Category: MC Conference

Dialog About Non-Violence

Dialog About Non-Violence

I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude to the GPNW Mission Center for tackling a very complex topic at its conference on November 6—Non-Violence.  For those of you who may not have been there, the conversation revolved around a resolution brought to the conference by Scott Amos, a member of the Portland, OR congregation.  The text of that resolution can be found HERE.  Ultimately the resolution did not pass.  It failed by a margin (I think) of 58% to 42%.  But I wish to lift up Scott and the rest of the Mission Center because of what I considered to be a real engagement on the topic.

Indeed, the topic of non-violence is a complicated one.  I’ve wrestled with it a lot, and I don’t think I have ever found a complete and satisfying solution.  The topic is so complicated that the world conference of 2018 chose to highlight it by offering world-wide perspectives.  That world conference referred a similar resolution to the first presidency for guidance to the church, and the church is still awaiting a response from the presidency.  I, for one, am anxious to hear that response.  I expect it to answer for us some (but probably not all) of the questions we wrestled with ourselves earlier this month:

  • Are there situations when violence is not objectional?  Like self defense or bringing a population to order or capital punishment?
  • Who can appropriately judge the difference between police violence and the necessary use of force?
  • Does violence done by the state look different between ethnic, social, or cultural groups?  It certainly looks different to members of different countries with different histories of state-sponsored terror.  We heard that at the 2018 World Conference.
  • At what point does a demonstration turn to a riot?  Is there such a thing as a justified riot?
  • Is there such a thing as a justified war?
  • And ultimately (at least for me), can there be peace without justice; and can there be justice without violence?

I am humbled in the face of these questions.  I try to use Jesus as a model to write my moral code, but it’s hard.  He’s such a dynamic figure.  I can’t imagine Jesus participating in a criminal execution.  He actively discourages such an act in John, chapter 8.  Yet he goes into the temple and drives out the merchants with a whip in John chapter 2.  Was that a riot?  Jesus repeatedly refuses to be the military Messiah the people expected him to be, yet he takes mercy on the Centurion in Matthew, chapter 5 (and Luke, chapter 7).

In other words, I am proud of our church for having this discussion.  And Scott Amos, I think we should keep talking about this.  We may not yet all agree, but I believe the strength of a community rests in the ability to ask hard questions and stay united . . . not in its ability to avoid, deflect, or otherwise disengage from the things that really matter.  Let us be grateful we have a community that continues to ask difficult and meaningful questions and rest that we sometimes leave the difficult answers in the hands of God.

Mission Center Online Conference 2020: Claiming Our Prophetic Voice

Mission Center Online Conference 2020: Claiming Our Prophetic Voice

Mission Center Conference will be held on Saturday, Nov. 7th this year, via Zoom. As your Mission Center Leadership Team discussed the options, we agreed that thanks to our many worship and fellowship opportunities offered over Zoom since the pandemic began 6 months ago, our mission center is adept and familiar enough with this platform to successfully conduct the necessary business of the mission center this way.  We will be exploring different voting applications and tools, and will provide training prior to Conference on how to use them. Another significant change to this year’s Conference is that we will move to a Non-Delegate Conference, meaning all members in good standing may attend and may vote on the business presented.  This decision has been approved by our Field Apostle Ron Harmon and the First Presidency, due to the special circumstances resulting from the pandemic.  

Our Conference theme this year is “Claiming Our Prophetic Voice.” It may sound cliché at this point, but we are in unprecedented times and face an uncertain and unknown future. We have talked and explored for the last several years about what it means to be a prophetic church in the 21st century, and now find ourselves with unlimited opportunities to truly experiment with and practice becoming something NEW.  In order to move into the future, we must not shy away from the opportunities on our doorstep in favor of “returning to normal!” NOW is the perfect moment to step into a new expression of our calling, with faith that our identity as a prophetic people is shaped and guided by the Holy Spirit.   

There will be online training for voters to learn to use the voting app effectively, and how we will use zoom for our business meeting. All registered voters should plan to attend one of the training sessions November 3rd or 5th, 1pm or 7pm (PT).

Saturday’s Conference schedule will include a Business Orientation Session in the morning, followed by a lunch break, and our Business Session in the afternoon. The Business Session will include sustaining of Mission Center officers and committees, approval of the 2021 Budget and at least 1 resolution for consideration. More details will be available here on NewsBriefs in the coming weeks. We hope to also include a Saturday evening fellowship opportunity such as another Talent Show. On Sunday, Nov. 8th, we will offer a worship service featuring Apostle Ron Harmon as our speaker.    

Please note that any congregations wishing to submit a resolution for consideration in our mission center, or a resolution to be approved for presentation to World Conference 2022, must be submitted no later than Oct. 10 (4 weeks prior to Conference) in order to be considered. (World Conference Resolutions must be submitted to The First Presidency no later than June 3, 2021.) 

The Saturday Bulletin will be provided electronically at least 2 weeks prior to Mission Center Conference. If any members need a printed copy, please contact your pastor or congregational communications coordinator to request this.  

Please check our weekly e-newsletter for updates! Thank you for your understanding of the many adjustments we must make this year due to the pandemic. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact any member of the Mission Center Leadership Team.

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