Latest from the Bishop

Pastoral message following Judicial Council rulings


Bishop Ough urges Minnesota United Methodists to stay together and strong in this in-between time, and to be the leaders and the church God is calling us to be.

Pay your gratitude forward to hurricane victims


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult." (Psalm 46:1-3) I greet you in the name and spirit of the Risen Christ. Our brothers and sisters...

Let’s not disenfranchise fellow citizens


American-style participatory democracy being a relatively modern invention, most of the Bible’s original authors did not have voting or elections very clearly in mind when they wrote their advice to kings. Yet today you and I live in a world where power—beyond what a monarch might have wielded —rests, for one day in November, in each of our hands. In the words of Quaker poet and ...

‘Why’ matters


Diana Butler Bass, in Christianity After Religion (HarperOne, 2012),describes growing up in her father's flower shop. From an early age, she would play in the shop and sweep the floors. As she grew older, he trained her hands in how to work the flowers. After much practice she became a florist in her own right. She said her mother formed her into Methodism in much the same way: ...

The walk is part of the gift


I greet you with the grace and peace poured into our lives by God, our Creator, and our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. As I write this article in mid-October, I have completed visits to five of the nine districts in the Dakotas-Minnesota Area (two in Minnesota and three in the Dakotas) and meetings with the respective conferences’ Boards of Ordained Ministry. At every stop, my wife, Char, and I...

Vital congregations entry #5: Why participate in small groups?


It’s been 10 months since the churches of the Minnesota Annual Conference began recording and reporting weekly statistical data for our nationwide United Methodist Vital Congregations program. United Methodist churches across the country have set goals and are intentionally tracking seven important metrics: 1.      worship attendance 2.      people received into membership by profession ...

What difference do the little things make?


Luke 16:13 says, “No worker can serve two bosses: He’ll either hate the first and love the second or adore the first and despise the second. You can’t serve both God and the Bank” (from Eugene Peterson’s The Message). Like most Bible verses, I find new meaning in this verse every time I read it. Recently I thought to myself: Serving two masters—piece of cake! Try serving about twenty ...

A change of leadership


A common question posed to me these days is, “So, how is it with our new bishop?” There are so many layers to that question that it is hard to have a better answer than, “Well, it is interesting!” Those who speak Minnesotan may interpret this to mean that I am too polite to say what I really think. But in this case, I truly mean “interesting,” in the best sense. I am stimulated, ...

Vital congregations series entry #4: Why start new small groups?


It’s been nine months since Minnesota United Methodist churches began recording and reporting weekly statistical data for our denomination-wide United Methodist Vital Congregations project. United Methodist churches across the connection have set goals and are intentionally tracking seven important metrics: 1.       worship attendance 2.       number of people received into membership by...

Unleashing new life


by Bruce R. Ough Our journey together has begun! My wife, Char, and I are delighted to begin our service with and among the people called United Methodist in Minnesota and the Dakotas. Your hospitality has been radical. Your passion for Christ’s mission is palpable. Your commitment to the scriptural imperatives of cultivating spiritual vitality and reaching new people is bearing fruit. ...

Join St. Croix Valley UMC in partnering with a new-church start


Sometimes we need to pay attention to the little things. St. Croix Valley United Methodist Church’s lay member of annual conference was talking with a dear friend of hers while attending conference last May. The discussion turned to some of the new things that churches were doing to attract new people. The friend shared what she had heard about what New Day United Methodist Church is ...

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