Renew: A Women’s Ministry Network for United Methodists
October 14, 2015
Dear Renew Network,
After my last letter to the network, a woman wrote to me to say, “Thank you for standing on God’s truth and not being swayed by those who scream the loudest.” She went on to say that it must grieve the Lord that the United Methodist Church was even considering changing its biblical teaching on marriage.
Indeed the voices within the church are loud calling for the church to follow the culture and change its teaching on marriage and human sexuality. This summer I was asked to attend and report on The
Gather at the River conference for the LGTBQ community in United Methodist Church. It was sponsored by Reconciling Ministries Network and the Methodist Federation for Social Action. You can read my articles here, here, and here.
Yes, the progressive voices are loud, and many of our bishops have encouraged these loud voices by their misguided attempts over the years to pacify and accommodate them. But just as committed are the clear voices of Good News, Renew and the other renewal groups. As Rob Renfroe wrote in the July/August edition of Good News magazine, “We can care deeply about our confused culture without conforming to it. We can have our hearts broken for the sexually broken without compromising what the Scriptures teach.”
In the midst of the confusion that exists in the church and the talk of schism, it is important to remember that the United Methodist Church’s official position regarding human sexuality and marriage upholds a high view of biblical authority and remains rooted in biblical teaching. Legislation has been prepared that will clarify, strengthen, and hold accountable our church’s biblical positions on a number of important issues – most notably our position on marriage an sexuality. I invite you to visit the Good News and Renew website and to encourage your delegates to General Conference to support these petitions and resolutions.
Renew continues to report and speak to important issues in our culture and in the church. On some things we cannot keep silent. By far our most important work is to encourage and aid the women of the United Methodist Church in their walk with Christ.
Renew highlights and encourages women in the church to come away from the fruitless pursuit of secularism wrapped in religious garb and pursue a clearer understanding of the way, the truth, and the life we are called to in Christ. It is from Him all blessings flow to each person and all organizing structures in society.
Renew still receives calls from women who are questioning the program materials and spiritual life studies as well as the social and political positions offered by UMW National. Many want to know if their mission dollars further the gospel or if their dollars merely support programs of rights and empowerment.
But even more important, Renew receives calls and emails requesting suggestions for Christ centered programs and Bible studies.
One Renew member and president of her church’s women’s group recently told me that they had used the Renew Women’s Survey to reach out to younger women in their church. Like so many groups, their UMW membership was mostly older women. The younger women were hungry for Bible study but had little time during the week for an added commitment. They helped these young women start a Sunday School class which is meeting their needs to grow in Christ and fellowship with women who share their challenges.
In another part of the country, a woman wrote that her group of women had renamed themselves the Bible Babes. Since they have come together to study God’s word they have seen mighty answers to prayer and lives turned around. The president of yet another group remarked to me, “We want Bible study – not politics!”
Renew continues to help just such women’s groups.
Several new resources have been added to the Renew website. In Jeannine Fogwell’s teaching Mirrors II: Broken Mirrors, she reminds us that God wants to make deep changes in us that we might reflect His glory. As you work through this teaching, you will learn what it means to be a child of God and how to accept His gift of grace so that transformation is fully not just partially realized. Mary Lambrecht shares some great resources and helpful ideas in her teaching,
Faith of Our Children: A Model for Home Devotions. And BJ Funk writes out of her experience that Women Need Each Other.
Please join me and the Renew Team in praying for the United Methodist Church, the up-coming General Conference and a way for us to proceed that is not fearful of the depth of our division but is clear, committed and willing to contend for the faith, our doctrine and our discipline as we hold one another accountable.
As always, Renew exists because of your sacrificial and generous gifts. Although Renew is an all volunteer organization, we still have expenses. Our work would not be possible without Renew’s network of faithful friends.
You can stand with us by going on the Renew Website and download or print the Donations Form. Or you may designate a check to Renew Network and send to:
P.O. Box 132076
The Woodlands, TX 77393-2076
In His Service,
Renew Network Team Leader