Bishop Peter Weaver drew strong reviews and standing ovations for a rousing Episcopal Address in which he challenged General Conference delegates to be part of a “resurrection revolution” that will cause the United Methodist church to grow for the sake of the world.
“It is not the decline in membership in some parts of our church that is most disturbing,” he said. “Rather it is the decline in deep discipleship: discipleship that dares – no, delights in sharing Christ with others and living the radical Christ-like life that draws others to Jesus … For where there is deep discipleship, others join the joyful chorus, “Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes.”
The Rev. Adam Hamilton posted this review just after the address: “Bishop Weaver nailed it! Stirring Episcopal Address! Resurrection Revolution!”
Here are some other excerpts from Bishop Weaver’s address:
- “The sad truth is that too many of our congregations are confused about who they are and what they are to do. Too many have swapped the “let’s go” of the Great Commission for the “status quo” of no mission.”
- “It will come as no surprise to anyone here that the central question before us is how the United Methodist Church will be shaped to be more effective in fulfilling God’s resurrection mission with God’s resurrection people in this changing time. `For the sake of a new world, we see a new church.’”
- “Could the Discipline be a tool for liberating the vast Eastertide flow that is already bubbling up throughout the United Methodist movement, rather than using it as a tool for regulating a vast institutional structure that, in some places, is almost dead in the water? Could it happen at this General Conference? We are the ones called to act. We are the ones gifted to act by the Risen Christ!”
- “This is a time, not for timid tinkering, but for bold believing and fruitful following of the living Christ. There are already vital congregations and conferences of all sizes around the world who are clear about our doxology identity. They know what their mission is and they have effectively reordered how they do church.”
- “Let us open ourselves to God and one another in this time of holy conferencing. Let us open ourselves to be transformed, to change, if we expect God to use us for transformation. We are the ones called now to risk stepping into the Eastertide of new life for the church and world – the Resurrection Revolution.”
Bishop Weaver told of baptizing five teenage boys in a New Hampshire river. Then, choking up, he revealed that they were from the Democratic Republic of Congo, survivors of civil war there. And he brought them on stage, briefly interviewing them about what their faith meant to them.
He also noted that this is the 200th anniversary of the first Episcopal Adddress, and drew on the challenges of the early Methodist movement in challenging delegates at this General Conference to take heart and move boldly to equip the church to act on its mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the world’s transformation.
UM church planter Gary Shockley was another who posted immediately and favorably: “Best episcopal address I have ever heard. Bishop Weaver brought it! Praise God!”