Faith And Works: A Conversation With Bishop Gregory V. Palmer

That we are in a challenging season is the understatement of the year and maybe the decade. The church and the society are for example fighting for health and shalom for all God's children as we face two prominent viruses. One is the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 and the other is virulent racism. The one is new, the other old. This doesn't even name the anxiety about what's ahead for the United Methodist Church. So I say again, this is a challenging season.

Such seasons are an opportunity to engage as never before. To that end, I have initiated some conversations via Zoom that will be recorded and posted. The goal is to provoke conversations that move us to action. We are good at words as a church and a society. We have resolutions that represent fine aspirations but action and change are often slow to come on many things. Thus the title Faith & Works based on James 2:14-17:

"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill', and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead."

I am starting off with conversations focused on race without apology. Be assured I won't be limited to that. We have lots to discuss and more to do.

Episode 1

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer has initiated Faith & Works: Conversations that move us to action. Today’s conversation centers around race. His guest is Pastor F. Willis Johnson who is the author of Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community.

Episode 2

In this session of Faith & Works: Conversations that move us to action, Bishop Gregory V. Palmer speaks with Rev. Dr. Joni Sancken, Associate Professor of Homiletics at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. A member of the Academy of Homiletics, Dr. Sancken is the author of “Words that Heal: Preaching Hope to Wounded Souls.” Her interests include theological approaches to preaching, women preachers, preaching about the cross and resurrection, and preaching in a context of trauma. Today’s topic is the challenges of prophetic preaching in unprecedented times.

Episode 3

This episode of Faith & Works: Conversations that move us to action features West Ohio Conference Lay Leader, Mitchell Harper and Bishop Gregory V. Palmer. They discuss courageous conversations, racism, and the church. Harper represents more than 140,000 laity in the West Ohio Conference.

Episode 4

This episode of Faith and Works features Bishop Palmers’ conversation with Bishop William T. (Bill) McAlilly regarding a public letter from the Southeastern Jurisdiction Bishops. In part, it states “As White American Bishops, we stand up and stand with our Black Bishops in the Church who have consistently named and called out the systemic and sinful practice of discrimination that has been pervasive in the United States since the first slaves walked the shores of this land. For our failure to join our sisters and brothers we ask forgiveness.” A “pastor’s kid” from Mississippi, McAlilly is the bishop of the Nashville Episcopal Area of the United Methodist Church. The Area includes the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences that cover middle and west Tennessee and western Kentucky. Let’s listen in.