- Our doctrine of grace, which is not about our merit. We are on a journey to share this grace with a wider circle of people. We are not there yet. God has bid all humankind.
- Our journey to holiness, being made perfect in love. We love God because God first loved us. And we love our neighbor because we see the image of God in them.
- Our connection for the purpose of mission. For example, right now this is UMCOR in Ukraine (war). A few months ago it was Western Kentucky (tornado). A few months before that it was Western North Carolina (flood). A few years ago it was Florida (hurricane).
- Our work in discipleship, from Upper Room and Walk to Emmaus to Disciple Bible Study to Covenant Discipleship to Disciple’s Path to The Bible Year to Fresh Expressions.
- Our journey to inclusion, from women in ministry to the black college fund to becoming a global church to equitable compensation to struggling with our language about homosexuality. This is not a problem. This is the unfinished work of God in us.
- Our doctrinal standards, which have not changed and do not change, and our theological task, which integrates our convictions about scripture with tradition, reason and experience. I love that we are a church with sound doctrine, and I love that the theological task is to apply that doctrine to ever changing human needs.
- We are an imperfect church, the cross a reminder of our need for redemption, the flame a reminder of our hardened hearts in need of the warm fire of the Holy Spirit whose first fruit is love. We are an imperfect church because we are imperfect people—all have sinned. And we are better together, and no one is being asked to leave.
Grace. Holiness. Mission. Discipleship. Inclusion. Doctrinal Standards. Theological Task. Cross and Flame. Better Together.
Bishop Ken Carter serves as the episcopal leader of the Florida and Western North Carolina Conferences of The United Methodist Church. Media Contact: Joe Iovino, United Methodist Communications.
This content was first published by Bishop Carter on social media. Republished here with permission on April 26, 2022.