"It's easier to balance a simpler life," says Odette Pollar. "For a life worth living, eliminate the unimportant, whether it be relationships, tasks, responsibilities, possessions or beliefs."
Research shows that friends are important to our physical and mental health. "... people who do not have strong support from friends and family live shorter lives and suffer more from stress," says Cheryl A. Richey, Ph.D., professor of social work at the University of Washington. "Support from friends can give people the strength to make positive changes in their lives, like staying away from drugs or leaving an abusive relationship."
We made it through Annual Conference! Thank you to those of you who stopped by the PCC display table and picked up information on the available services and resources through Pastoral Care and Counseling or through the Clergy Assistance Program.
Did you know that the average person has 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day? The difficulty isn’t that we have negative thoughts but rather we often believe that our thoughts are true.
Four years ago, we arrived dead tired. Moving from the capital city of Michigan to the capital city of Illinois was a challenge. Packing the house, leaving our two daughters behind, saying goodbye to the good folks in Michigan, embracing our new leadership role in IGRC, moving in the Springfield residence etc. left our energy reserves virtually depleted. Once again, we obeyed the call trumpeted anew in the theme of the 2016 General Conference, “Therefore Go.”
Healing stories in Mark’s gospel are not fictive. They are real, not imagined. A man asks Jesus to heal his daughter. She dies, but our Lord raises her up. Without permission, a woman hemorrhaging for twelve years touches the hem of his garment and receives healing instantly. She is no longer the same.
Now that it’s just about time for me and my beloved Beverly to say goodbye, I want to talk about “the fields are ripe for harvest. It’s a subplot buried within a famous Bible story of the woman at the well.
General Conference 2016 of The United Methodist Church concluded without a holy war. For all the drama predicted from a supposed schism, radical structural change envisioned by a new version of Plan UMC (it failed the Constitutional test again), an unsuccessful attempt at tenure episcopacy for U.S. bishops to a predicted raucous debate and protracted demonstrations on human sexuality, General Conference had its skirmishes but no war.
Those of us who have attended General Conference have surely noticed that on the most contentious of our issues (e.g., where we invest our money, time and witness; where we throw our weight on various social positions; with whom we stand on matters of injustice) – each time there is a divided vote (which, by my calculations, is 100 percent of the time), the majority of the Church says, “here is where we stand,” and a minority says, “But that’s not where I stand!” In other words, “You don’t speak for me!”
After this General Conference, many people are left wondering if the United Methodist Church will continue to exist beyond 2020 when we are next scheduled to meet again in Minneapolis, Minnesota (there is a small chance we could meet sooner…). We are mired in discord over whether homosexual practice is contrary to Christian teaching. And honestly, I have a hard time seeing any Commission called by the Council of Bishops creating a plan that will be satisfying to representatives making up the wide theological diversity represented in our denomination. The idea of schism is scary to many. In fact when the rumors of schism were flying about earlier this week, I was worried too. But over the last 24 hours, whenever I picture the cloudy future for the UMC, I keep going back to the image of our delegation holding hands and intimately connected with our friends from Liberia. And as I go back in my mind’s eye and recall everyone’s faces full of joy, I see HOPE and an amazing FUTURE as we cling to the message contained in the hymn we sang together.