United Methodists will pledge to ‘witness’

People who join United Methodist churches henceforth will promise to be faithful in "their witness" as well as in their "prayers, their presence, their gifts and their service."

The 2008 United Methodist General Conference voted April 30 to add the witness phrase to the liturgy the church uses when a person makes a profession of membership.

The new phrase highlights the mission and evangelistic responsibility of church membership.

The promise to support the church by prayer, presence, gifts and service was not part of the formal baptismal vows of admission to the church, but a pledge used historically in affiliating with a United Methodist congregation.

The Rev. Taylor Burton-Edwards, director of worship resources for the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, said the phrase had remained the same since 1932.

There was no debate on the assembly floor on the addition of the "witness" phrase. It was reported to the full conference by a legislative committee on a consent calendar. This means there was strong support in committee and the addition was not discussed specifically by the full body of the conference.

Jay Brim, a lay delegate from Southwest Texas, called adoption of the petition to the conference's attention.

The printed rationale for the addition says:

Membership vows of The United Methodist Church do not include witness, an integral part of laity's role from earliest Methodism, in members' participation in the church's life. Because congregations repeat these vows along with new members, a pledge to "witness" will remind members to be witnesses in the community.

*Wright is the public information officer for the Board of Global Ministries.

News media contact:Linda Bloom,e-mail: [email protected]

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.

Related Articles

General Conference headlines

Resource

General Conference 2008


Like what you're reading?  United Methodist Communications is celebrating 80 years of ministry! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community.  Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

umnews-subscriptions
Social Concerns
United Methodist Bishop LaTrelle Easterling (right) offers a prayer during an interfaith vigil near the White House on June 3. At left is Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser. United Methodist conferences are confronting the sin of racism through prayers, calls for justice and education on white supremacy. File photo by Melissa Lauber, Baltimore-Washington Conference.

Taking concrete steps to move against racism

United Methodist conferences are confronting the sin of racism through prayers, calls for justice and education on white supremacy.
Mission and Ministry
What once was the First United Methodist Church in North Adams, Mass., is now the Berkshire Art Museum. The Rev. Thomas Frank writes about the transition in his new book “Historic Houses of Worship in Peril.” Photo courtesy of the Berkshire Art Museum.

A manifesto for saving old church buildings

The Rev. Thomas Frank, United Methodist polity expert, is the author of the new book “Historic Houses of Worship in Peril.”
General Church
United Methodist Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey presides over an online meeting of the denomination’s Council of Bishops. Amid financial pressure and a potential denominational split, the council called for postponing elections of new U.S. bishops and urged that five new African bishops be added only as resources allow. UM News screenshot via Zoom.

Council urges no new US bishops for 4 years

Under financial strain, United Methodist bishops recommend postponement of U.S. episcopal elections and slowdown on adding new bishops in Africa.