There was a knock at the door. It was Thursday night, July 19, 2012. Two members of the Jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee entered my room. It was sometime between 9:30 and 10 PM. A phone call had put me on notice. One of them, a female superintendent with paper in hand announced, “We’re sending you to Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference.” She said more. But my mind had already “scaped,” back to assignments in both Michigan and the Ohio East Areas, back to appointments in Northern Illinois Conference, back to my grandmother telling me that I was going to be a preacher, back to Saul’s call on the road to Damascus and back to the inauguration of Jesus’ his public ministry. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,” he said, “ because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." As I see it, Jesus was SENT BY THE SPIRIT.
(Luke 4: 17-19, Isaiah 61: 1-2)
Ministry is ultimately not about our wants and desires. My 42 years of service evidence that reality. Nor is it about advancement or job security. Ministry is about bringing in God's kingdom on this earth. It's about feeding the sheep and growing the church wherever we are appointed. Ministry is about giving ourselves away by sharing grace, salvation, shalom, and social and personal holiness.
Embracing cross cultural/cross racial appointments as an opportunity and planning for them to be effective and fruitful is important alignment work. For six months, there has been a task force at work in an effort to be more proactive about this aspect of appointment making.
Bishop Gregory V. Palmer expresses his thanks to pastors, congregations and members in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference for support on a number of conference initiatives.
Your faithfulness and generosity help to strengthen our common work as United Methodists here in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference, throughout the U.S. and globally. Your performance was made possible because of your clarity of vision, mission focus, sense of connection and regular giving across the years.
We are not only connected through our giving. We are connected through appointment making. Every congregation needs and deserves effective pastoral leadership that is focused on the mission, “equipping the saints” for that mission and is partnered with the laity to accomplish the mission. Our mission as United Methodists is to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”