After today’s decision on the restructuring of the United Methodist Church, we were able to have a short conversation with the Reverend Adam Hamilton, pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection and a member of the Interim Operations Team on his thoughts. Here are his comments on the dealing with the lack of trust in the United Methodist Church:
We have huge trust issues. Some of the things we’ve done here were helpful . . . like the conversations around the tables. As you get to know people, look them in the eyes and hear their story – that helps a lot. I think it’s going to take more years of that. It’s going to take trust building between Central Conferences and U.S.. I think we need to build more trust between (for some people) the bishops and the laity . . . bishops and clergy. Clearly we have the trust issues between the left and the right. Sometimes it’s confusing when you are trying to figure out “Is this little thing part of an agenda,” and so there is this suspicion going into some of these things. Sometimes there IS an agenda going on and sometimes good people are trying to make the next best decision . . . and I’ve been on both sides of that . . . on the IOT there were moments when folks would e-mail me assuming all kinds of things were going on and the team never, ever talked about that – those things weren’t ever on the radar screen. I think sitting down with people and giving people the benefit of the doubt is important. I was saying the other day to the young clergy that it’s easy to assume the worst about people and then tweeting that. Instead I’m going to try to assume the best about people until they prove me wrong. Building trust is going to be sitting down, talking to people and hearing their stories. I had breakfast the other day with one of the board secretaries and my aim was to say “Hey, if there’s anything between us, I really don’t want that to be there . . . in fact, I appreciate you . . .” and we had this great conversation but it takes that kind of sitting down together.
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