UMC Announcement of Ordination ChangesUMC News Service Photo of Announcement of Ordination Changes

The United Methodist Church General Conference only meets every four years and had experienced two delays in 2020 & 2022. It met April 23 - May 3 in Charlotte. It is authorized to host 1,000 delegates, half of which are clergy and half of which are lay persons. About a quarter were unable to attend for a variety of reason. The meeting has a complex set of procedures, social issues, and detailed reviews of petitions as well as financial issues such as the budget.

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First Baptist Church, Salisbury Street, Raleigh NC

There are probably a thousand and one answers to that question, depending upon the individual. Religion is not a priority as it was in previous generations. In a secular world, the movement has been away from the church. Some people have felt abused in a variety of ways, found it boring, not spiritually stimulating, or has too much emphasis on dogma, etc.

A lot has to do with a person’s mindset. Do they reach out to others, or do they focus primarily on themselves? If you’re totally self-absorbed, you will only spend time where you get something from it. The break-up of the family is probably due to cause and effect. Without religious values, there is little to hold a family together other than sex, economic benefits, and social norms. Why even bother getting married, except for the tax benefits?

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"Humanity before religion." Paris rally in support of the victims of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting."Humanity before religion." Paris rally in support of the victims of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting.

The U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, which at that time meant freedom from state-sponsored religion that was common in Europe. A portion of your taxes could be involuntarily applied to pay the expenses of the state religion. You could not belong to another church, and if you wanted to express your beliefs that didn’t follow church doctrine, you had to buy a dissenter’s permit. When the state dictates religion, it is called a theocracy. They still exist today.

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