Category Archives: Uncategorized

GO Serve Others 

At Northside we are committed to “GO share God’s love with others.” 

While in Portland, my heart is broken and my eyes overwhelmed by the numerous men, women, youth and small children who live outside with limited shelter and lacking access to warmth, toilets, and basic comforts. I don’t know what transpired to lead to a home on the streets. Is it choice, a lack of financial means or necessary financial safety nets, abuse, mental illness (which is often compounded by addiction) or a lack of community?

Regardless of the cause, the life they live on the streets seems challenging, difficult, dirty, hard, shaming, complicated, isolating, and hungry. I’ve pondered, prayed, and wondered how I could share God’s love in tangliable ways with God’s children. 

As I’ve struggled with how to most faithfully and effectively respond, I am grateful for the kindness, generosity and compassion offered by our United Methodist family to our brothers and sisters living outside. In our General Conference Exhibit Hall, I encountered the table pictured below.  Children from churches around the USA shared their creativity and words of kindness and compassion. Then “Sisters of the Road” offered blue coupons to assist with purchasing a meal. Thankfully, I picked up cards and artwork with the attached coupons to share with God’s children in a manner that is empowering, dignified and compassionate. 


Now as I pass God’s children on the street on my way to my hot dinner and clean, comfy, and warm nightly accomodations- I have a way to share God’s love.

Please continue to pray for those who live without shelter in Portland, Atlanta, and around the world. I also encourage you to find tangible ways to care for our friends on the streets. Northside offers great ways to show God’s love by feeding those who go hungry and without a home in Alanta, review the Northside Mission opportunies or contact Lynette Brown, Director of Missions, at LynetteB@NorthsideUMC.org to get invovled with organization like Trinity House or Covenant House.  

Thanks for allowing me to “GO share God’s love.” May we all continue in this holy ministry of going, loving, and serving together. 

Blessings,

Rev. Catherine

#InfoBoothe

5 Places Where I Saw God Yesterday

1. Baby Cora: Her giggles, wiggles, coos, and squeals remind me that God is bringing forth new life, hope, and future disciples of Christ. Cora is the 11 month old daughter of Abby (and JD). Abby and I became dear friends at Candler School of Theology and she now serves as a deacon at Servant Church in Austin, TX and with the General Board of Discipleship. As a result of Cora’s hugs, snuggles, and squeals; I’d like to make a friendly motion for more babies and puppies at General Conference. 

2. Our Bishops: With the talk of schisms our Bishops answered an unusual plea from the General Conference delegates to provide leadership, guidance, and holy listening for our global denomination. Bishop Ough stated, “We accept our role as spiritual leaders to lead The United Methodist Church in a ‘pause for prayer’ — to step back from attempts at legislative solutions and to intentionally seek God’s will for the future.” Under the Bishops’ leadership a special council will be formed and a “called” session of General Conference will occur in 2018 or 2019. Read their Statement which is an approved motion. 

3. Our Young People’s Statement of Unity: General Conference is intimidating. I don’t know if I’d be bold enough to speak at a microphone as our process requires a keen understanding of Robert’s Rule of Order. By speaking on the floor of General Conference, you are in the spot light and viewed by persons all around the world via living streaming. Yet, moved by the Spirit a group of “young people” shared their heartfelt conviction to love and serve God as “united ” United Methodist. They said, “Part of the beauty of our Church is that there has always been room at the table for a wide range of theological diversity within our connectional church family.”  Read their statement from the Young People’s Convocation (July 2014) compiled in the Philippines

4. A lament for Sand Creek Massacre: In the midst of tension, we shifted our attention and were reminded of the power of confession and repentance. It was hard to hear of the atrocities carried out by Methodists long ago. Yet, as I listened and heard of our past and current efforts to truly repent and seek restoration the hair stood up my arms. In the midst of deep pain, healing is possible because there is a “balm in Gilead,” Jesus. Read more.  

