A Moment for Mission
“Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” — 1 Peter 2:10, NRSVUE
Retiring recently as top executive of the General Board of Church and Society, the Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe reflected on the value of the United Methodist Social Principles throughout her ministry.
“My first attraction to Church and Society,” she said, “came in 1967 when my home church had a United Nations Seminar in New York City. Later as a young pastor, working in textile communities in South Carolina, the Social Principles inspired my preaching and the care of congregants. The Social Principles continued to guide and inspire me when I served on staff of the South Carolina Annual Conference as we worked for cross-racial appointments and full inclusion.”
Today, Henry-Crowe acknowledged, the work is far from complete.
“We must continue to know, understand, preach and teach the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church,” she said. “The most often-spoken comment we hear from United Methodists is ‘Why did I not know about the Social Principles? They have changed my understanding and commitment to United Methodism.’ This is a call to renew our faith witness from the pulpit, in Sunday school classes, and with youth and young people. People want this expressed witness. The world needs such principles by which to be guided and to live.”
Henry-Crowe recalled times of deep pain and profound joy. “I have been a part of every General Conference since 1980,” she said. “I am always moved by the procession of people from around the world claiming the causes of Jesus Christ, commitments to diversity and inclusion, and standing together for a more just, whole and redeemed creation. The Holy Scriptures that unite us, the reason that centers us, traditions that inspire us, prayers that hold us, the principles that guide us and the mission around which we journey—animates us all.”
Through our congregation’s support of the World Service Fund, we help the General Board of Church and Society to, as Henry-Crowe stated it, “advance [our] legacy for a brighter future.”
Standing up for what you believe is more than just talking. It’s doing something to help.
What can you do if a friend is being bullied? If your friend says it’s okay, talk to a teacher or an adult you trust.
James, a kid I know, had a classmate named Noah, who was new in town and always sat alone at lunch. One day, James asked Noah if he could sit with him. James discovered that Noah loved many of the same things he and his friends did. Soon Noah had a lot of new friends.
Here’s another example of how you can help. Sometimes people don’t have enough money for food. How about starting—or giving to—a food collection in your community
In big and small cities, you probably see people holding cardboard signs asking for money or food. What if you made care kits for them (How to make Homeless Care Kits that ACTUALLY help » All Gifts [allgiftsconsidered.com])?
The Bible (Proverbs 31:8-9a, MSG) says, “Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the misfits. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor!”
John Wesley, the man who started The United Methodist Church, is thought to have said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
That was good advice 300 years ago, and it is still good advice today. Standing up for your beliefs is always important!
Let’s talk about this:
- What does it mean to stand up for what you believe?
- Why is it important?
- Can you think of other ways to stand up for your beliefs?
Loving God, we are your people, gifted with your mercy. Inspire and motivate us to share your love and mercy with others, especially those for whom mercy seems elusive. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Fifth Sunday of Easter – Redeeming God, the gifts we bring to you this day, we dedicate to the work of kingdom building. Even more, we offer ourselves as material for this work. Imperfect as we are, we know with Christ as the cornerstone, you can build your vision of mercy, justice, peace, and compassion here in our midst. In Christ, our rock and redeemer. Amen. (1 Peter 2:2-10)
Now, more than ever before, a United Methodist public faith witness is essential, asserts the Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, who retired as top executive of the General Board of Church and Society in December 2022.
“The global public square is divided and recalcitrant,” she said. “When it comes to peace and justice, there is much to do, and we are still hopeful.” She listed such divisive issues as climate justice, gun violence, homophobia, immigration, mental illness, military spending, poverty and racism.
“I cherish how we have effectively addressed civil society issues out of a living faith for seeking justice and pursuing peace on Capitol Hill and at the United Nations,” she said. “Alongside of us, tens of thousands of United Methodists across the world engage [in] and support this work. With our guidance, United Methodists around the globe are giving witness to the gospel mandates for justice and peace.”
Never take such gifts for granted, she cautioned.
“We also witness examples of the most caring, brave, tenacious, steadfast, faith-filled actions imaginable,” Henry-Crowe added. “People offering tireless care and expressions of compassion to those who are vulnerable and living on the margins. Those on the margins extending themselves in generous and hospitable ways.”
Adapted from “Final Message from the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Board of Church and Society, Jan. 2, 2023