From the Worldwide Faith News archives

People seek the meaning of faith in their lives

From NewsDesk <NewsDesk@UMCOM.UMC.ORG>
Date 27 Oct 1998 15:10:40

Oct. 27, 1998	Contact: Linda Green*(615)742-5470*Nashville, Tenn.

NOTE:  This story is a sidebar to UMNS #627.     

HOUSTON (UMNS) - People are hungering and yearning for the meaning of
faith in their lives, according to two Christian educators.

More than 500 United Methodist deacons and diaconal ministers attending
a 1998 convocation were told they must be bridges to help people make
connections between reality and tradition.

Margaret Ann Crain, a deacon and assistance professor of Christian
education, and the Rev. Jack Seymour, academic dean and professor of
religious education, both at Garrett-Evangelical Seminary in Evanston,
Ill., described their five-year study to determine the yearnings of
people. Crain and Seymour have focused on the lives of 40 people, ages
25 to 87, in seven Chicago congregations. Their study found eight things
for which people hunger. 

Crain and Seymour said people yearn for meaningful work that is
consistent with faith; for connection with grace and spirit; for meaning
and healing in personal crisis; for ways to address suffering and evil;
for certainty and order; for ways to be known and accepted; for ways to
build community across difference; and for hope.

"We live in a spiritually malnourished world," Seymour said. "There is a
hunger for meaning. People are yearning for meaning that gives life
vitality and integrity."

To listen to the yearnings of people in Houston, 104 people fanned out
across the city to participate in hand-on ministry at three four
different United Methodist-related mission and ministry sites. They were
babysitters, organizers and cleanup workers at the Wesley Community
Center. They also provided services to the Barbara Jordan Center, the
Anchor House and the El Centro Methodista. Others participated in
workshops on conflict mediation, multicultural issues, dealing with
children and poverty, the church's role in public education and other

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