Methodist Church

Science and faith to be explored in 2010 ministers’ conference

WILMORE (KENTUCKY, U.S.) – Ministers are sometimes met by questions that may seem a galaxy away from what their training prepared them to expect.

For example, they may face questions like “Can scientists and the Bible both lead us to understand the origins of the cosmos?”, “Can our genetic makeup predispose us to conditions such as depression or alcoholism?”, and “How important to the mission of the Gospel is acknowledging the beauty of creation and caring for its goodness?”

Asbury eological Seminary is bringing together a team of scientists, pastors and theologians to help ministers obtain bibli-cal responses to issues of science and faith. rough this team effort called Q3, pastors, youth workers, counsellors, educators and others in full-time ministry will profit from online resources and conference workshops.

The Q3 ministers’ conference, “Ministry Celebrates the Wonders of God’s World,” will be held from March 9 to 11, 2010, at the Asbury Seminary Wilmore, Kentucky campus.

Conference participants will discuss topics including creation and evolution, God’s providence in the world, and lessons that can be learned for ministry from the historical relationship between science and faith.

Dr Owen Gingrich, Harvard University Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and the History of Science, will be the keynote speaker.

“Q3 will aid ministers in leading the people they serve to a deeper knowledge of God as Creator and the world as God’s good creation,” said Q3 Director Dr Michael Pasquarello III, Asbury Seminary Granger E. and Anna A. Fisher Professor of Preaching. “Ministers can find help in Q3 for evangelistic outreach to people with scientific professions or aptitudes, and pastors to young adults can learn ways to guide those who sense God’s call to prepare for scientific vocations.”

“Science can help us,” added Prof Pasquarello, who has studied issues of science and faith for 30 years. “It doesn’t provide all the answers, but it can provide a more up-to-date framework that will give us more knowledge of the creation to work with, that will contribute to making our theology fresh and real for us and those whom we serve. And we can say, ‘Yes, the world is open to God’s work and presence.’”

Q3, funded by a grant from the Templeton Foundation’s Science for Ministry Initiative, is named after the “Questions” it will address on a schedule across the next “3” years. In 2011, Q3 will turn its focus to the nature of human beings as creatures wonderfully and carefully made in God’s image and, in 2012, to the nature of the church as the new creation of God and visible sign of God’s presence in the world.

Registration, now open, is US$49 (S$69) per person before Feb 1, 2010 or US$99 after Feb 1. For groups of five or more and Asbury Seminary students, registration is US$49 per person. To register, visit, call 877-776-3646 or e-mail


Judicial Council voids sexuality statement

DURHAM (UNITED STATES) – There is an official position in The United Methodist Church on gay and lesbian sexuality, and that states the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.

The Judicial Council, the denomination’s highest court, in a ruling released on Nov 2, said that the Baltimore-Washington Annual (regional) Conference went too far in adopting its own statement declaring “a more authentic and truthful representation of The United Methodist Church” is that “we disagree” on gay and lesbian issues.

“The effect of the Baltimore- Washington resolution is to negate the church’s clearly stated position as reflected in current disciplinary language,” the council wrote. “Moreover, the Baltimore– Washington resolution attempts to articulate a new and different standard of church belief using language that has been specifically rejected by the General Conference.”

Meeting from Oct 27 to 31, the nine-member council considered the statement during a review of a decision of law by Bishop John Schol. Its ruling reverses his decision that the resolution of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference was in order.

The council said that while such statements can be “aspirational in nature”, an annual (regional) conference “may not negate, ignore or violate” The Book of Discipline, “even when the disagreements are based upon conscientious objections”.

Delegates to the 2008 General Conference rejected proposed changes to the United Methodist Social Principles that would have acknowledged that church members disagree on homosexuality and instead adopted a report retaining language that describes homosexual practice as “incompatible with Christian teaching.” – United Methodist News Service


Upper Room Ministries repositions key leaders


NASHVILLE (Tennessee, US)– Four key leaders of Upper Room Ministries, a division of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, will assume new roles, effective immediately, to strengthen the organisation’s capacity for growth.

According to board officials who announced this recently, Ms Sarah Wilke, currently Publisher and World Editor, will continue as Publisher.

Ms Wilke, 46, has been Chief Executive Officer of UMR Communications and the United Methodist Reporter since May 2004. The Upper Room Ministries has an international staff of 81 with offices in Nashville and Johannesburg, South Africa.

Publishing Ministries Executive Director Lynne Deming will become the World Editor.

The Rev Jerry Haas will become Spiritual Director of the Upper Room Center for Spiritual Formation, a new initiative that will consist of both a Nashville-based centre and a global interactive presence.

The Rev Tom Albin will now be the Dean of Upper Room Ministries and Ecumenical Relations, reflecting the organisation’s increased focus on external relationships.

The division publishes The Upper Room daily devotional guide read by almost 3 million people in more than 100 countries in 76 editions and 40 languages. – United Methodist News Service.