Hopeland United Methodist Church in Lititz has been recognized by United Methodist Communications (UMCom) as an official “Welcoming Congregation.” “Welcoming Congregations” are a select group of United Methodist congregations nationwide that meets criteria including embracing newcomers and providing opportunities in discipleship. The recognition program is part of a larger effort launched in late 2000 by UMCom, the denomination’s communications agency, to use modern technology and the common language of television to spread the Good News of Christ to a world in need.
For the past 8 years, “Open hearts, Open minds, Open doors” has been the theme of the denomination supported with a series of national cable TV advertising, supplemented by regional and local church participation. The overall aim of the effort was to invite people, to enter into connection with the Christian community as they seek meaning and purpose in their lives. The new campaign, Rethink Church, seeks to capitalize on the previous campaign, targeting 18-34 year olds and inviting churches to think of the motto as a verb, not just an adjective as in: “Together we can…Open hearts, Open minds and Open doors.
Hopeland UMC, pastored by Rev. David Ryan is rethinking what it means to be a radically welcoming church. Rev. Ryan is one of eleven Rethink Church trainers in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, who were trained by United Methodist Communications in November 2009. The trainers will be leading Rethink Church training on each of the districts for Tools for Ministry on April 10. Rethink Church training includes components on welcoming, which lives out one of the four areas of focus, “Creating new places for new people.”
More information is available online at www.rethinkchurch.org or by calling toll free (877) 281-6535.