Originally Posted by EFmom
I took MIL to the UMC church yesterday. She was thrilled, to put it mildly, and said that it felt "like coming home." She can't wait to go again, and actually told me how much she loves me, which hasn't exactly been an everyday occurrence in my 26 years of marriage. So, I guess we are going to be church buddies.
I think we'll still try the American Baptist church with all the nasty signs once, but I think she'll want to go to the UMC church afterall. It turns out there are no Congregational or UCC congregations nearby.
It was even good for me, too. One of the reasons we stopped attending this UMC congregation was because the pastor started talking up the Iraq war when it was just starting. We are pacifists, and just couldn't sit in church and listen to that stuff.
When I was walking out with MIL, we stopped to shake hands with him, and after all these years, he remembered my name and my concerns about the war. He apologized, and said that he was completely wrong about the issue, and it was his one huge regret in the 17 years he's been pastor there. He remembered our conversations from over 4 years ago, and he has a very large congregation, so it must have stuck in his head. I was floored.
Glad it went well, I am a UM pastor (I'm not pastoring a church now, as I'm in seminary and I have 6 kids, trying to avoid those nice white jackets that tie in the back!
) and was going to suggest the UM Church. We are often labeled the great church of compromise, since it is often the one church that people of other (usually Christian) faiths can compromise on and go to church together as a family. (We have a lot of Catholic and other Protestant denom. couples) My pastor, (who incidentally is a woman, as was my DS and Bishop when I felt my call) when we were discussing suicide, reminded me of the scripture that "nothing can separate us from the love of God" (I'm NAK, I can look it up later if you need the reference) and "nothing" would include suicide IMHO. I also remind myself of the scripture at the end of the Sodom and Gomorrah story "Will not the judge of all the Earth do right?" when I come across difficult issues I don't feel I have the answers for. I am absolutely certain that when your BIL took his life that God wept the first tear. The UMC is classified as non-creedal, in that you don't have to believe a certain creed to belong. We also have an open Communion table as it is Christ's table and not that of any church or congregation. The only requirement for Communion is the desire for relationship with God. We also recognize other faiths baptisms, believing that baptism is God's show and God didn't mess up the first time IYKWIM. (Actually thoughtful questioning is encouraged up to a point.) We evaluate our faith on Scripture, reason, tradition and experience. Although you may find churches more conservative in the south and more liberal in the north. Also, that pastors stand on Iraq was contrary to the Council of Bishops statements.
From the UM Book of Discipline (sounds kinky doesn't it?
161 N) Suicide—We believe that suicide is not the way a human life should end. Often suicide is the result of untreated depression, or untreated pain and suffering. The church has an obligation to see that all persons have access to needed pastoral and medical care and therapy in those circumstances that lead to loss of self-worth, suicidal despair, and/or the desire to seek physician-assisted suicide. We encourage the church to provide education to address the biblical, theological, social, and ethical issues related to death and dying, including suicide. United Methodist theological seminary courses should also focus on issues of death and dying, including suicide.
A Christian perspective on suicide begins with an affirmation of faith that nothing, including suicide, separates us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). Therefore, we deplore the condemnation of people who complete suicide, and we consider unjust the stigma that so often falls on surviving family and friends.
We encourage pastors and faith communities to address this issue through preaching and teaching. We urge pastors and faith communities to provide pastoral care to those at risk, survivors, and their families, and to those families who have lost loved ones to suicide, seeking always to remove the oppressive stigma around suicide. The Church opposes assisted suicide and euthanasia.
I wish you great blessings in building relationship with your MIL. I too am working on making my mother in law my mother in love. (No major issues other than her smoking, just our relationship is not as good as it could be.)