A relatively new member shared a story with me yesterday that made my heart sing. She told me about taking her sister to a United Methodist church, and she told me I could share the story.
Her sister, with family support, finally took her son (under 3 years old) and left an abusive situation. My friend flew out to support her sister and told her, "You're making a new start, and you're going to go to church." She knew her sister would resist, so she made her plans ahead. She looked up United Methodist Churches on the web and called a church in the town, also named Trinity. She called and got the worship times and told them they were going to visit on such and such a Sunday.
As expected, the sister resisted, wondering what those church people would think of her, and how they'd treat this single mom from not the best of situations. But they went to worship. The people so warmly welcomed them, they stayed and enjoyed the fellowship time afterwards.
The sister had to make her son leave - he was having such a good time there.
When they got in the car her sister looked at her and exclaimed with amazement, "What just happened? Those people didn't even know me and I already feel as if they are part of my family!" My friend said she tried to explain to her sister that that is what being part of a church is all about.
Anyway, that was a couple of months ago and her sister hasn't missed attending. In fact, this coming Sunday her sister is joining the church and having her son baptized! Thanks be to God.
I want to carry this story around with me. When we get to General Conference and deal with all those debates about such and such, I want to remember that what it really boils down to is whether the people called Methodists remember how to welcome others with the love of Christ. And I want to delight in people who do what it takes to get their sisters, brothers, friends, or whomever to "taste and see that the Lord is good" (and the Lord's people!).