The Council of Bishops has asked each annual conference across the UM connection to engage in a week of intentional prayer for the work of the Commission on a Way Forward. This week, February 18-24, is Wisconsin’s week of prayer to focus on the theme of Protection. Members of your General Conference delegation have written prayers on this theme for use by individuals and local churches. They are available as a PDF download in a format suitable for insertion in a bulletin or as a half-sheet handout. Download PDF here.

In the video Interview with the Bishop: Prayer Week 2018, Bishop Jung explains what Prayer Week is all about. Wisconsin’s participation in this process includes a special 5:30 p.m. worship service on February 28, at which Rev. Dan Dick, Assistant to the Bishop, will preach at the Conference Center in Sun Prairie. Other clergy and laity are invited to join the Cabinet, the General/Jurisdictional Conferences Delegation, and leadership of our Conference’s boards and agencies in an intentional time of prayer for this work shaping the future of our denomination.

Sam Royappa, Director of Connectional Ministries, shared the following reflection on Unity in Prayer: The Power of a Whole Conference Praying for God’s Protection:

Psalm 133 sheds light for the United Methodists to prayerfully and seriously take a strong fresh look at the unity of our Church, now and forever. King David thought of unity as a symphony of praise, many musical instruments and choral voices in complete harmony. Unity is not an option, but a solemn obligation, a strategy, and an outcome of who we are and what we are called to do. The unity of Christendom is not a luxury, but a necessity.

Here is a revised version of Psalm 133 that is suitable for our Church:

“How wonderful and pleasant it will be, when all United Methodists pray together in harmony! For harmony is as precious as the fragrant anointing oil that is being poured over people of all ages, nations and races! Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from all local churches to the General Church that continues to fall upon the United Methodists across the USA, Europe, Africa, and the Philippines. And the Lord has pronounced His manifold blessing and even life forevermore."

Therefore, let us give thanks to God with a sense of celebration for fifty-years of life, faith and ministry for The United Methodist Church. Since 1968, the official copyrighted name of our Church and denomination is "The United Methodist Church." Needless to say, these four words have significant connotations. The definite article "the" implies there is only one global "United Methodist Church." The word "united" tells us and the world what happened on April 23, 1968 in the history of the Christian Church, with these words, "Lord of the Church, we are united in Thee, in Thy Church and now in The United Methodist Church." The word "Methodist" echoes our common heritage, the seed of Methodism planted by the Wesley brothers, which today includes an open table, unlike many other denominations. The fourth and final word "Church" denotes who we are in the faith community, and what we are called to do, connecting the faith community with the world. This is strategically possible and feasible only when we stay together as The United Methodist Church, as historically affirmed by our founding fathers fifty years ago.

Thanks be to God for us and me being part of a global Church!

Thanks be to God for the gift of unity to the global Church!

Thanks be to God for Wesley brothers who continue to impact our faith and ministry!

Thanks be to God for the Church of Jesus Christ!