2013 - WHAT NEXT?

06 Beauty Rosebery Maenzanise

God Still Speaks: UMC Restructuring

By Beauty Maenzanise. Since 1996, I have attended the United Methodist General Conference as an observer. The climax of pressure and divisions has been increasing each quadrennial. Each past General Conference had its thorny issues at the table. The 2012 conference was buzzing with talk of restructuring. Not that the other issues were not important, but restructuring has been shaking every corner of the denomination, from local churches to seminaries worldwide to the general boards and agencies. This has drawn a lot of attention around the globe where the UMC is. It has also drawn a lot of money, time,…
Linda Lee

Looking Until We See

By Linda Lee. he 2012 General Conference of The United Methodist Church was an emotional roller coaster. Just when it seemed the body had moved one way, it swung about in a different direction altogether. There were the expected differences of perspectives, understandings, and beliefs. And there were surprises—unexpected twists and turns, which sometimes brought us to laughter, tears, anger, or disillusionment. The surprises revealed a deeper conflict within The United Methodist Church body than we may desire to admit. But conflict is always an opportunity to go deeper, to grow into more maturity and to create new solutions.

Leading in and through Christian Communities

By Laceye Warner. A distinction of United Methodism is its polity, which focuses responsibility on the General Conference. The General Conference is an internationally representative body that meets every four years. Most notably, the General Conference possesses the sole authority to speak for the denomination. Yet, to many the results of the last General Conference were largely inconclusive, disappointing, even infuriating. There was much discussion, but little was resolved, contributing to a post–General Conference melancholy.

A Call to the Creating Spirit

By Billie Nowabbi. The 2012 General Conference left its connectional members with challenges for uncovering creative possibilities; it also created new situations. The question is, how have these challenges and situations changed our ethical and theological consciousness? Our relationships and motivation? Specifically, is our compassion toward socially marginalized people an act of charity, or an act of justice?
09 Allyson C. Talbert

Occupying the Call of the Deacon: What’s Next?

By Allyson C. Talbert. In biblical times, the responsibilities of the distinctive office of the deacon were to attend to those without resources and to handle the material needs of the congregation. In the early church, deaconesses were women whose main duties were to minister to the poor, to widows, and to orphans, and to teach religious doctrine to women preparing for baptism. As the priesthood and episcopacy increased, so did the clerical duties of the diaconate. “The sick and poor were gathered into hospitals, or looked after by the novitiates and other pious workers, and the deacon eventually became…
Women delegates gather at United Methodist General Conference

Sisters of the Globe: No Longer through a Patriarchal Glass, Darkly

By J. Kabamba Kiboko. This article will discuss the decision of the General Conference to create and fund a Global Theological Education Fund, to be administered by The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), and the impact of this decision on central conferences in Africa. I maintain that this decision will keep us on the road to increasing the number of clergy members throughout Africa and especially the formation of clergywomen on the continent.
07 Iwy Patel-Yatri

Moving Forward in Love

By Iwy Patel-Yatri. The General Conference certainly evoked responses from many people: clergy and laity, men and women, even from those who are not United Methodists! As I write this article, only two months after General Conference, the full impact of the decisions is yet to be known. Therefore, I can only speculate as to what will come next. In my reflection on General Conference decisions, I feel concern; however, I choose to rely on and trust in God and move forward in Love.
06 Elizabeth Tapia

Book Review: Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War: A Memoir, by Leymah Gbowee, with Carol Mithers

By Elizabeth Tapia. At age thirty-nine, Leymah Gbowee wrote her memoir depicting women’s realities, struggles, and powers during the despotic rule of Charles Taylor and his goons in the late nineties. She complained that during the civil war in Liberia, male reporters would give accounts of destruction, brutal rape, and killings, but almost no one reported the courageous sacrifice and contribution of women to peace building and the daily struggle to keep families safe and alive. This book is not only Leymah’s personal memoir of being a peace and women’s rights activist; it is also about Liberian women’s collective story…
Grace Cajiuat 2

Creative Worship: The Work and Voice of the People

By Grace Cajiuat. General Conference 2012 raised numerous questions about who we are as a body of United Methodists, and unfortunately, left us more confused and hurt. Trust level was low and tension was high. In the end, radical change didn’t happen. So, what’s next? I believe what’s next is to stand on hope and celebrate the good that is in The United Methodist Church. In knowing ourselves authentically, we can find our call—our call to proclaim the gospel by being honest and offer from our abundance. Yes, we are an abundant community, and we need to discover that once…
04 Nan Self

Book Review: On Thundering Wings

By Nan Self. Ermalou Roller has written a compelling and complex autobiography; interwoven within her personal story is the church trial of the Reverend Gregory Dell, who was charged with having performed same-sex unions for members of his congregation, in conflict with United Methodist Church policies. Many clergywomen will identify with Roller’s delayed call to ministry, after being married and having given birth to three children. More than one clergywoman will identify with the bewilderment of discovering that her husband is gay. Readers are reminded that while each of us sorts out the decisions of our own individual lives, public…
03 Mariellen Yoshino

From Imagining To . . .

By Mariellen Yoshino. How humbling it is to imagine seeing clearly, being face-to-face with God, and knowing everything perfectly. How awe-inspiring to imagine such perfection. And, how daunting to glimpse into that full and perfect knowledge, knowing that with such knowledge comes responsive action. As I watched the video feed and as I read about the process of our General Conference, I wondered if The United Methodist Church was humbly imagining God’s perfection. Did our Church find itself awe-inspired, and so daunted by the task of acting accordingly?
01 Cristian de La Rosa

Courage to Join a New Leadership Dance: Reflections on the 2012 General Conference of the UMC

By Cristian De La Rosa. Inherent to life is a dynamic process of ongoing change that pressures against stagnation and death and so constantly transforms every element in creation. This change dynamic was omnipresent at the 2012 General Conference of The United Methodist Church in Tampa, Florida. Everything and everyone was thinking about change in an attempt to grasp the potential that our denomination has at this critical time to communicate meaningfully to a very diverse constituency. And yet, pressured by diverse contextual ministry experiences in very different places and spaces around the world, the delegates at the 2012 General…
01 HiRho Park

The UMC: A “People-Centered” Church?

By HiRho Park. Many United Methodists came home from Florida feeling confused and disappointed about what happened during the 2012 General Conference. Leaders of The United Methodist Church came from all around the world—988 delegates, the Council of Bishops, and agency staff—hoping for fruitful results from this gathering. Even though we did not all agree on a few critical issues, such as changing the structure of the church, removing security appointment of elders in good standing, divestment in support of Palestinian Christians, and the full participation of LGBT United Methodists into the life of the church, somehow we all knew…


2019 – Unity in the Church

2018 – Claim Who We Are in Christ

2017 – Bodies, Oppression, and Gospel

2016 – Birthing a Worldwide Church

2015 – Clergywomen Lead Vital Congregations

2014 – Empowerment for All

2013 – What Next?

2012 – What Does the Lord Require of Us?

2011 – See, I am Doing a New Thing

2010 – Voicing Truth With Grace

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WellSprings, A Journal of United Methodist Clergywomen, is published by the Division of Ordained Ministry, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

Editor: HiRho Y. Park

Managing Editor: Barbara A. Dick

Editorial Circle: Patricia Bonilla, Neelley Hicks, Anita Phillips, Jacqui Rose-Tucker, Trudy Hawkins Stringer