If you are a United Methodist, the word “covenant” was really important in 2012. It was the Secret Word of the Day (Ahhhh!) at Amy DeLong’s trial, it’s been the word to describe the actions of 1,000 Methodist clergy who have taken a marriage pledge, and it’s Hacking Christianity’s assertion that the FaithfulUMC movement gives apologetics for breaking the financial covenant of apportionments (an apologetic then continued by another clergyperson in 2013).
As United Methodists, clergy are charged with upholding the Discipline. We are asked at our Ordination if we will “support and maintain our church polity.”
So my question is: Did your pastor break the Covenant this past Sunday?
From the Book of Discipline:
¶ 263. Six churchwide special Sundays with offerings shall be celebrated in each United Methodist Church.
Historically, One Great Hour of Sharing has been celebrated with an offering on the Fourth Sunday in Lent. Congregations are to observe One Great Hour of Sharing on this date or on another date appropriate to the local church.
So? Did s/he violate the Covenant or uphold it?
Elders are charged with defining the worship context, so obligation to call for these special offerings falls on the clergy. If the church does not have these special offerings, then the pastor is in violation of the Covenant.
As United Methodists, all local churches “shall be celebrating” (not “should” or “could” but the prescriptive “shall”) these nationwide offerings. So if your local church does not have special offerings for these days, then your pastor is in violation of the Covenant.
- Human Relations Day,
- One Great Hour of Sharing,
- World Communion Sunday,
- United Methodist Student Day,
- Peace with Justice Sunday
- Native American Ministries Sunday
If there are no special offerings held in your church for these Special Sundays (on the recommended days or on any days), then your pastor is in violation of the Covenant.
So? Any reports of clergy that are failing to uphold the Discipline and violate the Covenant (which we all share)?
The above post is rather snarky in order to point out that those who claim that clergy only uphold the Covenant when they uphold 100% of the Discipline (no picking and choosing, sinners!) often ignore that not all clergy observe all six Special Sunday offerings.