A proposed new Social Creed for The United Methodist Church became a "companion litany" instead after action by the denomination's lawmaking body on April 30.
A task force under the leadership of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society worked on the "poetic" 2008 Social Creed that was proposed to the denomination's General Conference meeting in Fort Worth through May 2.
Even though it will not replace the United Methodist Social Creed, the Rev. Neal Christie, staff on the board and a member of the task force, said it is "a gift to the church and reinforces and reframes the creed."
"The proposed Social Creed was a beautiful, elegant expression about hope, and I will be excited to teach it as a litany," he said.
The proposed creed went on a worldwide tour during 2007 and 2008 and reflected hours of careful crafting by United Methodists in the United States, Norway, Africa and the Philippines.
The task force wanted to present a social creed that would be easier to use than the 1972 creed. The original creed was written in 1908 as a denominational statement decrying child labor and supporting the economic rights of workers, better workplace conditions, better wages and worker safety.
The 2004 United Methodist General Conference designated 2005-2008 as a time of celebration, education and study of the Social Creed and Social Principles leading up to the 100th anniversary of the 1908 Social Creed.
As part of that celebration, the Board of Church and Society took on the task of writing a contemporary, timeless version to offer for future generations.
The Book of Discipline, the denomination's book of law, recommends the Social Creed be emphasized regularly in every congregation and used frequently in Sunday worship.
*Gilbert is a news writer for United Methodist News Service.
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phone calls can be made to the General Conference Newsroom in Fort Worth, Texas, at (817) 698-4405 until May 3. Afterward, call United Methodist News Service in Nashville, Tenn., at (615) 742-5470.