What’s in a name: The Affirming Methodist Church

What should the next expression of Methodism be called…I’ve been trying on the Affirming Methodist Church for size.

Who knows what will happen with the future of Methodism? I don’t, but I’ve noticed that hasn’t stopped people from imagining a new name for a new Methodism. Names are powerful. They are hopes and dreams and mission and identity all wrapped up in a neat little alphabet package. If there is a new Methodism, it needs to be built on a firm foundation, an affirming foundation.

Full inclusion is affirming. We must affirm that people driven away from the church will be embraced, that they are of sacred worth. In affirming who God created them to be, we the church, will take the first step towards repentance.

Affirmations can be a proactive call for justice. They are the stuff we stand for. We affirm x,y,z.

Affirmations frame our beliefs in the positive. Saying what we believe, instead of what we don’t believe.

Affirmation is an entry point into theologies of liberation and reconciliation by emphasizing the sacred worth of each person.

It feels wonderful to be affirmed, it is a sign of grace.

So many lost and lonely people want/need to be affirmed, they hunger for it. The light of Christ can satiate that hunger. We can be the instruments of God’s light. We can embrace them.

Affirmation is universal and is understood both in secular and sacred circles with roughly the same meaning, making it an ideal bridge between the two.

Romance language versions of the word affirm are similar to English, making it a decent global choice.

Affirmation calls on disciples to proclaim boldly a gospel of blessed assurance. Affirming our faith is an act of discipleship.

We affirm as Wesley preached…”The grace or love of God, whence cometh our salvation, is FREE IN ALL, and FREE FOR ALL” (emphasis his).

AMC.org is not available, but it’s not in use either. A cancer institute currently uses it to redirect to another site. We may be able to negotiate for it.

No other denomination carries the acronym AMC.

“A” comes early in alphabetical listings.

“A” forms a steeple.

If there is a split, I don’t think it would be wise for either side to use “United”. A truly good name will capture the imagination of the movement coalescing around it. A truly good name would also be affirmed by the people most harmed by the church. They have the largest stake in the name, and should have to the most to say in choosing it.

Let me know what names have stirred the Spirit in you.

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