Each day, through happiness and challenges, I continue to experience the joy of the Lord . . . My prayer for you (laity and clergy) is that you are experiencing the same. Thank you again, for your support during the General Conference and allowing me another opportunity to serve you for another four years, as the General Secretary of Lay Ministry.
As I did during 2010-2014 and during 2014-2018, I will be working to help bring life to the 2018-2022 Quadrennial Theme. The theme, embedded in the Episcopal Address, delivered by Bishop Bobby R. Best, compels us to focus on “Getting Back to Basics.” As we communicate through writings, presentations and results from consultation with our Episcopal Leaders, please stay poised, as Laity (particularly Local, District, & Region Lay Leaders and Episcopal District Vice Presidents) to join with us in bringing the theme alive.
The deadline for 2018 Graham/Webb/Kennedy Scholarship Application is quickly approaching. . . Even with Annual Conference season in full swing, 2018 Graduating Seniors still have time to meet the deadline date of July 31st to have their postmarked application in the mail. . . Leaders, as of this Update, there are some Episcopal Districts that are not represented in applications that have been received, thus far, by Scholarship Chair, Ms. Yvonne Peters. Don’t be guilty of not making the application available to potential applicants; the application package is on the Lay Ministry Web Site at thecmechurch.org/layministry and in the June Issue of the Christian Index.
Look for information concerning Connectional Lay Ministry Day (October 14th) in the August Update.
Please read and digest the following Assessment of Lay Ministry, which appears on page six (6) of our Lay Ministry Manual. . . It was written by Deceased Senior Bishop, Thomas L. Hoyt, Sr., one of this Department’s former Chair Persons. As we embark on a new Quadrennial, I find the content of Deceased Senior Bishop Hoyt’s “Assessment” challenging, yet practical, as we evaluate our role as laity, in “Getting Back To Basics.”
“The Lay Ministry Department of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church is one of the vital Departments of the Church. It had its beginning in Jesus Christ of Nazareth in that Jesus was not in the formal professional clerical ministry but was classified as a lay preacher and teacher. His ministry functioned in the reign of God. He was one who got his credentials as one who lived out of the context of Jewish Scripture and knew thoroughly the traditions of the Jewish people in which the Covenant between God and the people were extolled.
Jesus knew the tradition of the Festivals including the sanctity of the Passover meal and the importance of Pentecost. All of the various Festivals were enactments and re-enactments of some major event in the life of the Jewish people, namely: the stories of creation; the exodus from slavery; the Day of atonement and the sacrificial system in worship celebrated in the priestly tradition; the wisdom traditions which lifted up experience, the mind, and thinking among people who trusted mind and spirit to solve and discuss everyday problems; the prophetic tradition, which contended for justice on behalf of the poor and spoke directly to those who oppressed the poor - calling for righteousness on behalf of those who oppressed the poor; the Apocalyptic tradition, which contended for poor people once the prophetic tradition had been frustrated and the poor were continually oppressed which led to the belief that God, God’s self would be the one who would do what the King or the oppressors would not do. Jesus knew that tradition which said, “Yahweh is King.”
The Lay movement is chiefly about extolling the traditions of the ministry of Jesus, the Christ, through preaching the Kingdom of God and its inbreaking of that tradition which had broken into life and which will be completed in the future. That kingdom has already come and will be completed in the completed ministry of Jesus through God’s continued presence in the ministry among God’s people.
This Lay Manual is intended to be one which recognizes that the Lay people have a ministry and mission. In reminding the Church of the lay structure which is the strong point of this Manual, it at the same time reminds the Church that the structure must fulfill the first phase of its work; form follows function. The form of ministry must be consistent with its mission that is to always be consistent with the service and fulfillment of its mission. The revised Manual must illuminate and live out the mission of the Lay Ministry Department and their delegated roles as it shows not only the structure of the Lay Department but those actual parts in ministry.”