Dianne Glave: Ministry & Church

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African Americans and the UMC in Western PA

On Saturday, September 13, 2014, African American clergy and church members of the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church met together at the Healthy Village Learning Center in McKeesport, PA. It was a time of food, education, and fellowship. The center is in early stages of development, and is a place for the McKeesport community to gather and learn together.

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 Photos by Dianne Glave

DISCIPLINARY QUESTIONS FOR PROVISIONAL MEMBERSHIP AND COMMISSIONING

 Western Pennsylvania Conference, United Methodist Church

Questions may vary from conference to conference

See 2012 Book of Discipline for Questions

(1)            Describe your personal experience of God and the understanding of God you derive from biblical, theological and historical sources.

(2)            What is your understanding of evil as it exists in the world?

(3)             What is your understanding of humanity, and the human need for divine grace?

SECTION II

(4)             How do you interpret the statement “Jesus Christ is Lord”?

(5)           What is your conception of the activity of the Holy Spirit in personal faith, in the community of believers and in responsible living in the world?

(6)            What is your understanding of the kingdom of God; the Resurrection; eternal life?

SECTION III

(7)            How do you intend to affirm, teach and apply Part II of the Discipline (Doctrinal Standards and Our Theological Task) in your work in the ministry to which you have been called?

(8)           Discuss your understanding of the primary characteristics of United Methodist polity.

(9)            How do you perceive yourself, your gifts, your motives, your role and your commitment as a provisional member and commissioned minister in the United Methodist Church?

SECTION IV

(10)        Describe your understanding of diakonia, the servant ministry of the church, and the servant ministry of the provisional member and commissioned minister.

(11)         What is the meaning of ordination in the context of the general ministry of the church?

(12)         Describe your understanding of an inclusive church and ministry.

(13)         You have agreed as a candidate for the sake of the mission of Jesus Christ in the world and the most effective witness of the gospel, and in consideration of their influence as ministers, to make a complete dedication of yourself to the highest ideals of the Christian life and to this end agree to exercise responsible self-control by personal habits conducive to bodily health, mental and emotional maturity, integrity in all personal relationships, fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness, social responsibility and growth in grace and the knowledge and love of God.  What is your understanding of this agreement?

SECTION V

(14)        The United Methodist Church holds that the living core of the Christian faith was revealed in Scripture, illumined by tradition, vivified in personal experience and confirmed by reason.  What is your understanding of this theological position of the Church?

(15)         Explain the role and significance of the sacraments in the ministry to which you have been called.

(16)         Describe the nature and mission of the Church.  What are its primary tasks today?

The Womb of God in the Pews

Is God a man, woman or both? I do care about this question because if a young child has been molested by her father, then it’s hard to see God as male as positive. And the opposite is true for those who have had positive experiences and images of men, including father and father figures. In giving pastoral care to others, I strive to be sensitive to feelings around gender. With that said, I experience God as male, female, and genderless, without getting one of the theological debates of the ages.

So looking at one aspect of God’s gender or “genderlessness,” I often crawl into God’s womb. Metaphorically being in the womb is a form of worship for me and an encounter with God as female. As a pastor, I have the luxury of being in the sanctuary alone during most days and times of the week. When I feel the need for nurturing, I stretch out on those smooth pews feeling cocooned in the cool semi-gloom of the sanctuary. And I worship God.

Gender matters. I also know that crawling in God’s womb has no boundaries, experiencing a personal spiritual moment so close to God. Ultimately, God defies humankind’s limited definitions and labels. This includes God’s relationship with us. And that can be in God’s womb.

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