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From the Lay Leader - June 2024

Pastor Jeremy, in his sermon of May 5: Now the real work begins… liberate

us from the comfort of the pews!

If you were in church or watching online at our first worship service after General

Conference, you know that Pastor Jeremy spoke in detail about actions taken at the

Conference, and how exactly they will affect us, typical Midwestern United Methodists.

The Book of Discipline and other documents will be updated, they are after every

General Conference, and they will no longer contain language describing certain forms

of sexuality as “incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Nobody has to adopt new sexual practices or new philosophies. We all are expected to

love one another, as Jesus instructed us to do more than 2000 years ago. If you reflect

on our church’s vote to be welcoming and inclusive more than a year ago, you won’t

find any changes in our liturgy, or our spiritual practices.

More recently, BRFUMC voted to join with Third Avenue UMC and Paris UMC and

become United Methodist Ministries of Mecosta County as of July 1, 2024. So much

change! Why do we have to do this? WHAT do we have to do to accomplish this?

At the first meeting of the Transition Team, Pastor Jeremy gave us a three-page list of

tasks related to the merger. This was not three 8.5x11 inch pages, but three 11x17

pages! Anyone who is determined to be upset will rejoice that he has listed all these

things, so you can object line by line.

Most of the tasks, while important, are details. Most won’t require you to do anything

different. Example: instead of three membership lists, one for each church, there will be

one list. Does that matter to you?

Did you know that BRFUMC now has more than a dozen CATEGORIES of membership?

Do you know which category you belong in? Do you care? If you became a member by

transferring your membership from the UMC in another town, do you worship differently

than the person in the pew behind you, who became a member by profession of faith?

What about the person in front of you, who became a member by leaving another


The names on bank accounts and insurance policies will change. Policies for employees

and volunteers will be updated. Have your ever seen these, or worried about them? Do

you want to help with this process? Volunteers are needed!

The most obvious change will be the addition of an associate pastor or director of

community care. Jeremy will NOT preach three times every Sunday; another person will

do some of this. The position is supposed to begin July 1, 2024, when the three

churches become one. The other two churches have had several years of intermittent pastoring. Some of the people were more qualified than others. Some were more local

than others. There has been nobody to provide pastoral care other than the

congregations themselves.

To fill this void, it is important that we hire the right person. Stay tuned. We may not

meet the deadline; the ideal candidate may be applying right now as you read this. Pray

for it. We will be moving forward with new resources and new energy to make disciples

of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!

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