By Jessica Brodie
The last few months have featured reflections from various men and women, both laity and clergy, about why they choose to be United Methodist. Some people were born and raised in this denomination; some explored others and selected this one for a specific reason.
I was not born and raised in The United Methodist Church. I was raised as a Lutheran, in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and was baptized, confirmed and became an adult member there.
But in 2002, I moved from Miami, Florida, to the mountains of Western North Carolina to take a job at a newspaper in small resort community. The only Lutheran church was about an hour’s drive from my house, and that just wasn’t feasible, especially in the winter on icy, winding mountain roads.
So I started church shopping. I’ve always appreciated other denominations and been of the opinion that there is no “right” denomination, only the right fit. And I loved a lot of these churches that I visited. I tried a ton—Episcopal, Baptist, nondenominational, Church of God, you name it.
Ultimately, my local United Methodist church felt like home. Not only that, but I really enjoyed the sermons, which dug deep into Bible study, and I appreciated the education level of the pastors. In my church, we had a male and a female pastor, something I certainly supported, even though not all denominations felt women should be in the pulpit. (I don’t want to bash those denominations, but let’s just say I definitely disagree—God calls who God calls.)
And I loved the emphasis on missions and ministry. As someone who’s always been passionate about advocacy and social justice and truly doing all we can to be God’s hands and feet in the world, this truly spoke to me. I got involved in committees, started teaching children’s church, and eventually, a door opened in 2010 to move to South Carolina to be the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate newspaper, a position I feel genuinely blessed to continue.
I love The United Methodist Church and its people. I love that we are intelligent and thoughtful, and we put God first. I love that we are committed to making disciples and doing ministry both locally and around the world.
I’ve had the opportunity to cover three General Conferences now as editor of the Advocate (2012, 2016 and the special session in 2019), and I’ve seen a lot of change and a lot of division. But time and again, I see the Holy Spirit working in people’s hearts to bring them into unity—whatever that looks like.
The church is the people, and people are far from perfect. I’m grateful to be an imperfect person in an imperfect church striving to do all I can to be like Jesus.