A Social Creed you can sing? Revision aims for broad usage

A "user friendly" Social Creed will make its way to the 2008 General Conference, and if the writers have their way, it will be set to rap, African, country and many other musical beats.

Bishop Susan Morrison and a small group of United Methodist Church and Society board members took on the task of rewriting the denomination's Social Creed in preparation for the 100th anniversary of the creed and Social Principles. The anniversary will be celebrated at the 2008 General Conference, the church's legislative gathering.

The original creed was written in 1908 and rewritten in 1972. Changes must be approved by General Conference.

"The current creed doesn't roll off the tongue," said Jim Winkler, top executive with the Board of Church and Society.

"We wanted to rewrite the creed for the new generation," Morrison said. "We wanted to make it memorable so it would inform young people about their faith in language they use."

If the creed is approved, Morrison and Winkler hope it will be sung in many different musical styles at the 2008 General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. The revised creed can also be used as a litany, and plans include giving it a visual treatment on DVD.

"It has a freshness, it not cultural specific and it is global," Morrison said. "I have a dream that at General Conference we will stop every once in a while and sing a new version of the Creed."

"You know how you can sing 'Amazing Grace' to the tune of 'Gilligan's Island'?" Winkler asked. "That is the vision I have for the creed, that it can be sung to many different tunes."

Winkler will send the creed to different musicians and ask them to set it to music.

"It is positive in tone and outlook and it addresses issues of the 21st century," he added.

Following is the working draft of the Social Creed as presented at the April 20-23 spring meeting of the Board of Church and Society in Washington:

God in the Spirit revealed through Jesus Christ calls us by grace to be renewed in the image of God, that we might participate in God's love for the world.

God in the Spirit revealed through Jesus Christ calls us by grace to do those things that make for God's Shalom in our homes, churches, communities, nations and world.

Today is the day we accept that
God embraces all hues of humanity,
cares for the plight of the world's children, and
weeps as we undo earth's goodness,
And so shall we.

Today is the day we accept that
God values the health, healing, and wholeness of all life,
delights in difference and diversity, and
favors hospitality turning strangers into friends,
And so shall we.

Today is the day we accept that
God cries at the flood of starving people,
abhors the rapidly increasing disparity between rich and poor, and
yearns for the just treatment of workers in the marketplace.
And so shall we.

Today is the day we accept that
God deplores the violence in our homes and streets,
rebukes the world's warring madness, and
humbles the powerful on behalf of the powerless,
And so shall we.

*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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