By JOE DAN BOYD
East District Youth Lay Leader Micalyn Rowe read Scripture at the meeting. (Photo by Joe Dan Boyd)
“We should always try to see other people as God sees them,” North Texas Conference Bishop Michael McKee reminded laity at the East District Laity Day, held March 1, 2014 at Wesley UMC Greenville. It was one of the Laity Day sessions held in each of the four NTC districts.
“That’s really what our slogan — open hearts, open minds, open doors — is all about. It describes how you and I are challenged by a higher calling to see and treat others, and that our UMC Church is never closed to any child of God.
“Just because some people are not like us does not mean they are not as good as us,” the bishop said. “It’s easy sometimes for us to think it’s all about us, but the old, old story was never about the disciples. It was always about following Jesus. And to be truly whole, I believe a person needs a faith community, which some might prefer to call a church home.
Melba Harris, East District Lay Leader, also spoke for Laity Day. (Photo by Joe Dan Boyd)
“I am far from being the smartest person in the room,” quipped Bishop McKee.
“But I hope that, as your bishop, I have been smart enough to assemble the smartest people in the room to set our conference agenda model and assist the laity in delivering our ministry to the mission field. And make no mistake: Our conference ministry can never reach the mission field without you, the laity.
“If there is some task you are not doing well, then learn to do it better,” the bishop said. “Remember that our United Methodist belief system means we have the right stuff, even if we don’t always do a good job of delivering it.
“For instance, part of our United Methodist ID is that we believe in such things as free will rather than destiny, we plan our individual lives by the choices we make, and we do not believe that God punishes people or places via tragic natural disasters. We need to recover our roots.”
Getting to Know the Bishop Through Q&A
Bishop Michael McKee delivered a formal laity address, then took written questions from the East District congregation. Among major points:
He loves being a bishop, but misses the rhythm of the week that goes with being the pastor of a local church: preaching, visitation, helping people grow, baptizing babies.
As a bishop, he enjoys helping
churches dream a little differently.
Always try to be present in the moment, but remember that it’s sometimes OK to allow silence to happen.
People do not much like to go to organizational meetings anymore.
Without the United Methodist Women, our church would not have the extensive mission outreach that we have today.
The UMW has made his job as a bishop easier, theologically.
When someone suffers a loss, the human touch of another person is very important.
What sets us apart is the way we are called to see and treat others.
Our NTC Lenten ZIP Code project urges us to give up one meal per week for seven weeks and donate the cost of those missed meals.
Sign your letters. Unsigned letters go into the trash. There is nothing else to do with them.
Regular visits to hospitals help a pastor to become a better preacher.
Of the approximately 300 churches in our conference, more than 200 cannot afford the salary and benefits package for an ordained elder.