Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Methodist moment: Denomination wrestles with division, decline

From Pittsburgh-

The Monday evening light was fading behind the stained-glass depictions of Bible stories in the simple sanctuary of Unionville United Methodist Church. About a hundred people sang guitar-led praise songs in a regional Methodist gathering at the small congregation in Rochester, Beaver County, which has worked to revitalize itself through everything from a children’s program to a food pantry.

Small-town congregants, simple worship, earnest social service — are all common images of the United Methodist Church, the second-largest Protestant body in the nation and the region.

But the denomination, which is headed for a high-stakes 10-day legislative gathering starting Tuesday in Portland, Ore., is far more diverse  — and divided — than its traditional Main Street image.

That diversity can be seen in a vast, unadorned North Fayette sanctuary, where a high-octane praise song brings hundreds of worshipers to their feet at one of numerous weekend worship services hosted by Crossroads United Methodist Church.

More here-


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