5. Dinner with My Cousins: Last night after a long day of listening, worshipping, praying, fretting, and pondering- I was thrilled to have dinner with my cousins Will and Brennan. I hadn’t seen them in years and we aren’t particularly close. Yet, last night we were able to share our stories. We laughed and enjoyed tacos.  I could tell of the home I’ve found in our denomination that is committed to “doing good” and “transforming the world.” They reminded me of how important it is to keep telling the story of God’s redeeming work made possible by the words and actions of Methodists even (and occasionally specifically) with family.


Blessings, 

Rev. Catherine #infoboothe

John Wesley | Unity

“Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences.” 

― John Wesley

Our History | Church & Politics

Hey Family!

Wow, things are a little overwhelming and at times utterly mind boggling at General Conference. Thankfully, I’m among friends, Jesus is still Lord, and the Holy Spirit is moving.

So before we get to my reflection on Tuesday, we need to go back in time and remember our history. The Methodist Church has its beginning in the American Revolution. Our founding denominational leaders structured our church polity (aka “governance”) much like our Founding Fathers structured our budding new US government. While there was an early separation of “church and state” in our country,  we have lots of similarities in our structure.

Portland Courthouse (picture above) which I pass on the way to the Oregon Convention Center where we are meeting (picture below).


Here is a very brief and very simplistic description (ignoring oddities and exceptions) of our structure and three branches.

Executive Branch: Bishops oversee our Annual Conferences (regional bodies) similar to Governors who oversee states. Northside is in the North Georgia Annual Conference and our Bishop is Michael Watson. Bishops are elected and serve for 4 year terms. Bishop Watson’s term ends in September. Bishops are elected from within a region called Jurisdictions (we are in the SE Jurisdiction which will meet to elect Bishops this July). We don’t have an office like the Presidency. 

Legislative Branch: We have a constitution. Our overarching denominational laws are determined by the General Conference and are contained within the Book of Discipline. The delegates (aka “legislators”) at General Conference are elected based on a “House of Representative” model with the number of representatives (aka “delegates”) from each Annual Conference being based on size of Annual Conference (aka number of United Methodist Church members within the bounds of the Annual Conference). For example, North Georgia has 22 delegates (11 clergy and 11 laity) out of the 864 delegates. The North Georgia Annual Conference is the tied with Virgina as the largest Annual Conference. The smallest Annual Conferences only have 2 delegates (1 clergy and 1 laity) and the largest Annual Conferences (in Africa) have over 40 delegates.

In addition to the General Conference (aka our “federal level”), we have our Annual Conference (aka our “state level”) which is also based on a “House of Representative” model. The Annual Conference is comprised of all clergy. Plus, one lay person for each clergy person. For example at Northside, we will have 4 clergy (full time & under appointment) and 4 laypersons (Ernest Coleman, Bob Forrest, Robert Highsmith, and Nancy MacDonald) going to Annual Conference in Athens from June 6-8. Together, we will determine our Annual Conference (aka “state”) laws.  

Judicial Branch: Clergy and lay persons serve on the Judicial Council on the Annual Conference and General Conference level. They oversee church trials and determine the constitutionality of legislation. Yes, there is an entire section in the Book of Discipline about how and what the Judicial Council oversees.

Oh and like the US Political environment, we have Caucasus and lobbyist within the UMC, too.  

Currently, the political environment for the denomination is divided. Some may compare our denominational division to the division in our US political culture. We seem to be either equally divided or very well balanced. This division and/or balance within our legislative body is making it challenging to find ways to move forward….more about that in my next blog.

Thanks for reading and keep praying!

Rev. Catherine

#infoboothe

Family | May 16 at General Conference 

Hello Northside Family!

Thanks so much for allowing me to learn, serve, fellowship, worship, pray, eat, and encounter our living God in Portland. 


