Dianne Glave: Ministry & Church

Archive for the ‘Western Pennsylvania Conference’ Category

Aldersgate: Holy Spirit Theology in the UK

In a few weeks, I will be ordained as an elder in the United Methodist Church, and there is a connection to Aldersgate Day which falls on May 24 this year. We will remember the day in worship on Sunday, May 22, 2016.

Part of my long spiritual journey through time was a trip through place to the UK, which included a stop at Aldersgate in London in April 2016. Many visiting London may not see Aldersgate as a critical destination but United Methodists visit the location as part of a Methodist pilgrimage.

It was at Aldersgate in 1738, that John Wesley, the founder of the Methodism, experienced the Holy Spirit. Wesley described his transformation:

In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.

During my brief time at Aldersgate, I reflected on how the Holy Spirit is central to my theology and experience.

Photos Dianne Glave

Video by Jeffrey A. Vanderhoff

Edited by William Jacka

Ethnic Clergy Gather Together

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The ethnic clergy in the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church gathered together for a spiritual retreat. This second retreat from March 4-5, 2016 was a important opportunity for most of the United Methodist clergy of color to meet.

marilyn_thorntonThe retreat was led by Rev. Marilyn E. Thornton who is an elder in the United Methodist Church. She serves as the Campus Minister/Director of the Wesley Foundation at Fisk University and a Lead Editor of African American Resources at the United Methodist Publishing House.

At the retreat, Rev. Thornton led the group in moving worship. She also facilitated the retreat. Rev. Thornton began with the lament as many of the ethnic clergy face racism. We then moved to hope in Christ who calls the clergy to pastor others even in difficult circumstances.

 

Goodbyes: Crafton United Methodist Church

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It is the way of the United Methodist Church in which . . . it is that season in June when . . . many pastors across the country prepare to leave for an appointment elsewhere, at another church. I am one of those pastors.

And so I say goodbye to the members of Crafton United Methodist Church in these last days before my new appointment starting July 1. With these often traumatic changes comes anxiety, sadness, and disappointment. This is the way of things when people depart from one another, when we enter the unknown. I am grateful that so many faced and embraced these feelings with me in the midst of so much change.

As I said in my last sermon at the church on Sunday, June 24th, “Crafton UMC is a David, a boy vanquishing the giant Goliath.”

Photos by David Maier

In the Bathroom: A Letter to Anyone on United Methodist Annual Conference?!

To Whom It May Concern,

I know this may sound odd . . . I know this may lack decorum but might I suggest we squeeze everyone into the bathroom with feet tucked into the sink and belongings carelessly scattered about for the many United Methodist Annual Conferences across the country. I know: scandalous.

We might face a logistical problem squeezing thousands into bathrooms but I think we can get around that for the sake of corporate intimacy.

On the agenda: What’s your name? Where are you from? Why are you here? I REALLY want to KNOW!

Legislation: On this day, June, 11th, 2012, everyone must climb up on the sink, sit down, and talk to this smart grown 17 year old woman at Annual Conference. We will engage her, and others like her, in conversations in the bathroom until she is sick of talking to us and wants us to go away at least for now.

We don’t even need to take a vote.

When I saw this young woman tucked in the sink, I thought of Johannes Vermeer’s The Girl with the Pearl Earring. Can Annual Conference be so luminous, so infused with life much like Vermeer’s painting, much like this teen in the photo? Can we take it to the bathroom, a place in which we are most stripped down and most vulnerable?

I wonder. I hope.

Photo by Dianne Glave on her iPhone

A Silver Lining: Race, Racism, & Ethnicity

In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:28, The Message)

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Hey, I am the first to say I don’t view church life through rose-colored glasses. I’m a pretty practical feet-planted-on-solid-ground person. So it makes sense I am guarded but hopeful about all of the modern issues concerning race, racism, & ethnicity in the US.

This month’s conversation, perhaps this year’s conversation concerning race relations took place on the street outside the church. I walked out of the church to be greeted by the street’s handy-man. He did odd jobs at the parsonage over the last several months. He texted me every holiday.

Well, today, he was landscaping a neighbor’s yard. He pulled himself up from his knees and crossed the street to talk to me.

He said, “I hear you are leaving. Is it because you wanted to get away from us white folks.”

I responded, “No, I’m actually headed to serve at another church so I have some new white folks.”

I went on to explain some of the internal financial issues at the current church that led to my new appointment.

ImageAs I walked away, I said to myself, “My how SOME things have changed.” Just 10, maybe even 5 years ago, an African American woman appointed to a United Methodist Church would have to assume that the congregation did not want her and there would be attempts to drive her from the church, instead of people wanting her to stay on. Even today, that is still the case.

ImageEveryone once in a while people surprise you. And I can say I was happily surprised by my first appointment as a United Methodist pastor in the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church. Good people . . . good church.

We still have much to do, but thankfully there are silver linings.

The Glow, the Shine: Local Pastor Licensing School

The Scripture Reading Comes From Exodus 34:29

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai carrying the two Tablets of The Testimony, he didn’t know that the skin of his face glowed because he had been speaking with God. (The Message)

Moses came down from Mount Sinai. He had the two tablets of the covenant in his hands. His face was shining because he had spoken with the Lord. But he didn’t realize it. (New International Version)

Our Beloved Leader and Facilitator!

I am moving to the end of Local Pastor Licensing School through the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist. At school, I learned much ranging from worship to administration.

Before arriving at Olmsted Manor Retreat Center in Ludlow, Pennsylvania, I looked at the syllabus. The thing that jumped out was we were in class for 12 1/2 hours per day for 11 days. The number 40 came to mind, which I often interpret as endurance during difficult times. Paraphrasing some scripture consider a few biblical examples:

  • It rained 40 days and nights when God cleansed the world with water, a global flood. (Genesis 7:12)
  • After the flood, Noah waited 40 days for the flood to subside. (Gen 8:6)
  • Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness. (Matthew 4:1-2)

Oh the 40 (days and nights) kept ringing in my head during school. Exhaustion crept up on me. I got cranky with my classmates who thankfully loved me despite of my human frailty.

It’s Day 9 and I think I’m feeling the glow, the shine. That’s not me: that’s the Holy Spirit.

Through the tough times, the 40 days, the 11 days, try to rest in the testing and growth.

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Photographs by Dianne Glave

Warren United Methodist Church in Pittsburgh

Not far from the University of Pittsburgh

While living in Georgia, I have been an associate member at Warren United Methodist Church. I was warmly welcomed by Pastor Emma Smith and the congregation where I preached a sermon titled “The Body and the Tree.” I also got to be a tourist in Pittsburgh.

Photo by Dianne Glave

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