 will bring a certain amount of stories related to General Conference 2020 and the conflict over sexuality, UM & Global will remain committed to providing unique perspectives on that conflict (look for a series on the legal and financial implications of the trust clause starting soon!) and will remain committed to telling other important stories about mission and the global nature of the church.
Thanks for your readership, and see you next year!
Dr. David W. Scott, blogmaster