I’m in a new place that already feels like home (though doesn’t feel nor look like Atlanta.) I’m at home because I’m with my family, church family, brothers and sisters who I’ve laughed, prayed, cried, disagreed and dialogued with over the years. (Y’all know I can talk.) Oh and family members whose names I need to learn as it’s a big family y’all!

Family: I serve and worship with in North Georgia, Who nurtured me while studying at Candler School of Theology, I last saw at General Conference in Tampa in 2012, Facebook friends who became family because of our shared faith in Jesus Christ, and Hundreds of brothers and sisters I’ve never seen before though seek to know because we claim the same Heavenly Father. 

We are a family who likes to hug. We hug out of excitement and gratitude. We hug in the midst of all our differences. We hug because we hope. We hug to celebrate newly consecrated deaconess and homeland missionaries during today’s morning worship. Oh and they hugged me because they wanted to try my Voodoo doughnuts. 


It is good to be with family and General Conference feels like coming home. Our family isn’t always organized, we don’t always agree, we tend to run late, we struggle with technology, we occasionally forget our manners, we aren’t always loving, and we get tired and consequently frustrated. Yet, we are family. Family who seek and claim to love deeply, pray fervently, celebrate diversity, seek justice, and live faithful. Our Methodist Family isn’t perfect, yet, today I’m grateful to be with our family!

Thanks for letting me connect with and share time with your Methodist family!

Grateful,

Catherine 

#infoboothe

Getting Ready | General Conference by Number

Hello. I’m thrilled to attend General Conference. As I start packing, I wanted to share a few fun numbers as a brief introduction to General Conference and my upcoming week. 
1. Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior, of all who gather at General Conference.

4- Languages (English, French, Spanish and American Sign Language) to watch General Conference in via Live Streaming. Click to Live Stream

11- Days of General Conference from Tuesday, May 10 to Friday, May 20 in Portland, Oregon

12- Legislative Committees to review, discuss, amend, and determine whether legislation will proceed to the delegates of General Conference for a vote.

22- Delegates from the North Georgia Annual Conference (11 lay persons and 11 clergy). Meet our delegates

43- Rules governing parliamentary procedure which primarily follow Robert’s Rules of Order.

63 (or less)- Person under 35 years of age serving as delegates to General Conference which less than 7% and only 6 are clergy. Learn more

70- Communion Stations during Opening Worship on Tuesday, May 10, 2016.

93- Languages General Conference is translated with the help of almost 800 interpreters. Learn more

864- Delegates to the General Conference. Delegates are United Methodist from around the world.

1000+- Pieces of legislation submitted by United Methodist lay persons, clergy, agencies, and Annual Conferences to be reviewed by the 12 Committees. Learn more about legislation and tracking

1792- The year Methodists decided to hold Conference every four years. Learn more about the History of General Conference

General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church which convenes once every four years. The conference can revise church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs. Learn More

What numbers surprised you? What other stats can I share with you? 

Thanks for reading, learning, and praying for General Conference! More soon.

-Rev. Catherine #infoBoothe

Rev. Catherine Goes to General Conference | Sunday, May 15 – Friday, May 20

Rev. Catherine Goes to General Conference | Sunday, May 15- Friday, May 20

Rev. Catherine is excited and ready to go!

About General Conference

The United Methodist Church’s top legislative body will meet at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, the largest convention center in the Pacific Northwest, on May 10-20, 2016.

General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church which meets once every four years. The conference can revise church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs.

Download the Guide to the 2016 General Conference (pdf).

Following General Conference

There are multiple ways you can follow along with General Conference 2016.

Everyone Can Pray

“Most gracious God, we pray that you will send your Holy Spirit in a new and powerful way upon each session of the Methodist conferences that are before us. We ask that everyone who participates will be open to your will and your way. We pray for a mighty revival in our world so that all may receive Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, as Lord and Savior, become his faithful disciples, and that our world may be transformed. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
—Bishop Mike Watson
Read and share Bishop Watson’s message in Monday Morning in North Georgia