Sacred Conversations

This summer, we (Alan, Ashley, and I) asked what you’d like to hear from the pulpit for our September sermon series, “You Asked for It.” We received a wide variety of topics, Scriptures, and theological questions to address.  

Many of you asked for sermons on a wide variety of social issues and topics that create strong emotional responses. However, sermons do not seem to be the best format to adequately deal with all these issues for several reasons: 

  • Sermons are a word from God discerned by the pastor. They are a monologue rather than a dialogue.  
  • These issues are complex and a 20-minute sermon can’t do them justice.
  • A sermon’s short duration does not provide the opportunity to process deep emotions that arise when hearing new or opposing information about these “hot button” issues. 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ clearly has social consequences and, as followers of Jesus, we need guidance and support to navigate the issues our society faces as faithful followers of Christ. Therefore, we will be hosting what we are calling “Sacred Conversations.” This is an opportunity to engage a social issue in a healthy, productive, and community-building way.    

So, what does a “Sacred Conversation” look like?

  • We will invite speakers that have expertise on a pre-selected topic who will share from their own knowledge and experience.
  • Participants are invited to listen to these presentations and then engage in discussion with fellow participants about what they have heard.
  • Participants then are given an opportunity to lift up issues, concerns, and questions with which the main speaker(s) may engage. 

How we hold these Sacred Conversations is critical. Our airways are inundated with people shouting over each other for entertainment rather than for edification. We will seek guidance for our conversations from methods identified in the book, Crucial Conversations. Participants are also asked to use five key tools to ensure the dialogue is constructive:

  • Share only facts and opinions based on facts
  • Tell stories from your own experience/ “I” statements
  • Ask for the story of others and listen
  • Talk tentatively and not in absolutes or generalities 
  • Encourage testing to find shared meaning and understanding

Our second “Sacred Conversation” is:

The Way Forward
Monday, January 28
7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary

Laurie Hays Coffman, Chaplain at Croaisdale Retirement Home, and Paul Stallsworth, Pastor of Whiteville UMC, will be our speakers.  




We are opening this “Sacred Conversation” up to our larger community out of the hope and prayer that North Raleigh UMC will be a place where “sacred conversations” between persons of diverse backgrounds can occur. 

Please be in prayer for this opportunity to engage in holy dialogue, that we might deeply listen to one another, be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit, and find clarity and discernment to faithfully follow Jesus in the days ahead.




Categories Community | Tags: | Posted on December 7, 2018

Comments are closed.

close window

Location & Service Times

nrumc map


Traditional: 8:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m.,
and 11:15 a.m. in the Sanctuary

Contemporary (Souljourn):
9:45 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall

Children's (SHINE):
Begins in 11:15 Traditional, then moves to Room S2


8501 Honeycutt Road
Raleigh, NC 27615
(919) 847-1536