The history, heritage, beliefs, mission and culture of the United Methodist Church for anyone – newcomer or longtime member – who wants to know what’s distinctive about being a United Methodist Christian. We’ll explore the special gifts of theology, witness and organization that the United Methodist Church brings to the Church universal, how we got where we are today and how our distinctive emphases are still needed in the 21st Century church.
This class is one of the core Lay Servant Ministries classes, but everyone is welcome! Participants must obtain the book Living Our Beliefs: The United Methodist Way by Bishop Kenneth Carder (it is not included in the course fee). Other materials will be downloaded.
Participants should be prepared to read assignments and post their reflections on the discussion boards daily, but there is no set time to be online. This is an intense course. Participants are strongly urged to get the book and read it before the course starts, to make it more relaxed and fun.
This class has been approved by Discipleship Ministries (formerly the General Board of Discipleship) as an advanced course in Lay Servant Ministries, and is the “heritage” class required for Lay Speaker certification.
This course is eligible for 1.0 CEU.
About the Instructor
Beth Galbreath is a United Methodist deacon whose specialty is “digital culture ministry,” which includes everything the Church needs to do to move from the print-literate culture of the last five centuries to the digital-communication culture of the 21st. She is one of the few (but proud!) graduates of the former Lumicon Institute’s certification program in digital culture ministry. “Digital culture ministry” is not just about technology; it includes re-emphasis on spiritual formation practices. To that end she holds a master’s from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in spiritual formation and evangelism. She loves to bring a multimedia, multi-intelligence approach to classes.
Digital culture ministry is also about ancient-future worship arts and education styles, especially an emphasis on story; to that end she is a passionate biblical storyteller and teacher. She is an ambassador of the Network of Biblical Storytellers International and coordinates the NBSI-related Chicago-area Prairie Wind Guild: Tellers of Sacred Stories. She’s taught biblical storytelling abroad in Cameroon, Bolivia, Haiti and the Philippines.
Beth serves the Northern Illinois Conference as co-chair of its Order of Deacons, and is a certified Natural Church Development coach. She also serves on the pastoral leadership team of Compassion UMC in Brookfield, IL, a new church plant. Her ministry includes consulting, teaching, and small group leadership. She is also an activist for solar energy, prison ministry, interfaith understanding, and eco-sustainability. Rev. Galbreath is the author of The Story and the Feast, a digital resource (three CDs of text and slides) of liturgy for Holy Communion, connected to the weekly stories and texts of the lectionary, and including notes for biblical storytellers.
Past Students Said…
“Being part of this class has been a great revelation to me. I’ve been a member of the Methodist church for 12 years, not because I knew a lot about Methodist doctrine, but because I felt at home among people who love God and seem to be doing His work every day. Imagine my delight when throughout this two-week class, I came to realize that I’m not just a member of my neighborhood church but am truly a Methodist in my heart and in my beliefs.” – Marlene McNiece
“This class asked deeper more thoughtful questions than I think I’ve ever had to consider in any class which really required us to prayerfully consider any number of aspects before we answered. This is by far one of the best, most thoughtful courses I’ve ever taken regardless of venue.” – David DeGroff
“This class was excellent. The ability to access the assignments and respond at any time – day or night – fit my lifestyle perfectly and allowed for deeper reading and thoughts. … I have learned a lot about the denomination and more about my own church’s beginnings and where we are going. My church is at a point where we have huge decisions to make and the ability to share our discipline and focus may make all the difference in missions and service to a changing population.” – Ruth Munson
“I can’t express how much I have enjoyed this class. I am not someone who does a lot of computer work, but I found the homework and discussion with my fellow classmates to be wonderful. The subject matter was covered in a way that made a difficult subject easier to understand.” – Andy Pratt
“The diversity of perspectives from people of different backgrounds, church sizes and conferences makes for an awesome learning environment. It’s an intense class; not for the faint of heart, but definitely worth it and one of the best learning experiences I’ve had in a long time.” – Shannon Meister
“The class was very good. The material stretched my views and understanding of religion and Methodism. … Kudos on providing opportunities for us to grapple with contemporary issues in ways that were constructive.” – Kurt Leichtle
“I found it helpful to write my responses to the discussions before I read what anyone else wrote, in this way I found that I was true to my own answer on the topic and not influenced by others. Again, I thought this was a huge advantage over a live class where I might not have had the chance to voice my thoughts either due to time or due to the personalities or opinions of others in the class.” – Sarah Scott