Some of you may not know that I am lifelong United Methodist (UMC), and in 2009, I was commissioned as a Deaconess in the UMC (Not a female “deacon,” by the way. We’re vocational ancestors of the women-led social holiness / justice movement and work in ministries of love, justice, and service.)
When the UMC held its special General Conference a couple of weeks ago, I listened and followed for a very full, very emotional three days. I read posts by individuals and media sources naively proclaiming to know about all United Methodists and our intentions.
My initial response: Just like the “United” States or the “United” Nations, the UMC is one body but doesn’t necessarily sing in unison.
I received messages, texts, and emails from people who compassionately offered love and support without the need for explanation and justification. I was also contacted by people who know me and yet criticized me, my faith tradition, and my lack of response without asking questions or inviting discussion. In the end, I held everything close to my chest and in sacred space so that I could discern what it is I truly believe.
My second response: Not to respond.
After time and prayer, I decided it would be a meaningful exercise for me to write my own affirmation of faith. This morning, I’ve spent almost 2 hours diving deeply into language, images, theology and my soul in order to fully engage in this process. Here are the words that filled my spirit, and I humbly share them with you.
My Affirmation of Faith
I believe in the Creator
The one who masterfully crafted the cosmos from dust, light and dark
Who shaped life in hands filled with wonder, love and joy
Who created this world with intention, beauty, and hope
Who loves unconditionally and encourages unabashedly
And who, in spite of our imperfect humanity, kisses our wounds and heals our hearts.
I believe in a Spirit
That invites us into sacred space where we find comfort and shelter
That offers sanctuary where our souls can just be
A Spirit that breathes life into dry bones and dormant seeds
That weaves light and darkness into a balanced tapestry.
I believe that God Incarnate came into this world
As a Justice Seeker
Searching for truth and pursuing peace
Demanding righteousness and seeking reconciliation
As a Compassionate Healer
Extending lovingkindness to all and
Unafraid to sit with those emotionally or physically wounded by humanity
As a Love Bearer
Teaching us the one true way.
Just as God the Creator and Parent loves you.
I believe in the power of our Beloved’s Grace and Mercy
To invite forgiveness and to extend hope
To alleviate doubt and to inspire compassion.
And in all of my humanity, I believe
That in Life, there is beginning
That in Love, there is reconciliation
That in Hope, there is peace
That in Faith, there is assurance.
That Death will not prevail
Because through my Creator’s sacrifice, I am re-created as Everlasting Love.
(c) 2019 Cameron Kempson
May not be reprinted or used without permission of the author.